nec208":2e1onn1y said:What is the difference of nuclear-thermal or nuclear-electric rocket.
And what happen to project Orion or project Daedalus they where nuclear and could take of from earth.
Nuclear-thermal Rocket - the reactor heats up the fuel directly, like pumping hydrogen thru the reactor
Tech Level: prototypes build, ready to fly
Applications: 2nd stage rocket, in space propulsion
Safety: I was unable to find how much radiation it releases or how bad an exploded engine in Earth atmosphere would be
Nuclear-electric Rocket - A reactor is used to produce electricity, just like nuclear power station here on Earth and with that electricity u power an engine
Example: engines:Ion engines, VASIMR reactor: Project Prometheus
Tech Level: engines: already used(ion) reactor: tech basically ready, just a small research needed to adapt to space conditions( If I remember correctly some were actually used in space)
Applications: only space propulsion but a very efficient one
Safety: until a nuclear reactor is powered up the radioactive emissions are negligible and since u start the reactor after u reached space makes it the most safe of them all assuming u don't use it on a satellite that will eventually re-enter atmo
Nuclear pulse propulsion - you use nuclear bombs detonated behind to push your ship
Example: Project Orion and Daedalus
Tech Level: Research has been done, some research still needed
Applications: anything , but it does require a huge ship(because if the ship is too small a bomb will destroy it or accelerate it too much)
Safety: probably by far the most unsafe to use it as a launcher since u blow up many nuclear bombs and no matter now clean u make them they will still poison the launch site extremely, however in deep space that is not a problem
Other notable nuclear-propulsion:
Nuclear powered ramjet - Project Pluto - 2 experimental engines build, project scraped in 1964! because the missile fitted with this tech would be considered "too provocative".
IMO u need one of these types of propulsion to be able to sustain a long term manned exploration, else u just redo the Apollo again(make a mission to Mars and the the whole program is scraped because is too expensive).
My proposal for launch to EO:
A carrier aircraft using a combination of chemical rockets and Nuclear powered ramjet
The launcher itself using Nuclear-thermal Rocket.
This type will give us the heavy lift capability and also a much lower cost all using ALREADY KNOWN TECH