Space exploration is ongoing, with the neoliberal policy encouraging Elon Musk to take the uranium, I mean the lead, so that it ressembles a Hayekian world (and, in case it tragically fails, it can be blamed on “capitalism”, of course, forgetting where this is actually organized – Elon Musk lives off state subsidies for all his projects actually).
So it was decided to let SpaceX use nuclear energy for its vessel… the first test was already an accident, not (yet…) nuclear, just a hydrogen leak.
Let’s decompose the machine : a nuclear reactor is used to heat up a secondary hydrogen circuit that’s used for propulsion. That circuit got a leak a few weeks ago in a test.
It’s a “Raptor engine” – and there is a hole at the head for air entrance and compression of what should be a light-water reactor.
So it’s from that hole that the hydrogen, after a early circuit perforation, leaked.
The technology remains unsure for passenger aircrafts. See the rest of my blog, there is plenty of articles on accidents caused by supernovas, black hole mergers etc. In a light-water reactor the probability is thin for a 6-month flight but it remains unacceptable (for me at least).