Issue Date: March 29, 2004
NASA, DOE form nuclear partnership
NASA has announced plans to partner with the Department of Energy's Naval Reactors Program to develop nuclear power and propulsion technology for use in NASA's Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) project. The details of the partnership, including funding and specific responsibilities, are still being worked out by the two agencies. JIMO will be the first NASA spacecraft to use a nuclear-reactor energy source on its journey to investigate Jupiter's three ice moons: Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. The mission is the first within NASA's Project Prometheus, which will use radioisotope electric power and fission-reactor power sources, and it is not expected to be ready for launch until 2012 or later. Although the focus of the partnership will be the development of JIMO, NASA spokesman Dwayne Brown says it may evolve to include other activities over time. In the meantime, DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy, Science & Technology will continue to work on space nuclear technology efforts outside those associated with JIMO.
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