Author Topic: Nuclear spaceship  (Read 18124 times)

Offline gurkolet

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Nuclear spaceship
« on: 12/24/2011 02:27 PM »


This is a concept of nuclear spaceship.
Ship takes off on two aircraft engines, refueling in the air, gaining 25,000 feet, starts a nuclear installation, undocking the wings...
lands as a shuttle
problem with nuclear security solving wery simple - in emergency we undocking nuclear engine.

Offline krytek

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #1 on: 12/24/2011 02:36 PM »
Hello, welcome to the forum.

What kind of nuclear propulsion is it supposed to use?

If you can provide a link with more information that would be great,
it's fine even if it's in Russian.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2011 02:42 PM by krytek »

Offline gurkolet

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #2 on: 12/24/2011 03:43 PM »
Thank you=)
In youtube video you can find a subtitles on english.
More information will be later.

Thanks for watching=)

Offline jee_c2

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #3 on: 12/25/2011 03:53 PM »
What my first thought was: what will happen to the separated wings?
Second thought: similarity to Skylon - expect for the big difference of using nuclear, and also refueling in air.
Would be nice to know more about the concept.
(good choice for music :) )

Offline Archer

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #4 on: 12/26/2011 09:13 AM »
What's the point of using nuke? Will it increase T/W significantly?
I remember that US Airforce had been working on nuclear-powered bomber in 50-th, but abandoned that project.

Don't get me wrong, I am not against nuclear.
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering. (c) R. A. Heinlein

Offline clongton

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #5 on: 12/26/2011 03:08 PM »
Ultimately, all our in-space spacecraft will be nuclear powered imo. But before that happens I do believe that we will see a large number of attempts to sway the architecture to be all SEP. In the end however, I believe that SEP will continue to have its place but will fail as the standard-bearer of in-space propulsion simply because of the gargantuan size of the arrays necessary to produce enough power to move anything really heavy and the time it takes to transport things. Will SEP work? Sure, but it will be awkward. SEP's will likely remain the propulsion choice for things small and of non-time critical importance, but NTR/NEP will become the majority of in-space propulsion.

Properly constructed they are no more dangerous than any other powerful source. Proper attention to detail and professional conduct of duties will mitigate the dangers and NTR/NEP will become commonplace, especially where personnel transport and/or time-critical cargo are concerned. As far as radiation from the engine is concerned, it is not a problem as the exhaust is clean and not radioactive at all.

We should be looking to nuclear for the vast majority of our in-space transportation needs, not more and more wasteful chemical propulsion, nor larger and larger solar arrays. As for nuclear fuel, we can mine it from the moon's surface. There is enough thorium on the lunar near side to provide nuclear fuel for both spacecraft *and* lunar surface operations for literally thousands of years. See the thorium map below provided by NASA's Prospector spacecraft. As for the working fluid, once we have mining on the moon we will get all the hydrogen we need as well. Establish proper mining on the moon and we will never again have to lift propellant from the earth's surface for any of our spacecraft missions.

I know there are many out there in NSF land who will disagree with me because they believe that the answers all lie with SEP. To those hardy souls all I will say is that they are entitled to their opinions, but I have looked very carefully at the whole question and while I do see a place for SEP, it remains my informed opinion that ultimately NTR/NEP will be the in-space propulsion system of choice.
« Last Edit: 12/26/2011 03:26 PM by clongton »
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Offline gurkolet

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #6 on: 12/26/2011 03:44 PM »
More ifnformation will be after new year.
What can i say now, there is another sub concept, to use hypersonic engin instead nuclear. But there are many problems with it.
And concept of launch complex for this type of spaceship.

About winds they will be parachuting and mb will be using again.
jee_c2 thanks a lot =)

Offline Solman

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #7 on: 12/26/2011 10:54 PM »
Ultimately, all our in-space spacecraft will be nuclear powered imo. But before that happens I do believe that we will see a large number of attempts to sway the architecture to be all SEP. In the end however, I believe that SEP will continue to have its place but will fail as the standard-bearer of in-space propulsion simply because of the gargantuan size of the arrays necessary to produce enough power to move anything really heavy and the time it takes to transport things. Will SEP work? Sure, but it will be awkward. SEP's will likely remain the propulsion choice for things small and of non-time critical importance, but NTR/NEP will become the majority of in-space propulsion.

