NASA applications that would directly benefit from this technology include Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). Space nuclear power and propulsion are game changing technologies for space exploration. Initial NTP systems will have specific impulses roughly twice that of the best chemical systems, i.e., reduced propellant requirements and/or reduced trip time. Currently, NASA's Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) project is working to demonstrate the viability and affordability of NTP. The proposed Phase II effort would greatly assist NASA with achieving the goals of the NCPS project. Potential NASA missions include rapid robotic exploration missions throughout the solar system and piloted missions to Mars and other destinations such as near earth asteroids.
Both government and commercial entities in the following sectors use advanced high-temperature materials for the following applications: coatings, defense, material R&D, nuclear power, aerospace, propulsion, automotive, electronics, crystal growth, and medical. Targeted commercial applications include net-shape fabrication of refractory rocket nozzles, crucibles, heat pipes, fuel rods, and propulsion subcomponents; and advanced coating systems for x-ray targets, sputtering targets, turbines, and rocket engines.