Ultrahigh Specific Impulse Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

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Research on nuclear thermal propulsion systems (NTP) have been in forefront of the space nuclear power and propulsion due to their design simplicity and their promise for providing very high thrust at reasonably high specific impulse. During NERVA-ROVER program in late 1950's till early 1970's, the United States developed and ground tested about 18 NTP systems without ever deploying them into space. The NERVA-ROVER program included development and testing of NTP systems with very high thrust (~250,000 lbf) and relatively high specific impulse (~850 s). High thrust to weight ratio in NTP systems is an indicator of high acceleration that ... continued below

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Charmeau, Anne; Cunningham, Brandon & Anghaie, Samim February 9, 2009.

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Description

Research on nuclear thermal propulsion systems (NTP) have been in forefront of the space nuclear power and propulsion due to their design simplicity and their promise for providing very high thrust at reasonably high specific impulse. During NERVA-ROVER program in late 1950's till early 1970's, the United States developed and ground tested about 18 NTP systems without ever deploying them into space. The NERVA-ROVER program included development and testing of NTP systems with very high thrust (~250,000 lbf) and relatively high specific impulse (~850 s). High thrust to weight ratio in NTP systems is an indicator of high acceleration that could be achieved with these systems. The specific impulse in the lowest mass propellant, hydrogen, is a function of square root of absolute temperature in the NTP thrust chamber. Therefor optimizing design performance of NTP systems would require achieving the highest possible hydrogen temperature at reasonably high thrust to weight ratio. High hydrogen exit temperature produces high specific impulse that is a diret measure of propellant usage efficiency.

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  • Report No.: DOE/ID/14699
  • Grant Number: FG07-05ID14699
  • DOI: 10.2172/950459 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 950459
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc927854

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • February 9, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 2, 2016, 4:39 p.m.

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Charmeau, Anne; Cunningham, Brandon & Anghaie, Samim. Ultrahigh Specific Impulse Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, report, February 9, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc927854/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.