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UK Space Agency invests £2.9m in Rolls-Royce space reactor

UK Space Agency Rolls Royce
Image credit: Rolls-Royce Submarines Ltd

Aerospace company Rolls-Royce has received a further £2.9m in funding from the UK Space Agency to develop its micro space reactor that could be used by astronauts to power communications and life support on the Moon.

The funding for Rolls-Royce’s space reactor follows on from the £249,000 it received from the UK Space Agency last March.

Minister of State at the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman, said: “As we prepare to see humans return to the Moon for the first time in more than 50 years, we are backing exciting research like this lunar modular reactor with Rolls-Royce to pioneer new power sources for a lunar base.”

Rolls-Royce hopes its micro space reactor will be on the lunar surface by 2029.

Its space reactor is in collaboration with the University of Oxford, University of Bangor, University of Brighton, University of Sheffield and Nuclear AMRC.

“This funding will bring us further down the road in making the Micro-Reactor a reality, with the technology bringing immense benefits for both space and Earth,” said Abi Clayton, director of Future Programmes at Rolls-Royce.

As a result of the UK Space Agency’s fresh capital, Rolls-Royce can further develop the reactor’s fueling, heat transfer and heat-to-electricity conversion.

Dr Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “This innovative research by Rolls-Royce could lay the groundwork for powering continuous human presence on the Moon, while enhancing the wider UK space sector, creating jobs and generating further investment.”

The Rolls-Royce funding comes shortly after it announced a £51m funding package for Moon satellite tech.

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