New DARPA Contract Brings Us Closer to Nuclear Thermal Spaceflight

Nuclear thermal spaceflight might be a lot closer than you think. DARPA's Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program is underway with the U.S. Pentagon agency having recently announced its three prime contractors: General Atomics, Blue Origin, and Lockheed Martin.

The goal of the DRACO program is to demonstrate a nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) system above low Earth orbit in 2025, DARPA explains in a press statement. With mission success, DARPA would have built the first rocket using a technology that could halve our travel time across the Solar System.

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