[ExI] New nuclear rocket engine design
pharos at gmail.com
Sun Oct 25 10:41:24 UTC 2020
New nuclear engine concept could help realize 3-month trips to Mars
By David Szondy October 25, 2020
Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has
developed a concept for a new Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine
and delivered it to NASA. Claimed to be safer and more reliable than
previous NTP designs and with far greater efficiency than a chemical
rocket, the concept could help realize the goal of using nuclear
propulsion to revolutionize deep space travel, reducing Earth-Mars
travel time to just three months.
Because chemical rockets are already near their theoretical limits and
electric space propulsion systems have such low thrust, rocket
engineers continue to seek ways to build more efficient, more powerful
engines using some variant of nuclear energy. If properly designed,
such nuclear rockets could have several times the efficiency of the
chemical variety. The problem is to produce a nuclear reactor that is
light enough and safe enough for use outside the Earth's atmosphere –
especially if the spacecraft is carrying a crew.
There appears to be increasing interest in nuclear thermal propulsion rockets!
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