Properly constructed they are no more dangerous than any other powerful source. Proper attention to detail and professional conduct of duties will mitigate the dangers and NTR/NEP will become commonplace, especially where personnel transport and/or time-critical cargo are concerned. As far as radiation from the engine is concerned, it is not a problem as the exhaust is clean and not radioactive at all.

We should be looking to nuclear for the vast majority of our in-space transportation needs, not more and more wasteful chemical propulsion, nor larger and larger solar arrays. As for nuclear fuel, we can mine it from the moon's surface. There is enough thorium on the lunar near side to provide nuclear fuel for both spacecraft *and* lunar surface operations for literally thousands of years. See the thorium map below provided by NASA's Prospector spacecraft. As for the working fluid, once we have mining on the moon we will get all the hydrogen we need as well. Establish proper mining on the moon and we will never again have to lift propellant from the earth's surface for any of our spacecraft missions.

I know there are many out there in NSF land who will disagree with me because they believe that the answers all lie with SEP. To those hardy souls all I will say is that they are entitled to their opinions, but I have looked very carefully at the whole question and while I do see a place for SEP, it remains my informed opinion that ultimately NTR/NEP will be the in-space propulsion system of choice.

 Did you deliberately leave out STR - solar thermal rocket propulsion?
I noticed you did mention NTR.
The size of the solar arrays doesn't matter - the specific power of the array does. Nuclear electric does not have specific power going for it vs. solar. The reactor and radiator etc. the cancelled JIMO mission was to use produced 100KW at a mass of 25,000 or so pounds or 250lb./KW. I've seen proposed thin film PV for in space use that produces kilowatts of electricity per pound although arrays used today are more in the range of 2 0r 3 lbs. per KW. That's more than a hundred times better than NEP at perhaps 1/1000th the cost.
 Not many things in engineering are so dramatically outclassed as nuclear electric (as proposed for JIMO anyway) is by solar electric.
 While solar thermal cannot produce the acceleration rates of NTR; for a mission from LEO to BEO, this can be compensated for to a large extent by using a series of thrusts at perigee and in many Mars trips STR even with first generation solar concentrators can come close to NTR. Given investment solar concentrators, it seems likely that they can be dramatically increased in specific power since current ones are more than a hundred times more massive per unit power than physics demands. STR's in sun approaching orbits can easily outperform NTR for trips to the outer planets.
 BTW - has any thorium powered reactor been demonstrated at all and if so how far are such systems from space use and at what funding level and time frame?

Steve

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #8 on: 12/26/2011 11:06 PM »
You don't think the cost of HEU is prohibitive?
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Online aero

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #9 on: 12/26/2011 11:36 PM »
Quote
Did you deliberately leave out STR - solar thermal rocket propulsion?
What? Solar anything from 25,000 feet to LEO? I don't think so.
Quote
Ship takes off on two aircraft engines, refueling in the air, gaining 25,000 feet, starts a nuclear installation, undocking the wings...
Retired, working interesting problems

Offline Solman

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #10 on: 12/26/2011 11:52 PM »
Quote
Did you deliberately leave out STR - solar thermal rocket propulsion?
What? Solar anything from 25,000 feet to LEO? I don't think so.
Quote
Ship takes off on two aircraft engines, refueling in the air, gaining 25,000 feet, starts a nuclear installation, undocking the wings...

 NEP was mentioned so I was assuming in space propulsion - sadly solar thermal is doing real well to get better than a few hundreths of a gee with a good payload mass fraction, so no third stage action.
 If a large concentrator mirror - or diamond thin film lens with nano holes in it perhaps? - is used to focus the light in the first place solar thermal is sort of a freebie, and when you throw in the higher efficiency of PV for concentrated sunlight and the waste heat from cooling them you get good overall efficiency so the amount of sunlight that must be intercepted is minimized.
 The thin film PV ideas that have efficiencies under ten percent but still make 4KW per lb. are so huge they bother even me - especially out in the main asteroid belt.

