China pursues nuclear reactor that could power 10 space stations

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China pursues nuclear reactor that could power 10 space stations

Beijing is getting ready to launch nuclear energy projects into space quickly as the competition between China and the US for space supremacy intensifies.

According to SpaceNews, China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has given the go-ahead for a nuclear reactor project that may produce one megawatt of electricity in space.

According to reports, the project passed a thorough performance assessment that the ministry performed on August 25.

The International Space Station currently in operation is thought to use up to 120 kilowatts of electricity, according to NASA specialists.

Accordingly, the Chinese project might provide enough electricity to run around ten space stations.

Additionally, the project has 100 times the power of the reactor that NASA plans to place on the Moon’s surface by 2030.

Why China intends to construct such a potent reactor is unknown. The project’s other specifics are still a secret.

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However, the nation has recently achieved important strides in space exploration.

The nation is currently constructing the Tiangong (Celestial Palace) space station in Earth orbit.

The national research and development program for the nuclear reactor in space got under way in 2019. Experts claim that the project’s progress reflects China’s keen interest in nuclear energy production for use in space.

Solar panels are typically employed today to power spacecraft. However, as time passes, these panels accumulate dust and lose their functionality, cutting the life of space missions short. Furthermore, visiting planets far from the Sun can result in an energy shortage because less sunlight reaches these areas.

Because of this, the US and China are more serious about using nuclear energy in spacecraft. Nuclear energy is also believed to have the potential to expand the number of manned space missions in the future.

In October 2021, Bhavya Lal, NASA’s budget and financial advisor, stated that “our key competitors, especially China, are vigorously investing in many space technologies, including nuclear energy and propulsion systems”:

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