Intuitive Machines to Develop Nuclear Power Systems for Gateway Satellites
Space exploration and infrastructure company Intuitive Machines announced that it has secured the Joint Energy Technology Supplying On-Orbit Nuclear Power Low-Power Mission Application contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory to enhance the capabilities of NASA’s Gateway lunar outpost.
The company will leverage its prior work in the field and implement an integrated architecture to develop cube satellites powered by radioisotope power systems for position navigation, timing and electric propulsion for the $9.49 million contract. The company will launch the tiny satellites on a lunar transportation mission.
Safe, efficient and scalable solutions can be developed for a broad spectrum of space missions using nuclear power systems and power generation and space exploration technologies, Intuitive Machines said.
The integration of RPS, a form of nuclear power, can offer reliable energy sources in space, reducing reliance on solar power and heavy battery storage. The technology is crucial as space exploration ventures become more diverse and ambitious, according to Pete McGrath, Intuitive Machines vice president of business development.
Tags: Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate contract award Intuitive Machines Joint Energy Technology Supplying On-Orbit Nuclear Power Pete McGrath Radioisotope Power Systems space