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Nuclear fuel for rockets

  1. Nov 7, 2005 #1
    is there technology to use nuclear fuel for space rockets?

    what could be the fastest and cheapest way to transport 100000000 kg from earth to mars?

    can fission be an alternative?

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2005 #2
    is the technology for NUCLEAR FUEL in space rockets available?
    if yes HOW?
  4. Nov 7, 2005 #3


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    Though none have yet been launched using nuclear power to drive them, http://www.spacedaily.com/news/nuclearspace-03r.html" [Broken] can be nuclear powered.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  5. Nov 7, 2005 #4
    Yes. But trasnporting nuclear fuel such as plutonium into space is potential dangerous, see if the rocket explodes while going into space it will pour radioactive material into the atmosphere.
  6. Nov 7, 2005 #5
    NASA has made announcements regarding their "promoetheus" projects.

    http://search.nasa.gov/nasasearch/search/search.jsp?nasaInclude=prometheus [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  7. Nov 7, 2005 #6


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    That little detail has not stopped our governments (primarily US and USSR) from launching dozens of space missions with nuclear power souces aboard. Indeed, there may be many, many more nuclear-powered satellites up there that we do not know about because their missions are classified.

    Here's a link:

    http://engineering.union.edu/me_dept/faculty/treaty1.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  8. Nov 7, 2005 #7


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    Back in the 60's & 70's, NASA ran the Nuclear Research Development Station in Jackass Flats. First the KIWI, then the NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications) were tested there. While I'm not familiar with the KIWI arrangement, NERVA used a U-238 pile with longitudinal holes bored through it. Liquid hydrogen was forced through by a turbopump, and was heated to a maximum of 2727* (after which the core would collapse). The expanded gas was then used for thrust, and gave a specific impulse of 1,100. A kerosene/LOX rocket like the Saturn V, in contrast, gave about 450.
  9. Nov 8, 2005 #8


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    At the present time, a nuclear thermal rocket would be the most (and only) practical way to deliever 100,000 MT to Mars. There is also the matter of putting a payload of 100,000 MT into LEO in preparation for departure to Mars, and the transfer vehicle and propellant.

    For the moment, NASA's effort regarding nuclear propulsion is more or less dead in the water (or in space as the case may be). :mad:
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2005
  10. Nov 8, 2005 #9


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    Ironically, the present US administration slashed the funding for NASA's breakthrough propulsion project, then announced that we must send manned missions to the Moon and Mars. Duh! :yuck:

    What incredibly shrewd planning!
  11. Nov 14, 2005 #10
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  12. Nov 14, 2005 #11


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    Not necessarily "pour". The fuel is in a form that is designed not to be easily spread. (Google the Cassini mission...lots of debate about that past launch due to this very concern)
  13. Nov 15, 2005 #12


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    The debate proceded in stages on many fronts, with plenty of misinformation on both sides. Critics routinely overstated the risks surrounding the launch event, damaging their case. NASA did not acquit itself well, either, claiming that the fuel was pelletized and could not be vaporized. This was a bit disingenuous because they were talking primarily about the launch event itself, not the possibility of a failed Earth fly-by. If the fly-by was botched and the probe entered the Earth's atmosphere, the probe would certainly be vaporized, and the plutonium would be very finely divided and dispersed all over the Earth. Activists, failing to stop the launch, then poured their efforts into trying to get the fly-by cancelled. :wink: That didn't happen, and luckily for us, the fly-by went well.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2005
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