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Title: History of the Development of NERVA Nuclear Rocket Engine Technology

Abstract

During the 17 yr between 1955 and 1972, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the U.S. Air Force (USAF), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) collaborated on an effort to develop a nuclear rocket engine. Based on studies conducted in 1946, the concept selected was a fully enriched uranium-filled, graphite-moderated, beryllium-reflected reactor, cooled by a monopropellant, hydrogen. The program, known as Rover, was centered at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL), funded jointly by the AEC and the USAF, with the intent of designing a rocket engine for long-range ballistic missiles. Other nuclear rocket concepts were studied during these years, such as cermet and gas cores, but are not reviewed herein. Even thought the program went through the termination phase in a very short time, the technology may still be fully recoverable/retrievable to the state of its prior technological readiness in a reasonably short time. Documents; drawings; and technical, purchasing, manufacturing, and materials specifications were all stored for ease of retrieval. If the U.S. space program were to discover a need/mission for this engine, its 1972 'pencils down' status could be updated for the technology developments of the past 28 yr for flight demonstration in 8 or fewer years. Dependingmore » on today's performance requirements, temperatures and pressures could be increased and weight decreased considerably.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
none (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
none (US)
OSTI Identifier:
786194
Report Number(s):
ISSN 0003-018X; CODEN TANSAO
ISSN 0003-018X; CODEN TANSAO; TRN: US0109307
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 2000 Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA (US), 06/04/2000--06/08/2000; Other Information: Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, Volume 82; PBD: 4 Jun 2000
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; NERVA REACTOR; PERFORMANCE; ROCKET ENGINES; SPECIFICATIONS; ROVER REACTORS; TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT; HISTORICAL ASPECTS; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; ROVER REACTOR; TECHNOLOGY UTILIZATION; US AEC; US DOD; NASA

Citation Formats

David L. Black. History of the Development of NERVA Nuclear Rocket Engine Technology. United States: N. p., 2000. Web.
David L. Black. History of the Development of NERVA Nuclear Rocket Engine Technology. United States.
David L. Black. Sun . "History of the Development of NERVA Nuclear Rocket Engine Technology". United States.
@article{osti_786194,
title = {History of the Development of NERVA Nuclear Rocket Engine Technology},
author = {David L. Black},
abstractNote = {During the 17 yr between 1955 and 1972, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the U.S. Air Force (USAF), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) collaborated on an effort to develop a nuclear rocket engine. Based on studies conducted in 1946, the concept selected was a fully enriched uranium-filled, graphite-moderated, beryllium-reflected reactor, cooled by a monopropellant, hydrogen. The program, known as Rover, was centered at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL), funded jointly by the AEC and the USAF, with the intent of designing a rocket engine for long-range ballistic missiles. Other nuclear rocket concepts were studied during these years, such as cermet and gas cores, but are not reviewed herein. Even thought the program went through the termination phase in a very short time, the technology may still be fully recoverable/retrievable to the state of its prior technological readiness in a reasonably short time. Documents; drawings; and technical, purchasing, manufacturing, and materials specifications were all stored for ease of retrieval. If the U.S. space program were to discover a need/mission for this engine, its 1972 'pencils down' status could be updated for the technology developments of the past 28 yr for flight demonstration in 8 or fewer years. Depending on today's performance requirements, temperatures and pressures could be increased and weight decreased considerably.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2000},
month = {6}
}

Conference:
Other availability
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