While nuclear energy has been very influential in meeting the energy needs of Earth, it also has implications and uses in outer space exploration. Nuclear energy can be used as a source of power for various space missions in space or on planetary/space platforms and more importantly, it can be used for propulsion in order to achieve high specific impulses to allow the spacecraft to reach its destinations faster. This chapter discusses the use of nuclear energy for propulsion in spacecraft and also as a source of power for space missions. While nuclear energy has been used since the 1960s in space missions in various forms, many new techniques also have been developed in the last 10 years, which may pave the way for future space missions that will allow mankind to reach further destinations and to establish long-term outposts in space. As long as Le Reve Des Toiles’ or the Dream of Stars continues to be the main dynamo of mankind, nuclear energy in space applications will be at the forefront of space exploration for many decades to come. This chapter focuses on the existing nuclear applications in space exploration since the early 1960s as well as any future work that is going on related to this field.
You can read it at: https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-818483-7.00013-5