Friday, June 22, 2018

Nuclear engine for space in works

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – BWX Technologies, Inc. opened a Huntsville office Thursday to begin developing aerospace products, including a nuclear propulsion system. The company has a contract with NASA to create conceptual designs for a nuclear thermal reactor to power a spaceship to Mars. Jonathan Certain, vice president for advanced technical programs for the company, said BWXT hopes to hire between 75 and 150 people in the next four or five years in Huntsville. BWX Technologies was created through the breakup of Babcock and Wilcox. It's headquartered in Lynchburg, Va. and has nine operating sites in North America. The company, which manufactures all the fuel and nuclear cores that power America's aircraft carrier and submarine fleets, is licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to handle weapons grade uranium and builds an average of two reactors to the Navy each year. The company's local site director is Gene Goldman, a former director of NASA's Stennis Space Center (SSC) in Mississippi and acting center director at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville. At a ceremony, Goldman presented a $5,000 check from the company to help develop the planned Alabama Cyber and Engineering School in Huntsville. (Source:, 06/22/18) Gulf Coast note: MSFC oversees SSC, NASA's primary rocket engine test facility.