EmberCores are similar to radioisotope heat sources used for Mars rovers – except orders of magnitude cheaper, more reliable, and available. We make EmberCores in a clean process WITHOUT spent fuel reprocessing.
For the fastest spacecraft
EmberCore can be paired with power conversion systems to act as a long duration battery for missions needing long duration operation far from any other energy sources. When combined with electric propulsion technology, EmberCore-powered batteries can enable speeds of up to twenty times that of chemical rockets.
With recent advances in observational capabilities, astronomers have just begun observing interstellar objects visiting our Solar System. These fast-moving objects come from outside of our solar system. So far, just two such objects have been detected: ʻOumuamua and 2I/Borisov. ʻOumuamua, discovered on October 19th 2017 by Robert Weryk, is a particularly curious object with an unnatural cylindrical or plate-like shape, an unusually reflective surface, and possessing strange orbital characteristics that do not have clear cut explanations. What is it? Where does it come from? Was it made?
Ultra Safe Nuclear is developing power sources for record breaking spacecraft that could reach extra solar objects like ʻOumuamua. The Interceptor will be powered by EmberCores. The ʻOumuamua mission presents an incredible opportunity to pull off a speed and distance record, obtain the rarest and most remote artifacts currently available in our solar system, and resolve research questions about its shape, composition, and origin.
Interceptor could be the fastest human-made object ever made and it will be able to catch up to Oumuamua and perform observations. The spacecraft is powered by a radioisotope decay source called EmberCore. The device produces heat from nuclear decay and then converts the heat to electricity to power high efficiency ion thrusters. Interceptor will achieve speeds exceeding 100km/s. Multiple mission profiles are being studied including fly-bys, velocity matching, and sample return.
Thermal, Electrical, and/or X-ray
EmberCore is a nuclear chargeable ceramic (NCC) that produces heat and x-rays without the need for externally applied power. An EmberCore is composed of individual “embers” made from a family of commercially available, inert isotopes charged with neutrons in a nuclear reactor.
By customizing the isotope selection and charging process, customers receive a heat and/or x-ray source matched to their mission duration, power level, and radiation tolerance. EmberCore does all of this while providing a vastly simplified regulatory path compared to conventional plutonium- or strontium-based alternatives.
SHIELDING & SAFETY
EmberCore units are packaged inside a radiation-absorbing shield, keeping people and electronics safe from harm while simplifying the integration process.
STACKS & SCALABILITY
The EmberCore architecture scales by combining individual embers to generate enough thermal power to meet mission requirements, from milliwatt-scale to kilowatt-scale.
Ultra Safe Nuclear will develop a concept for radioisotope-powered spacecraft with greater than 10 km/s of delta-V, many times greater than today’s small spacecraft propulsion systems.
USNC-Tech Reaches Agreement With Reed College to Irradiate Material for Commercial Radioisotope Heater
USNC-Tech and Reed College of Portland, Ore. have reached an agreement to irradiate material for the company’s first-of-its-kind commercial radioisotope heater.