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Title: Advanced nuclear rocket engine mission analysis

The use of a derivative of the NERVA engine developed from 1955 to 1973 was evluated for potential application to Air Force orbital transfer and maneuvering missions in the time period 1995 to 2020. The NERVA stge was found to have lower life cycle costs (LCC) than an advanced chemical stage for performing low earth orbit (LEO) to geosynchronous orbit (GEO0 missions at any level of activity greater than three missions per year. It had lower life cycle costs than a high performance nuclear electric engine at any level of LEO to GEO mission activity. An examination of all unmanned orbital transfer and maneuvering missions from the Space Transportation Architecture study (STAS 111-3) indicated a LCC advantage for the NERVA stage over the advanced chemical stage of fifteen million dollars. The cost advanced accured from both the orbital transfer and maneuvering missions. Parametric analyses showed that the specific impulse of the NERVA stage and the cost of delivering material to low earth orbit were the most significant factors in the LCC advantage over the chemical stage. Lower development costs and a higher thrust gave the NERVA engine an LCC advantage over the nuclear electric stage. An examination of technical datamore » from the Rover/NERVA program indicated that development of the NERVA stage has a low technical risk, and the potential for high reliability and safe operation. The data indicated the NERVA engine had a great flexibility which would permit a single stage to perform all Air Force missions.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5262548
Report Number(s):
EGG-M-41087; CONF-871274-1
ON: DE88006797
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-76ID01570
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: JANNAF propulsion conference, San Diego, CA, USA, 15 Dec 1987
Research Org:
EG and G Idaho, Inc., Idaho Falls (USA); Westinghouse Electric Corp., Madison, PA (USA); Martin Marietta Corp., Englewood, CO (USA); Rockwell International Corp., Canoga Park, CA (USA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; NERVA REACTOR; MISSION ANALYSIS; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; ROCKET ENGINES; FUEL ELEMENTS; LIFE-CYCLE COST; ORBITS; PARAMETRIC ANALYSIS; PERFORMANCE TESTING; REACTOR SAFETY; RELIABILITY; SPACE PROPULSION REACTORS; SPACE SHUTTLES; SPACE VEHICLES; AIRCRAFT; COST; ENGINES; GAS COOLED REACTORS; HYDROGEN COOLED REACTORS; MOBILE REACTORS; POWER REACTORS; PROPULSION REACTORS; REACTOR COMPONENTS; REACTORS; SAFETY; SPACE POWER REACTORS; TESTING; VEHICLES NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems 220800* -- Nuclear Reactor Technology-- Propulsion Reactors