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nuclear-powered
Category of engines and launch vehicles

Subtopics

Nerva 2 engine DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Developed 1950-74.

YaRD Type AF Korolev nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1963. Design considered in N1 nuclear upper stage studies. Outgrowth of work done by Bondaryuk and Glushko on YaRD engines for nuclear ICBM's, but using liquid hydrogen as propellant.

YaRD Type V-B Korolev nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1963. Design considered in N1 nuclear upper stage studies. This version had 7,000 kg bioshield for manned missions. Used liquid hydrogen as propellant.

RO-31 Kosberg nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. UR-700 Third Stage. Study 1967. Engine proposed for UR-700 third stage to achieve 250 metric ton payload to low earth orbit. Probably closely related to RD-0411.

Nerva-1 DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Early version of Nerva engine proposed for use in Saturn and RIFT configurations in 1961.

Timberwind 45 DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket stage. Development ended 1992. Used on Timberwind Centaur launch vehicle.

Timberwind 75 DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket stage. Development ended 1992. Used on Timberwind Titan launch vehicle.

Timberwind 250 DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket stage. Development ended 1992. Used on Timberwind launch vehicle.

Nerva Alpha engine DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1972. The final Nerva Alpha flight engine reference configuration as documented at the end of its development.

Nerva Gamma engine DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1972. The final Nerva Gamma flight engine was an improved version of the Alpha, a small engine that could be launched together with its stage and a payload in a single space shuttle launch.

Nerva NTR DoE nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1991. Late 1980's update of 1960's Nerva design.

Nerva 12 GW Notional nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1959. Used on Hyperion launch vehicle.

NERVA 1mlbf Notional nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. DAC Helios, DAC Helios ISI studies 1963.

NERVA/Lox Mixed Cycle Notional nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1963. Used on RITA C launch vehicle.

NPS-2 Rocketdyne nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Nuclear Deep Space. Nuclear. Liquid hydrogen turbopumps, feed systems, and nozzles developed for KIWI-A, KIWI-B, Nerva, Phoebus IA, MFS-1, MFS-2, MFS-3, and Rover nuclear development systems.

Nuclear 12 Gw Notional nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Helios A, Helios C study 1960. Nuclear second stage.

Nuclear 14 Gw Notional nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1960. Nuclear second stage Used on Helios B launch vehicle.

RD-0410 Kosberg nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Experimental nuclear engine, propellant LH2. Developed 1965-94. Tested at Semipalatinsk test range in 1980s and was "the only operational nuclear engine in the USSR". First flight 1985.

RD-0411 Kosberg nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Full-size nuclear thermal engine. Design concept 1965-94. Planned full-size nuclear thermal engine for Mars expeditions. Never progressed beyond study stage.

RD-410 Glushko nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. UR-700M concept. Developed 1960s.

RD-600 Glushko nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Gas core nuclear engine worked developed 1962-1970 for use in second stage of two-stage interplanetary rockets.

RN-6 Rocketdyne nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Nuclear Deep Space. Nuclear.

YaERD-2200 Korolev nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Developed 1962-69.

YaRD Type A Korolev nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1963. Design considered in N1 nuclear upper stage studies. Outgrowth of work done by Bondaryuk and Glushko on YaRD engines for nuclear ICBM's, but using liquid hydrogen as propellant.

YaRD Type V Korolev nuclear/LH2 rocket engine. Study 1963. Design considered in N1 nuclear upper stage studies. Outgrowth of work done by Bondaryuk and Glushko on YaRD engines for nuclear ICBM's, but using liquid hydrogen as propellant.

Orion OLV American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Nuclear-pulse drive launch vehicle seriously developed by General Atomics in the United States from 1955-1965. The design allowed vast payloads of hundreds of tons to be hurled to the planets. By 1958 the Orion team saw themselves in direct competition with Von Braun's chemical rockets. They hoped to a land a huge manned expedition on Mars by 1964 and tour the moons of Saturn by 1970. However politically NASA would not argue for the exception to the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty necessary to allow firing of nuclear explosions in space.

YaKhR-2 Russian nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. First large space launcher considered in the Soviet Union. It would have had the same layout as the R-7, but with six strap-ons increased in size by 50%. The core, igniting at altitude, used a nuclear thermal engine using ammonia as propellant. Dropped in favor of development of conventional chemical propulsion.