Steve   

Offline strangequark

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #11 on: 12/27/2011 10:33 AM »
BTW - has any thorium powered reactor been demonstrated at all and if so how far are such systems from space use and at what funding level and time frame?

Steve

Yes, several in fact.
$2 billion and 5 years would get you an NTR.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2011 10:35 AM by strangequark »

Offline clongton

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #12 on: 12/27/2011 11:45 AM »
Ultimately, all our in-space spacecraft will be nuclear powered imo. But before that happens I do believe that we will see a large number of attempts to sway the architecture to be all SEP. In the end however, I believe that SEP will continue to have its place but will fail as the standard-bearer of in-space propulsion simply because of the gargantuan size of the arrays necessary to produce enough power to move anything really heavy and the time it takes to transport things. Will SEP work? Sure, but it will be awkward. SEP's will likely remain the propulsion choice for things small and of non-time critical importance, but NTR/NEP will become the majority of in-space propulsion.

Properly constructed they are no more dangerous than any other powerful source. Proper attention to detail and professional conduct of duties will mitigate the dangers and NTR/NEP will become commonplace, especially where personnel transport and/or time-critical cargo are concerned. As far as radiation from the engine is concerned, it is not a problem as the exhaust is clean and not radioactive at all.

We should be looking to nuclear for the vast majority of our in-space transportation needs, not more and more wasteful chemical propulsion, nor larger and larger solar arrays. As for nuclear fuel, we can mine it from the moon's surface. There is enough thorium on the lunar near side to provide nuclear fuel for both spacecraft *and* lunar surface operations for literally thousands of years. See the thorium map below provided by NASA's Prospector spacecraft. As for the working fluid, once we have mining on the moon we will get all the hydrogen we need as well. Establish proper mining on the moon and we will never again have to lift propellant from the earth's surface for any of our spacecraft missions.

I know there are many out there in NSF land who will disagree with me because they believe that the answers all lie with SEP. To those hardy souls all I will say is that they are entitled to their opinions, but I have looked very carefully at the whole question and while I do see a place for SEP, it remains my informed opinion that ultimately NTR/NEP will be the in-space propulsion system of choice.

1. Did you deliberately leave out STR - solar thermal rocket propulsion?
I noticed you did mention NTR.

Yes, I did. While STR is promising, I don't believe we can afford to develop and deploy more that one MAJOR power system at a time. Nuclear has the advantage of being applicable to both vehicle propulsion and surface power. STR will only work where the sun shines. That eliminates night side operations on the lunar, or any other, surface.

Quote
The size of the solar arrays doesn't matter

Yes it does. At some point the array becomes unwieldy and structurally untenable specifically because of its size.

Quote
Nuclear electric does not have specific power going for it vs. solar.

To the contrary, nuclear electric is ultimately capable of leaving STR far behind in what its ultimate potential is.

Quote
I've seen proposed thin film PV for in space use that produces kilowatts of electricity per pound although arrays used today are more in the range of 2 or 3 lbs. per KW. That's more than a hundred times better than NEP at perhaps 1/1000th the cost.

I love good science fiction, but science fantasy doesn't do much for me.

Quote
Not many things in engineering are so dramatically outclassed as nuclear electric (as proposed for JIMO anyway) is by solar electric.

That sounds like religious fanaticism.

Quote
While solar thermal cannot produce the acceleration rates of NTR

EXACTLY!!!

Quote
for a mission from LEO to BEO

BEO as in Luna, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, the Keiper belt, where?

Quote
STR's in sun approaching orbits can easily outperform NTR for trips to the outer planets

Why bother do a sun-approach to reach the outer planets, getting so close that the solar wind physically endangers the array? Why not just go straight out on NTR - faster?

Quote
BTW - has any thorium powered reactor been demonstrated at all

Yes, many, many times and several are actually in operation generating power today at universities. For details I suggest you google Kirk Sorensen and also check out www.energyfromthorium.com
« Last Edit: 12/27/2011 12:14 PM by clongton »
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #13 on: 12/27/2011 12:26 PM »
$2 billion and 5 years would get you an NTR.

