Nuclear Microreactors for Power in Space

Prototyping and demonstrating robust and reliable nuclear power systems will be an essential stepping stone to survive on the Moon and beyond.

Closeup of an electrical control panel in a fire engine
“Nuclear microreactors experience boom” by Monica Hernandez. October 2023.

Research and development in the space industry is growing in leaps and bounds. The increased frequency of access to space has opened avenues for creative experimentation, collaboration, and entrepreneurialism across sectors and demographics. Producing and harnessing robust electrical power in space is critical, especially given the fast-approaching timeframe for the crewed lunar missions and bases. Recently, some novel configurations of nuclear microreactors and fuel cells offer the promise of small engineering for power in space. 

Thinking Big by Engineering Small

The United Kingdom’s Rolls-Royce Holdings plc has designed a nuclear-powered Space Flower Moon Micro Reactor, hoping for a demonstration model over the next few years. Rolls-Royce plc is a multinational engine, aerospace, and defense systems company with a rich history in nuclear propulsion. It has developed all the reactors for the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines since the 1960s.