Aug 052008

image6small.jpgSimilar to, but somewhat less enthusiastic than, the large Nexus + gas core nukes launch vehicle described earlier was this Convair concept for an all-chemical Nexus SSTO launch vehicle with a second stage using gas core nuclear thermal rockets. Payload to Earth orbit = 3.2 million pounds. Dates to about 1964.

 Posted by at 6:06 pm
  • Pat Flannery

    I’m still waiting to see what happens if the bearings ever seize up on the drive system that makes the gas core reactor rotate.
    Certainly, the fisson process stops, but then all the superheated U-235 gas in it comes flying right out of the engine bell, laying waste to the area below it via radioactive contamination.

  • Michel Van

    there was a alternative concept to the rotate gas core desgin
    called “Nuclear Lightbulb” aka “CLOSED-CYCLE GASEOUS CORE FISSION”
    the uranium plasma is confined in a fused quartz chamber.
    (no uranium escaping in the exhaust ! )
    the ISP is “only” 3000 sec (96456 ft./sec)
    wat is close to 2221 sec (71500 Ft./sec) described in earlier Nexus Engine.

    so is likely that Convair used Nuclear Lightbulb concept

  • admin

    The Nuclear Light Bulb was a very different design to the Gas Core nukes shown here. These gas core nukes did not contain the gasseuous uranium within glass “bulbs,” but instead used rotating engines and centrifugal force to contain the uranium gas. Seriously problematic.

  • Michel Van

    >sed rotating engines and centrifugal force to contain the uranium gas.

    Bloody hell !
    have they made study about Radioactive contamination ?
    those engine will lost alot uranium (and more dangerous waste) during operation.

    each Super Nexus launch from KSC would be like a Chernobyl disaster
    with heavy fallout over Europe and Russia !!!

    because the NTR Exhaust will hit the upper atmosphere…

  • George Allegrezza

    You know, this isn’t even the bigger Nexus (2 million lb. payload, 48 million lb. thrust). You gotta give those Future Projects Office guys credit, they sure thought big.

    One thing about light-bulb designs, I never realized until recently how heavy they were going to be. 250K lbs., including a massive heat exchanger!

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