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Nuclear propulsion

Nuclear propulsion

Propulsion methods that use a nuclear reaction as the primary power source

Nuclear electric propulsion systems use propellants much more efficiently than chemical rockets but provide a low amount of thrust. They use a reactor to generate electricity that positively charges gas propellants like xenon or krypton, pushing the ions out through a thruster, which drives the spacecraft forward. Using low thrust efficiently, nuclear electric propulsion systems accelerate spacecraft for extended periods and can propel a Mars mission for a fraction of the propellant of high thrust systems.

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