NASA successfully tested the most promising space reactor available on Earth
Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology or Kilopower has been tested for operation in non-standard modes. With this stage, the transition from the conceptual model to the development of a real reactor is being completed for use in future space missions. It is not ruled out that it will begin to be built in 2020, in order to test in space for the next decade.
Kilopower is the quintessence of the achievements of mankind in the field of developing compact autonomous power plants. It is a power plant that converts the energy of fission of an atom into heat and then into electricity in the simplest way. It is designed to work independently of external conditions.
The Kilopower reactor is designed as an internal beryllium oxide coating tank, which contains the necessary amount of fuel from solid uranium-235 and a single rod-regulator from boron carbide. By default, before activation, the kernel only slightly fonit, and the departing neutrons bounce off the reflector and return back. During operation, the system itself monitors the position of the regulator rod to obtain the desired amount of heat, which is fed to a generator based on the Stirling machine and turns into electricity.
The power of the prototype was 10 kW, but it uses not deficit plutonium, but more affordable uranium-235. Plus the main advantage of Kilopower is a modular design, an unlimited number of reactors and generators can be combined into a system with arbitrary performance indicators. It can be installed on almost any object of the near-future space missions and can be scaled without significant costs indefinitely.