USNC-Tech envisions adapting EmberCore for an electric propulsion system that could propel a spacecraft to extremely high speeds. “The spacecraft architecture is capable of incredible delta-V on the order of 50-100 km/s,” USNC-Tech’s Christopher Morrison says in the company’s proposal. That would translate to 110,000 to 220,000 mph.
Cobalt-60 gives 17 watts per gram. A kilogram of Cobalt-60 would give 17 kilowatts per kilogram. The medical isotope industry produces 100 kilowatts of Cobalt-60.
USNC needs to mass produce the radioisotopes. The fast decaying, short halflife isotopes can have more power for shorter months or year instead of decades. USNC can also use multiple different isotopes. A first stage could use high-power shorter life materials and a second endurance stage could use lower-power long life materials to power instruments for decades.
They can have 20 kilogram systems that could still reach 85 km/second. The new higher density nuclear power sources are combined with ion drives for better performance.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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