Nuclear aircraft engines

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IdahoMike
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Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:54 am

Nuclear aircraft engines

Postby IdahoMike » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:45 pm

Their are two nuclear aircraft engines in the parking lot of the EBR-1 Museum on Highway 20 between Idaho Falls and Arco, ID. The engines were actually tested and developed thrust necessary for flight. They even built a HUGE hangar for the thing. The spent more than a $ Billion in the 1950s. There is a great book on the history of the Idaho National Laboratory - you can read a very entertaining 12 page chapter on the nuclear aircraft project at http://www.inl.gov/publications/d/provi ... ter_13.pdf

On November 25, the Mars Curiosity Rover will launch carrying nuclear powered batteries called RTGs. These have powered many probes starting with the Voyager probes, and more recently the Cassini Mission.

Also, I just got back from the American Nuclear Society meeting in DC and sat in on several sessions on nuclear propulsion systems ranging from fission reactors for powering ion engines, power for lunar bases, and even a nuclear powered Mars Hopper, that uses nuclear heat to compress and heat carbon dioxide to create a 20 sec burst up and 20 sec burn to decelerate.

Anyway, it's kind of on the border of science fiction, but nuclear propulsion is still alive (at least at the research phase).

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jackhodgson
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Re: Nuclear aircraft engines

Postby jackhodgson » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:10 am

Mike,

It seems that you inadvertently posted multiple copies of this message. I deleted the first two copies, which seemed to be identical to the third. If I deleted the wrong one let me know, I can restore whichever you choose.

And thanks for the info about the nuke stuff. Thats pretty interesting.

// Jack

IdahoMike
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:54 am

Re: Nuclear aircraft engines

Postby IdahoMike » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:48 am

Thanks Jack. After posting, the progress bar never appeared to finish loading, so I hit refresh and tried again (obviously several times).

MerlinFAC
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Re: Nuclear aircraft engines

Postby MerlinFAC » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:41 pm

Air & Space that ran an article on this subject a few years ago... a nuclear ramjet that worked, and was run on the ground out in the desert... but the exhaust was so radioactive that they really couldn't actually use it for it's intended purpose... a cruise missile that could fly in loiter mode (for MONTHS!!) until needed to go blast something in Commie-land.

http://www.merkle.com/pluto/pluto.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Pluto

Hmmm... glowing contrails, anyone?

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baswell
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Re: Nuclear aircraft engines

Postby baswell » Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:39 pm

IdahoMike wrote:On November 25, the Mars Curiosity Rover will launch carrying nuclear powered batteries called RTGs. These have powered many probes starting with the Voyager probes, and more recently the Cassini Mission.

While they power the probes, they are only there to provide electricity to the systems, right? Not for propulsion.

Although I guess the mars rover will use it for propulsion, it won't be flying, it will drive on the surface.

and even a nuclear powered Mars Hopper, that uses nuclear heat to compress and heat carbon dioxide to create a 20 sec burst up and 20 sec burn to decelerate.

Now that would be nuclear flight propulsion! :)


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