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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.
A. A. Ivanov, A. D. Beklemishev, E. P. Kruglyakov, P. A. Bagryansky, A. A. Lizunov, V. V. Maximov, S. V. Murakhtin, V. V. Prikhodko
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 57 | Number 4 | May 2010 | Pages 320-325
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST10-A9493
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The status of the experiments on the axially symmetric magnetic mirror device gas dynamic trap (GDT) is discussed. The plasma has been heated by skewed injection of 20-keV, 3.5-MW, 5-ms deuterium/hydrogen neutral beams at the center of the device, which produces anisotropic fast ions. Neither enhanced transverse losses of the plasma nor anomalies in the fast ion scattering and slowing down were observed. Extension of neutral beam injection pulse duration from 1 to 5 ms resulted in an increase in the on-axis transverse beta (ratio of the transverse plasma pressure to magnetic field pressure) from 0.4 at the fast ion turning points near the end mirrors to about 0.6. The measured beta value is rather close to or even higher than that expected in different versions of the GDT-based 14-MeV neutron source for fusion materials testing. The density of fast ions with the mean energy of 10 to 12 keV reached 5 × 1019 m-3 near the turning points. The electron temperature at the same time reached [approximate]200 eV. The radial plasma losses were suppressed by sheared plasma rotation in the periphery driven by biasing of end wall segments and the radial limiter in the central solenoid.