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Astrobotic and Westinghouse Partner to Power Outer Space

Astrobotic
The Astrobotic Lander for the Moon. Credit: NASA

Ibadan, 5 June 2023. – Westinghouse Electric Company and Astrobotic have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore collaboration on space technology programs for NASA and the Department of Defense. The collaboration will consequently focus on developing space nuclear technology and delivery systems. The joint effort will also include strengthening the space nuclear supply chain and workforce in the Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia regions.

Last year, Westinghouse won a NASA/DOE contract to provide an initial design concept for a fission lunar surface power system. In furtherance of this, Westinghouse is developing a scaled-down version of the 5-MWe eVinci™ microreactor. The microreactor will power spacecraft in orbit or for deployment on the surface of planetary bodies such as the Moon or Mars, providing continuous power for space research and other applications.

The inherent simplicity of the eVinci technology supports these critical space missions by providing a reliable, resilient, low-mass power generation system that is autonomously operable. Furthermore, the technology is ideal for electricity generation for the lunar surface, satellites, and electric propulsion.

Likewise, Astrobotic, with experience in designing and deploying lunar landers and rovers, is developing LunaGrid, a commercial power service designed for the lunar south pole.

“Westinghouse is glad to partner with Astrobotic on delivering the next wave of innovative nuclear technology that is vital to advancing space exploration and supporting national defense missions,” said David Durham, Westinghouse President for Energy Systems. In the same vein, John Thornton, Astrobotic CEO, added, “Astrobotic and Westinghouse have deep roots in Pittsburgh, and we are glad to leverage both companies’ capabilities to pioneer the future of space power technologies and services.”

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