Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nuclear Rockets Petition

As reported by NBC there is a petition on to rapidly develop and deploy a nuclear thermal rocket for both manned & un-manned space missions. I signed it; why not? Here's the short url:

Nuclear rocketry seems to be a popular topic of late. Gary Johnson has a recent post about nuclear rockets. The NBC article mentions NERVA. There is also the more recent Project Timberwind and Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion program effort to develop nuclear upper-stages.


  1. Thanks to your blog entry, I got me to finish one on the subject:

    The Technical Side of the Nuclear Rockets Option


    1. Hi Igor, Thanks for your comment; I saw your post on the rss feed. Thanks for the hat tip.

  2. I completed a survey on energy efficiency and alternative energy this week. Here's the free-form comment I input at the end:
    The Air Force should make significant investment in fielding nuclear energy technology that would be suitable for supporting expeditionary operations. Technologies such as Molten Salt Reactors like Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR), or High Temperature gas cooled Reactors (HTR) offer the near-term possibility of small, modular, safe reactor concepts that can support air-base needs. Indirect heat exchange cycles, as explored by the Air Force during the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion program, can satisfy prime mover needs in the long-term. Shielding technology, and engineering capability in general, has advanced significantly since that program was abandoned in 1961 because of the shielding mass penalty on aircraft performance. This advance is due in no small part to Air Force investment in shielding improvements for Particle Bed Reactors under the Space Nuclear Thermal Propulsion program in the early 1990s (and the prior Timberwind program).

    Nuclear energy is a safe, secure energy source that is millions of times more powerful than hydrocarbon-based energy sources. The logistics 'tail' needed to support nuclear power sources is minuscule compared to the long logistics train needed to support fossil fuel based operations. Such long logistics trains are vulnerable to attack from our enemies, and political gamesmanship from our allies.

    The time for a 'Nuclear Air Force' is now.