OKB-456 Russian intercontinental range ballistic missile. Variant using a Glushko nuclear engine heating ammonia as a propellant.

OKB-670 Russian intercontinental range ballistic missile. Variant using a Bondaryuk nuclear engine heating mixed alcohol and ammonia as a propellant.

Hyperion 1958 American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Hyperion was considered in 1958 as a ca. 1970 Saturn follow-on. It used a small jettisonable chemical booster stage that contained chemical engines and the LOX oxidizer for the conventional engines.

Superraket Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. The ancestor of the N1 lunar launch vehicle, this was the first heavy lift launch vehicle actively considered in the USSR. The 2,000 metric ton liftoff mass was similar to the later N1 design, but the first stage would use a staggering cluster of around 66 Kuznetsov NK-9 engines (as opposed to the modest 24 NK-15's of the first N1 configuration). The real difference was in the second stage, which used the nuclear YaRD engine, giving the launch vehicle nearly double the later N1's payload capacity.

Helios A American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle.

Helios B American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle.

Helios C American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle.

Nova C American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova vehicle using Nova A as first two stages, nuclear spacecraft with jettisonable tanks as upper stage.

Nova D American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. General Dynamics Nova vehicle using Nova B as first two stages, nuclear spacecraft with jettisonable tanks as upper stage.

Saturn I RIFT American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. In the first half of the 1960's it was planned to make suborbital tests of nuclear propulsion for upper stages using a Saturn IB first stage to boost a Rover-reactor powered second stage on a suborbital trajectory. The second stage would impact the Atlantic Ocean down range from Cape Canaveral.

Saturn C-3BN American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. Version of Saturn C-3 considered with small nuclear thermal stage in place of S-IVB oxygen/hydrogen stage.

Saturn C-5N American nuclear orbital launch vehicle. Version of Saturn C-5 considered with small nuclear thermal stage in place of S-IVB oxygen/hydrogen stage.

Aldebaran American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Immense nuclear pulse launch vehicle proposed by Dandridge Cole.

DAC Helios American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Douglas/Bono 1963 concept for a chemical-boosted / nuclear upper stage launch vehicle, designed as alternatives to the Convair/Ehricke Helios. The baseline version used a nuclear, recoverable upper stage boosted above the atmosphere by a minimum chemical stage.

DAC Helios ISI American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. As the basic design, but featuring an Improved Specific Impulse chemical stage that used many engines feeding into single large nozzle.

N1 Nuclear A Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. A version of the N1 with a nuclear upper stage was studied by Korolev in 1963. It was concluded that the optimum design would allow a single N1 to launch a direct manned lunar landing and return. However for manned Mars missions, a nuclear electric engine was found to be much more efficient. This essentially killed further consideration of thermal nuclear upper stages within the bureau.

N1 Nuclear V-B Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. N1 with nuclear upper stage. This variant of the Type V nuclear engine used a very heavy radiation shield to protect the crew of any manned spacecraft payload.

N1 Nuclear AF Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. A variant of the first alternative considered in the 1963 nuclear N1 study. This was a 'high thrust' version of the Type A engine - apparently with higher propellant rate, lower specific impulse, and lower engine weight. Due to the very low density of the enormous liquid hydrogen upper stages, these immense vehicles would have been very ungainly (and had interesting stress problems during ascent!)

N1 Nuclear V Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. Second primary alternative considered for the 1963 nuclear N1 study. The immense liquid hydrogen tank of the second nuclear stage would have dwarfed the N1 first stage mounted below it in the shadows. The extremely poor thrust to weight ratio of the Type V engine design compared to that of the Type A remains unexplained.

RITA C American nuclear-powered single-stage-to-orbit booster. Same engine chamber used to burn liquid oxygen and hydrogen for boost phase, switching to pure nuclear thermal engine for high-performance final acceleration.

Nerva 2 American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Version of 1960's nuclear fission engine proposed in 1990's.

Timberwind American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. DARPA project. Nuclear fission engine using pebble bed reactor with spherical fuel elements.

Timberwind Titan American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle.

Timberwind Centaur American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle.

Spacecraft: Helios. More at: 7693.

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