Feb 272010

Given that a NERVA-style nuclear engine can run for *hours* without breaking down, attaching one to a stage with such minimal hydrogen tank seems a bit of a waste of capabilities. A Lockheed concept shown in 1964.


 Posted by at 10:08 am
  • Pat Flannery

    I like the “Super Insulation” – made from Unobtainium, no doubt. 😉
    Considering it has a micrometeorite shield on its exterior, this unit is expected to spend a long time in space in a fueled condition before being fired. It’s probably some sort of of orbital entry or exit stage for a Mars or Venus mission.

  • Pat Flannery

    I think I may have just found your bird; a Nerva Mars expedition ship using multiple fairly squat stages: http://jpcolliat.free.fr/lune/images/nerva_08.jpg
    That’s from here:
    The design looks like it’s supposed to use the engines and ditch them and the attached stage after one burn to avoid radiation problems.

  • Michael Antoniewicz II

    Well, it was Unobtainium then but Aspen Aerogels pretty much fits the bill today.

  • “Super Insulation” is a product developed in the Sixties, for rocketry, I think, which is useful in all kinds of cryogenic systems. Tevatron magnets use it. It consists of layers of aluminized mylar, serving as a radiation barrier*, and it lives in the vacuum spaces between, say, the nitrogen layer and the liquid helium layer of our cryostats.

    See for example http://www.technifab.com/resources/cryogenic_information_library/insulation/index.html.

    *Thermal radiation in this case, not ionizing radiation.

  • Kodos

    This looks like the S-N stage planned for the Saturn V.