Description: A detailed study is presented of some fundamental problems connected with the realization of a nuclear gaseous reactor rocket engine. The virtue of such a propulsion scheme is that the energy of the fission fragments is transferred directly to the propellant. Thus the heat-transfer problem of the conventional heat exchanger type of nuclear rocket is avoided and very high values of the specific impulse (>1000 sec) might be achieved. The discussion centers mainly around contaainment of the propellant gases during heat addition, maintaining the nuclear chain reaction, and an assessment of the principal factors contributing to cost. It is shown that reasonable values of cost per unit payload are to be achieved only by considering payloads about two orders of magnitude larger than any of current interest. Possible means for improving the situation, such as dissociation-recombination effects, pulsed operation, centrifugal separation of nuclear fuel and propellant, are investigated without reaching favorable results. (auth)
Date: October 31, 1957
Creator: Fox, R.H.
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