Interesting. If that's the case would there be any reason to prefer LOX/LH2 over ammonia or hydrazine NTR, except on the LEO to L1/L2 segment, for political reasons?
« Last Edit: 12/27/2011 12:32 PM by mmeijeri »
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Offline strangequark

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #14 on: 12/27/2011 12:45 PM »
$2 billion and 5 years would get you an NTR.

Interesting. If that's the case would there be any reason to prefer LOX/LH2 over ammonia or hydrazine NTR, excluding on the LEO to L1/L2 segment, for political reasons?

Political reasons are the name of the game when it comes to nuclear propulsion. From a technical standpoint, not really.

Hydrazine doesn't make much sense for an NTR. Isp would be about the same as Hydrolox, and either you'd have to pre-decompose it, or handle decomposition in your reactor core. Neither is desirable.

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #15 on: 12/27/2011 12:48 PM »
Hydrazine doesn't make much sense for an NTR. Isp would be about the same as Hydrolox, and either you'd have to pre-decompose it, or handle decomposition in your reactor core. Neither is desirable.

I thought ammonia and hydrazine could get you an Isp of about 600s, which would be a considerable improvement over LOX/LH2. My reason for considering hydrazine would be its considerably higher density than ammonia. I also thought that the decomposition could lead to better T/W since you would need less power for your reactor.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2011 01:18 PM by mmeijeri »
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Offline strangequark

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #16 on: 12/27/2011 01:37 PM »
Hydrazine doesn't make much sense for an NTR. Isp would be about the same as Hydrolox, and either you'd have to pre-decompose it, or handle decomposition in your reactor core. Neither is desirable.

I thought amonia and hydrazine could get you an Isp of about 600s, which would be a considerable improvement over LOX/LH2. My reason for considering hydrazine would be its considerably higher density than ammonia. I also thought that the decomposition could lead to better T/W since you would need less power for your reactor.

I'm conservative, so I don't like pushing temps above 2800K (which is from a long duration NTR-like test). Hydrazine has a considerably poorer hydrogen fraction than ammonia, and nitrogen is very bad for Isp (high MW, high gamma).

It could almost certainly be overcome, but I don't like the idea of doing hydrazine decomp in the reactor. The beauty of hydrogen is that you keep it supercritical, avoid phase changes, and have a nice smooth process from end to end. Ammonia is a little harder, in that it does go through dissociation, but it's an endothermic and a simple reaction that you should be able to predict and control well. Hydrazine decomp is a highly energetic chemical reaction that might well give you some unpleasant instabilities. Remember that hydrogen is a moderator, so it's going to affect your reactor's nuclear reactions. Imagine a system with a chaotic, exothermic process coupled with a chaotic, highly energetic nuclear reaction. Include a phase change and dramatic heat transfer variations in that. You are building up to a potentially very touchy system, that will be poorly understood at first. You've just tripled my $2 billion figure, thank you very much ;).

Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #17 on: 12/27/2011 01:43 PM »
OK, if it doesn't simplify things it's probably not worth it. Here another wild concept I'd like to run by you:

What if instead of going all the way to NTR we only use a nuclear reactor to drive a turbopump and to preheat the propellant in an otherwise conventional chemical rocket? Would that be a practical stepping stone towards a more advanced LANTR system, leaving out the reverse ramjet complications? More like a nuclear assisted chemical rocket than the other way round.
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Offline clongton

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #18 on: 12/27/2011 02:37 PM »
Actually having the ability to go LANTR is a plus for LH2/LOX propellants overall because it settles the entire propulsion industry on a single propellant. Settling on a single propellant industry-wide will drive overall costs down.
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Offline mmeijeri

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Re: Nuclear spaceship
« Reply #19 on: 12/27/2011 02:41 PM »
There are so many factors that it is hard to assess how much we would gain from having a single propellant infrastructure. Take terrestrial logistics for example, which uses different fuels for different purposes, even though the value of commonality is recognised.

As for LANTR, I actually like it, although it remains to be seen how practical and economical it will be, and as always I'm looking for lower-tech stepping stones towards higher-tech systems.
« Last Edit: 12/27/2011 02:56 PM by mmeijeri »
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