A report proposes the development of two different mechanisms that would prevent inadvertent startup of reactors in nuclear-fission-based propulsion and power systems in future spacecraft. The purpose of this development is to contribute to safety by ensuring that radioactivity is kept to normal negligible levels before and during launch and in the event of a launch accident. Once the spacecraft was safely in outer space, a motor would actuate a linear screw that would move the fuel section of the rods into the core, enabling the reactor.
This work was done by Thomas Godfroy of Marshall Space Flight Center. For more information, contact the Marshall Technology Commercialization Office at (256) 544-2615.