Kotlyar to Work With BWXT on Nuclear Propulsion for Deep Space Travel

Nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) is a potential technology for future crewed missions to Mars due to its high thrust, and high specific impulse. This technology is expected to enable reduced interplanetary travel times, which could increase the crew's safety by reducing exposure to cosmic radiation and other hazards of deep space travel. BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT) is working with NASA to develop critical reactor fuel technologies and mature the design of a low-enriched uranium engine.

Dr. Dan Kotlyar’s research group will be funded by BWXT to support further research in NTP technology by developing a computational multi-physics framework that will allow a better understanding of the operational limits, reliability, and associated safety margins of the engine.

Kotlyar is an Assistant Professor at the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering in the Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Program. His Computational Reactor Engineering Laboratory (CoRE) focuses on developing the next generation production tools as well as designing advanced and low-cost nuclear energy systems. Dr. Dan Kotlyar and Matthew Krecicki, a PhD student in his group, will develop an engineering-based tool to promote fuel licensing and development for the nuclear thermal propulsion technology with the end-objective to enable its successful demonstration.