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Rolls-Royce awarded NASA Power Conversion Development Contract

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a $1 million contract to develop an Advanced Closed Brayton Cycle converter for NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Above: Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Courtesy Rolls-Royce

Over the 12-month contract period, Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks will provide a preliminary design of a closed-cycle Brayton power conversion system for next-generation space-based nuclear microreactors.

John Shade, Rolls-Royce executive vice president of business development and future programmes, said: "Being selected for NASA's Power Conversion Development Contract is a testament to Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks' leadership in pioneering advancements for the future of microreactor power conversion in the United States.

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"This investment is a pivotal step towards enabling robust operations in space, paving the way for a new era in space exploration with reliable, clean, and efficient power sources. In collaboration with our teammates on this programme, we are not just envisioning the future – we are engineering it.”

Rolls-Royce is a pioneer in cutting-edge technologies to deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions for nuclear power systems. It is delivering critical system solutions as part of the industry team supporting the US Department of Defense nuclear microreactor programme, Project PELE. The programme will deliver an inherently safe nuclear reactor system, capable of providing transportable, reliable and resilient power.

Rolls-Royce is also working with the UK Space Agency to develop concept designs for space reactor systems. Earlier this month Rolls-Royce announced it had secured funding from Phase 2 of the UK Space Agency’s International Bilateral Fund (IBF). The funding enables strategic research partnerships within the UK space sector and emerging space nations to work together.

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The new £1.18 million award from the Fund backs collaboration to identify and advance the optimum technologies for a fission nuclear system, benefitting both UK and US space nuclear development programmes for a range of space power missions.

Rolls-Royce is collaborating with US firm BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC (BWXT) to deliver this phase of development, which has been cemented in a Teaming Agreement between the two companies.

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