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The Application of LENR to Synergistic Mission CapabilitiesThis paper presents an overview of several missions that exploit the capabilities of a Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) aircraft propulsion system. LENR is a form of nuclear energy and potentially has over 4,000 times the energy density of chemical energy sources. It does not have any harmful emissions or radiation which makes it extremely appealing. The global reliance on crude oil for aircraft energy creates the opportunity for a revolutionary change with LENR. LENR will impact aircraft performance capabilities, military capabilities, the environment, the economy, and society. Although there is a lot of interest in LENR, there is no proven theory that explains it. Some of the technical challenges are thermal runaway and start-up time. This paper does not explore the feasibility of LENR and assumes that a system is available. A non-dimensional aircraft mass (NAM) ratio diagram is used to explore the aircraft system design space. The NAM ratio diagram shows that LENR can enable long range and high speed missions. The design space exploration led to the conclusion that LENR aircraft would be well suited for high altitude long endurance (HALE) missions, including communications relay and scientific missions for hurricane tracking and other weather phenomena, military intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and airspace denial missions, supersonic passenger transport aircraft, and international cargo transport. This paper describes six of those missions.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Langley Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wells, Douglas P.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Mavris, Dimitri N.
(Georgia Inst. of Tech. Atlanta, GA, United States)
Date Acquired
January 16, 2015
Publication Date
June 16, 2014
Subject Category
Aircraft Propulsion And Power
Aircraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: (AVIATION 2014) AIAA Aviation and Aeronautics Forum and Exposition
Location: Atlanta, GA
Country: United States
Start Date: June 16, 2014
End Date: June 20, 2014
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 694478.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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