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Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin Selected by DARPA to Develop Spacecraft for Nuclear Propulsion Demo

Apr 13, 2021, 13:07 PM by Lawrence Garrett
Copernicus-B-NASA-250

Artist's rendering of a Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Transfer Vehicle "Copernicus" in LEO | Credit: John Frassanito & Associates; NASA; Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain

Space News reports that DARPA “selected Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin to develop competing spacecraft concepts for a demonstration of nuclear thermal propulsion, the agency announced April 12.” The contracts were awarded under the demonstration rocket for agile cislunar operations (DRACO) program. Through the program, DARPA is looking “to demonstrate nuclear thermal propulsion technology – using a nuclear reactor to heat up rocket fuel to generate thrust.” Lockheed Martin’s “contract value is $2.9 million and the Blue Origin’s is $2.5 million.”
Full Story (Space News)