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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25977.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Prepublication Copy – Subject to Further Editorial Correction SPACE NUCLEAR PROPULSION for Human Mars Exploration Space Nuclear Propulsion Technologies Committee Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences A Consensus Study Report of PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 This activity was supported by Contract No. NNH16CD01B/80HQTR20F0059 with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-XXXXX-X International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-XXXXX-X Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/25977 Copies of this publication are available free of charge from: Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this publication are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2021 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25977. PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org. PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies. For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo. PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION

SPACE NUCLEAR PROPULSION TECHNOLOGIES COMMITTEE ROBERT D. BRAUN, NAE, 1 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Co-Chair ROGER M. MYERS, R Myers Consulting, LLC, Co-Chair SHANNON M. BRAGG-SITTON, Idaho National Laboratory JONATHAN W. CIRTAIN, BWX Technologies TABITHA DODSON, Gryphon-Schafer Government Services, LLC ALEC D. GALLIMORE, NAE, University of Michigan JAMES H. GILLAND, Ohio Aerospace Institute BHAVYA LAL, NASA Headquarters PARVIZ MOIN, NAE/NAS, 2 Stanford University JOSEPH A. SHOLTIS, JR., Sholtis Engineering & Safety Consulting STEVEN J. ZINKLE, NAE, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Staff ALAN ANGLEMAN, Senior Program Officer, Study Director COLLEEN HARTMAN, Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Space Studies Board GAYBRIELLE HOLBERT, Program Assistant 1 Member, National Academy of Engineering. 2 Member, National Academy of Sciences. PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION v

AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD ALAN H. EPSTEIN, NAE,1 Pratt & Whitney, Chair BRIAN M. ARGROW, University of Colorado, Boulder STEVEN J. BATTEL, NAE, Battel Engineering MEYER J. BENZAKEIN, NAE, Ohio State University EILEEN M. COLLINS, Space Presentations, LLC EDWARD F. CRAWLEY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MICHAEL P. DELANEY, Boeing Commercial Airplanes KAREN FEIGH, Georgia Institute of Technology ILAN KROO, NAE, Stanford University ANDREW R. LACHER, MITRE Corporation NICHOLAS D. LAPPOS, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company MARK J. LEWIS, IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute VALERIE MANNING, Airbus RICHARD MCKINNEY, RWMckinney, LLC PAMELA A. MELROY, Melroy & Hollett Technology Partners, LLC PARVIZ MOIN, NAS2/NAE, Stanford University JOHN M. OLSON, Polaris Industries ELLEN M. PAWLIKOWSKI, NAS, Independent Consultant ROBIE I. SAMANTA ROY, Lockheed Martin Corporation WANDA A. SIGUR, NAE, Independent Consultant ALAN M. TITLE, NAS/NAE, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center DAVID M. VAN WIE, NAE, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory SHERRIE L. ZACHARIUS, Aerospace Corporation Staff COLLEEN N. HARTMAN, Director TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate MARGARET A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer ANDREA REBHOLZ, Program Associate RADAKA LIGHTFOOT, Financial Associate 1 Member, National Academy of Engineering. 2 Member, National Academy of Sciences. PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION vi

Preface NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate requested the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to convene an ad hoc committee to identify primary technical and programmatic challenges, merits, and risks for developing and demonstrating space nuclear propulsion technologies of interest to future exploration missions. The particular systems of interest were specified as nuclear thermal propulsion and nuclear electric propulsion systems. The committee was also tasked with determining the key milestones, a top-level development and demonstration roadmap, and other missions that could be enabled by successful development of these systems. The Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academies’ Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences assembled a committee to carry out the assigned statement of task (see Appendix B). The committee members (see Appendix C) held 14 virtual meetings during 2020 and drafted this report based on inputs received during its public meetings, additional documents reviewed by the committee, and the expertise of the members. A list of all of the findings and recommendations that appear in the main body of the report appears in Appendix A. Robert D. Braun, Co-Chair Roger M. Myers, Co-Chair Space Nuclear Propulsion Technologies Committee PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION vii

Acknowledgment of Reviewers This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Douglas M. Allen, Schafer Corporation (retired), Douglas M. Chapin, NAE,1 MPR Associates (retired), Antonio Elias, NAE, Orbital ATK (retired), Christopher F. McKee, NAS,2 University of California, Berkeley, Kelsa Benensky Palomares, Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc., Gerald Prudom, Consultant (retired), Susan S. Voss, Global Nuclear Network Analysis, LLC, and Edward L. (Ned) Wright, NAS, University of California, Los Angeles. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by William Kastenberg, NAE, University of California, Berkeley (retired), and Lester Lyles, NAE, Independent Consultant. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies. 1 Member, National Academy of Engineering. 2 Member, National Academy of Sciences. PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION ix

Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION AND BASELINE MISSION REQUIREMENTS 3 Introduction, 3 Baseline Mission to Mars: Crewed Opposition Class Missions, 6 Propulsion System Requirements, 8 Cargo Missions, 11 Summary, 11 2 NUCLEAR THERMAL PROPULSION 12 System Concept, 12 Historical Overview, 14 State of the Art, 18 Technology Requirements, Risks, and Options, 22 Testing, Modeling, and Simulation, 26 Development and Demonstration Roadmap, 31 Summary, 34 3 NUCLEAR ELECTRIC PROPULSION 35 System Concept, 35 Historical Overview, 37 State of the Art, 38 Technology Requirements, Risks, and Options, 51 Testing, Modeling, and Simulation, 57 Development and Demonstration Roadmap, 60 Summary, 64 PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION xi

xii CONTENTS 4 SYSTEM AND PROGRAMMATIC ISSUES 65 NTP and NEP Are Different Technologies, 65 Developments Common to Both NTP and NEP Systems, 66 HEU versus HALEU, 68 Industrial Base, 70 Lessons Learned from the History of Developing Space Nuclear Systems, 71 Key Technical Risks, 72 Programmatics, 72 5 MISSION APPLICATIONS 74 Science Missions, 74 Potential for Higher Performance Space Nuclear Propulsion Systems, 75 Surface Power Use of NEP Reactors, 75 Synergies with National Security Missions, 76 Synergies with Terrestrial Nuclear Systems, 77 APPENDICES A Statement of Task and Additional Guidance 81 B Findings and Recommendations 82 C Biographies of Committee Members 86 D Acronyms 91 PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION

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Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration identifies primary technical and programmatic challenges, merits, and risks for developing and demonstrating space nuclear propulsion technologies of interest to future exploration missions. This report presents key milestones and a top-level development and demonstration roadmap for performance nuclear thermal propulsion and nuclear electric propulsion systems and identifies missions that could be enabled by successful development of each technology.

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