Description: Nuclear power has been considered for space applications since the 1960s. Between 1955 and 1972 the US built and tested over twenty nuclear reactors/ rocket-engines in the Rover/NERVA programs. However, changes in environmental laws may make the redevelopment of the nuclear rocket more difficult. Recent advances in fuel fabrication and testing options indicate that a nuclear rocket with a fuel form significantly different from NERVA may be needed to ensure public support. The Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) is pursuing development of tungsten based fuels for use in a NTR, for a surface power reactor, and to encapsulate radioisotope power sources. The CSNR Summer Fellows program has investigated the feasibility of several missions enabled by the NTR. The potential mission benefits of a nuclear rocket, historical achievements of the previous programs, and recent investigations into alternatives in design and materials for future systems will be discussed.
Date: September 1, 2001
Creator: O'Brien, Robert C.
Item Type: Refine your search to only Article
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department