skip to main content

Title: Ultrahigh Specific Impulse Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

Research on nuclear thermal propulsion systems (NTP) have been in forefront of the space nuclear power and propulsion due to their design simplicity and their promise for providing very high thrust at reasonably high specific impulse. During NERVA-ROVER program in late 1950's till early 1970's, the United States developed and ground tested about 18 NTP systems without ever deploying them into space. The NERVA-ROVER program included development and testing of NTP systems with very high thrust (~250,000 lbf) and relatively high specific impulse (~850 s). High thrust to weight ratio in NTP systems is an indicator of high acceleration that could be achieved with these systems. The specific impulse in the lowest mass propellant, hydrogen, is a function of square root of absolute temperature in the NTP thrust chamber. Therefor optimizing design performance of NTP systems would require achieving the highest possible hydrogen temperature at reasonably high thrust to weight ratio. High hydrogen exit temperature produces high specific impulse that is a diret measure of propellant usage efficiency.
Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
950459
Report Number(s):
DOE/ID/14699
TRN: US200911%%28
DOE Contract Number:
FG07-05ID14699
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
University of Florida
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; 33 ADVANCED PROPULSION SYSTEMS; ACCELERATION; DESIGN; EFFICIENCY; HYDROGEN; NUCLEAR POWER; PERFORMANCE; PROPULSION; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; TESTING; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems