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Why doesn't Nasa go Nuclear for the Next Space Shuttle?

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posted on Jun, 8 2006 @ 08:35 AM
and maybe its already been discussed, but what sort of speed would you get out of something like this??

I suppose its relative to size?

[edit on 8-6-2006 by Denied]

posted on Jun, 8 2006 @ 09:41 AM
Supposedly, a nuclear powered space craft could travel at fractions of light speed. While it entirely depends on the size of the Nuke and what the nuke is attached to in order to make thrust. I would say a conservative estimate would be 10 times the speed of the space shuttle or above 200,000 mph, but just remember in space it takes just as much energy to stop as it does to accelerate so stopping would take anything once its going that type of speed would take a while

posted on Jun, 8 2006 @ 04:56 PM
I like this design and I hope the future wil bring it soon :p

Cev with warp drive

posted on Jun, 10 2006 @ 02:11 PM
Thanks for the avatar sized pic of the "new" apollo. Do you have any credible info on a warp drive. Personally, I feel that warp drives on actual space shuttles are still over a hundred years away, the implications of which would change mankind forever.

Whereas we have already had the technology to put a nuke into space for over 50 years and we have yet to attempt it with a space shuttle.

As long as the average american stays indifferent to the slow, inefficient, and dangerous rocket we will as a country stay indifferent to the idea of space and what it might hold for us.

There is no question that our government is holding technology back from the american public that could help build a Nuclear Powered Space Shuttle or possibly a shuttle with an even more complicated and efficient means of propulsion than that.

The US has dropped the ball as far as NASA is concerned and as far as populating the moon and Mars. Even though I am a proud American I know that the first real civilizations on the Moon and Mars will be Chinese and not American.

Go China!

posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 05:50 PM

Originally posted by Aelita
There was a notion in this thread that if something goes wrong with the nuclear-powered spacecraft, an area of 1or two square miles will be hit. This, of course, is far from truth. If you lift Chernobyl 20 miles up in the air and blow it to pieces, I guarantee you that very large stretches of land will be uninhabitable for a very, very long time due to radioactive contamination.

Not really true as studies around Chernobyl has been proving for some time now.

The Dangers from Nuclear Weapons: Myths and Facts

The UNSCEAR 2000 Report

The Truth About Chernobyl Is Told


You can take out a complete state with it. While not an expert, I know more about nuclear reactors than laypeople, and I don't feel comfortable with a flying reactor core, even though I think that ground based power plants can be in fact very safe.

Mostly worry mongering by people who would do most everything to hold back human progress.

In addition, such an apapratus will be a prime target for (you guessed it) terrorists of all sorts.


Moreover, in case of hostilities, it can be a target for the enemy. If a missile tipped with low-yield nuke is exploded in the vicinity of the airborne reactor, it will likely detonate, producing an extremely massive and very "dirty" explosion.

Even high altitude air bursts leaves almost no fallout so one wonders how explosions outside the atmosphere is going to 'kill us all'.

If this takes place at high altitude, there will an EMP event of huge proprtions. No good.

Why think there will be some kind of explosion anyways? Do you understand that there are very many ways to prevent reactors from doing that , ever?

As for the ion drive, it still needs electricity to run. So it's catch 22.

Yup! It's too damn hard so lets just give up and go back to steam power.


[edit on 11-6-2006 by StellarX]

posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 05:52 PM

Originally posted by XphilesPhan
I think in a few more years physics might be to the point, where if there was a real need or push for FTL (faster than light) flight it might be possible....(Im talking serious research probably fueled by the government, where expenses where less of a concern for a prototype.)

It's already possible as there is no logical scientific reason to suggest that FTL is not possible. Gravity effects kinda proves as much and always have.


[edit on 11-6-2006 by StellarX]

posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 05:59 PM

Originally posted by Springer
I am no expert but I do read the AIAA's monthly, Members ONLY periodical, "Aerospace America". According to what I have to believe are the best minds in the field, we simply haven't got the technology down well enough to safely use a nuke engine in space.

Those backwards Russians might not be all that stupid after all; or are we just being lied to some more? Nuclear powered sat's since 1970.........

Read it and weep.

That's not to say we are terribly far off from having it down right but in answer to your question, we simply don't have the capability yet.


Only 30 years behind; no need to worry!


posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 10:24 PM
The conventional chemical rocket is dated.... they definitely need to explore other options, however, a ship powered by a nuclear reaction may not be the safest route.

If something happened during re-entry into the earths atmosphere and the spaceship burned up, you would have the dispersion of ?? kilograms/tonnes of nuclear fuel into earths atmosphere. The fuel would be a matrix of a large number of nuclides. This is wrong on so many levels.

For civilian purposes (i.e., energy production), nuclear is great!.

posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 10:28 PM
isn't nuclear power just making steam? i'm sure Nasa has better than a hot kettle to get to Mars.

steam power to the moon!

posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 11:24 PM

Originally posted by baaronhaile
isn't nuclear power just making steam? i'm sure Nasa has better than a hot kettle to get to Mars.

steam power to the moon!

lol... i hope they do.

posted on Jun, 21 2006 @ 11:56 PM
Let's see if we can get this in one post.

There are several problems involved in employing nuclear powered spacecraft.

1. Contamination - If you lose one in flight then you are basically turning loose a huge dirty bomb. Crashing on re-entry or exploding upon liftoff is NOT an option. Millions of people, over a large area, could be exposed to airborne irradiated particles. It is doubtful that one would go critical and explode, but most likely it would just disintegrate at a very inopportune time. The health liability and risk is just too great.

2. Design - Nuclear power works two ways. Fission and fusion. The energy potential is there but converting it to propulsion is very difficult. Nuclear submarines and surface ships work because they are able to convert the energy into heat which in turn converts water into steam and the steam (under enormous pressure) is used to turn turbines which generate electricity, which is then used to power electric engines, which then turn a shaft with a propeller on the end in the water.

A large amount of horsepower can be generated but it is difficult to control. You might harness the power to large turbo fans, but then they would be useless once in space.

You cannot use nuclear energy in Earth's atmosphere without shielding the planet from it's nasty side effects. You cannot use a nuclear blast to launch from Earth then.

Einstein stated that using successive nuclear explosions you could still not carry enough material to reach the speed of light. The more fuel you need , the bigger the ship, thus the more fuel, thus the bigger the ship, and on and on.

Interstellar speeds may be achieved by nuclear engines built and launched from space, but the shielding from micro-meteoroids, and the effects of acceleration and braking are way beyond our abilities at the present. We might launch probes, but human flight to the stars is not an option in the near future.

I'm not trying to burst your bubble, or be a naysayer, but I could go on and on about the impractical aspects of nuclear powered ships.

I'm sorry about it folks, but we are not going anywhere for a long time.

If ever.

posted on Jun, 27 2006 @ 05:34 PM
1. Containment - We could construct the nuclear reactor or "arm" it once it leaves earth's atmosphere.
2. Design - Why can't we use protons as fuel and have a hybrid design for a future shuttle. A nuclear reactor would speed up and propel photons from solar sails for thrust.

What's wrong with that setup?

Rec - "I'm not trying to burst your bubble, or be a naysayer, but I could go on and on about the impractical aspects of nuclear powered ships."

I could go on about the impractical aspects of a nuclear submarine, a nuclear probe, or even an automobile, but let's stay on topic with the shuttle.

[edit on 27-6-2006 by Low Orbit]

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