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U.S. to test nuclear-powered spacecraft by 2027

Reuters

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - The United States plans to test a spacecraft engine powered by nuclear fission by 2027 as part of a long-term NASA effort to demonstrate more efficient methods of propelling astronauts to Mars in the future, the space agency’s chief said Tuesday.

NASA will partner with the U.S. military's research and development agency, DARPA, to develop a nuclear thermal propulsion engine and launch it to space "as soon as 2027," NASA administrator Bill Nelson said during a conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama