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Defense Innovation Unit Awards 2 Contracts for Nuclear-Powered Space Tech Demo

Defense Innovation Unit Awards 2 Contracts for Nuclear-Powered Space Tech Demo - top government contractors - best government contracting event

The Defense Innovation Unit has selected Ultra Safe Nuclear and Avalanche Energy to test nuclear technology prototypes the companies developed for spacecraft propulsion and power applications.

DIU said Wednesday the other transaction contract awardees will aim to demonstrate system capability to support small spacecraft operations on a potential cislunar mission for the Department of Defense.

Ultra Safe Nuclear designed a radioisotope battery to generate over 1 million kilowatt-hours of energy with a few kilograms of fuel, while Avalanche Energy created a device that works to capture fusion ions electrostatic fields by utilizing electrostatic fields and a magnetron confinement process.

“Nuclear tech has traditionally been government-developed and operated, but we have discovered a thriving ecosystem of commercial companies, including start-ups, innovating in space nuclear,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Ryan Weed, DIU’s Nuclear Advanced Propulsion and Power program manager.

In a similar effort, NASA is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to explore nuclear fission methods for larger space vehicles.

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Written by Mary-Louise Hoffman

is a writer of news summaries about executive-level business activity in the government contracting sector. Her reports for ExecutiveBiz are focused on trends and events that drive the GovCon industry to include commercial technologies that private companies are developing for federal government use. She contributes news content to ExecutiveBiz’s sister sites GovCon Wire and ExecutiveGov.

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