Lockheed Martin Contracted by NASA to Design, Test New Nuclear-Powered Propulsion System Written 27 July 2023

Lockheed Martin DRACO spacecraft

Illustration of a the DRACO spacecraft being developed by Lockheed Martin for DARPA that will demonstrate thermal nuclear engine technology. | Credit: Lockheed Martin–©

The New York Times reports NASA and DARPA have announced that Lockheed Martin has been selected “to design, build and test a propulsion system that could one day speed astronauts on a trip to Mars.” The nearly $500 million program “is named DRACO, short for the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations.” The DRACO development “is to culminate with a flight test of the nuclear-thermal engine.” Kirk Shireman, a vice president at Lockheed Martin, “said the launch was currently scheduled for late 2025 or early 2026.”
Full Story (The New York Times)