Officials from NASA‘s Space Technology Mission Directorate have visited BWX Technologies‘ facility in Lynchburg, Va. to monitor progress on the company’s nuclear thermal propulsion technologies.
Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA STMD, observed BWXT’s year-long progress on NTP projects that may support a future manned Mars mission, the company said Tuesday.
These projects cover advanced welding, metallography and fuel element filling applications.
“We believe that NTP is an ideal propulsion system to take humans to Mars, and our scientists and engineers are working everyday to make that a reality,” said Rex Geveden, president and CEO at BWXT.
The company is designing a low enriched uranium NTP reactor that may become part of a rocket engine to be used for a Mars operation.
Use of NTP may reduce travel times and crew exposure to cosmic radiation.