The British car company, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, confirmed through its social networks that it is preparing to make the leap into the space industry.
The multinational revealed a design concept for a nuclear “microreactor”, developed for faster trips or with a larger payload to the Moon or Mars.
The report adds that, in the long term, Rolls-Royce wants to use this “microjet” as a power source for future bases on the natural satellite and the red planet.
The reactor will be based on uranium, a common fuel used in nuclear fission. Interestingly, the use of these “microjets” for space travel is currently in the background, since propulsion based on chemical propellants takes precedence.
The main advantage of this type of reactor is its lightness, which would allow faster displacements or a greater volume of cargo.
Rolls-Royce hopes to have it ready by 2029 after raising $600 million of public and private funding.
In a promotional video for the company, the head of innovation products and services, Jake Thompson, explained that Rolls-Royce Holdings “is in the concept, design, development and test phase of the reactor.”
The spokesperson clarified that “they are working on a smaller-scale prototype.”
At the same time, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are working on a parallel project to develop an engine of thermal rocket that could reduce the time of arrival in deep space.
A Rolls-Royce Micro-Reactor is designed to use an inherently safe and extremely robust fuel form. Each uranium particle is encapsulated in multiple protective layers that act as a containment system, allowing it to withstand extreme conditions.https://t.co/OOc9kBGXDx pic.twitter.com/wkXmZgzhrs
—Rolls-Royce (@RollsRoyce) January 27, 2023