DARPA Kicks Off Design, Fabrication for DRACO Experimental NTR Vehicle
"The DRACO program aims to give the nation leap-ahead propulsion capability".
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: DARPA, in collaboration with NASA, is advancing toward the goal of the world’s first in-orbit demonstration of a nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) engine via DRACO, the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations.
DARPA has finalized an agreement with Lockheed Martin for the company to begin work on the fabrication and design of the experimental NTR vehicle (X-NTRV) and its engine. Advances collaboration with NASA on nuclear thermal rocket; finalizes Phase 2 agreement.
“The DRACO program aims to give the nation leap-ahead propulsion capability,” said Dr. Tabitha Dodson, program manager for the effort. “An NTR achieves high thrust similar to in-space chemical propulsion but is two to three times more efficient.
With a successful demonstration, we could significantly advance humanity’s means for going faster and farther in space and pave the way for the future deployment for all fission-based nuclear space technologies.”