Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

Enabling quick, safe and reliable in-space transportation for deep space missions

Aerojet Rocketdyne is developing nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) engine system technologies that will provide quick, safe and reliable in-space transportation to support a variety of mission profiles for human-based deep space exploration.

Key Features

  • NTP is more than twice as efficient as traditional cryogenic Lox/Hydrogen-fueled rocket engines.
  • Capability to support mission abort scenarios up to 90 days into the mission to safely return astronauts home in the event of an emergency.
  • Reduces crew deep space radiation exposure by up to 40 percent depending on the mission profile.
  • Capability to be reused over several missions, creating a true solar system human taxi to enable the exploration of deep space. 

Our Role 

NTP has tremendous synergy with current liquid rocket technologies – an area in which Aerojet Rocketdyne is a proven leader. This includes turbomachinery, nozzles, cryogenic hydrogen fuel handling and providing heat management solutions.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is working with manufacturers to leverage new low-enriched Uranium technology that is safer to handle and reduces expensive regulatory and security challenges; making NTP an attractive alternative to traditional chemical propulsion for crewed deep space missions.