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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
Trump leaves space nuclear policy executive order for Biden team
A hot fire test of the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi was not completed as planned. The SLS is the vehicle meant to propel a crewed mission to the moon in 2024. Source: NASA Television
Among the executive orders President Trump issued during his last weeks in office was “Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration,” which builds on the Space Policy Directives published during his term. The order, issued on January 12, calls for actions within the next six months by NASA and the Department of Defense (DOD), together with the Department of Energy and other federal entities. Whether the Biden administration will retain some, all, or none of the specific goals of the Trump administration’s space nuclear policy remains to be seen, but one thing is very clear: If deep space exploration remains a priority, nuclear-powered and -propelled spacecraft will be needed.
The prospects for near-term deployment of nuclear propulsion and power systems in space improved during Trump’s presidency. However, Trump left office days after a hot fire test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket did not go as planned. The SLS rocket is meant to propel crewed missions to the moon in 2024 and to enable a series of long-duration lunar missions that could be powered by small lunar reactor installations. The test on January 16 of four engines that were supposed to fire for over eight minutes was automatically aborted after one minute, casting some doubt that a planned November 2021 Artemis I mission can go ahead on schedule.
Kenneth M. Young
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 57 | Number 3 | April 2010 | Pages 298-304
Technical Note | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST10-A9473
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
A demonstration tokamak is an essential next step toward a magnetic fusion-based reactor. One based on advanced tokamak plasmas is especially appealing because of its relative compactness. However, many plasma measurements will be required to provide the necessary signals to feed to ancillary systems to protect the device and control the plasma. This technical note addresses the question of how much intrusion into the blanket system will be required to allow the measurements needed to provide the information required for plasma control. All diagnostics will require, at least, the same shielding designs as planned for ITER, while having the capability to maintain their calibration through very long pulses. Much work is required to define better the measurement needs and the quantity and quality of the measurements that will have to be made, and how they can be integrated into the other tokamak structures.