China’s mysterious space nuclear reactor allegedly can power 10 International Space Stations

Designed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the dynamic reactor can generate one megawatt of electricity — 100 times more powerful than a similar device Nasa plans to put on the surface of the moon by 2030 — for spacecraft power supply and propulsion.

That is enough to power the equivalent of 10 International Space Stations, Space said. Previously, a NASA estimate had revealed that the complex receives 120 kilowatts of electrical power at most.

The project was launched with funding from the central government in 2019.

Already a step ahead with nuclear-powered space missions

Robotic missions to outer planets receive extremely low levels of energy from the sun, rendering solar power generation “useless”. For such missions, nuclear fission systems offer efficient levels of power and electricity propulsion.

China has been actively pursuing and expanding its deep space capabilities in recent years, developing cryogenic rockets, reusable launchers, and suborbital spaceplanes. It is also highly experienced in using nuclear power during space missions.

The country is highly experienced in using nuclear power during space missions, with the Chang’e 3 moon lander, for example, using a plutonium-powered nuclear generator to survive the frigid, two-week lunar night.

In 2019, senior Chinese space exploration official Wu Weiren, director of the newly-established Tiandu deep space exploration laboratory, called for developments in nuclear power for space to meet future mission requirements.

Leave a Comment