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Droplet Core Nuclear Rocket (DCNR)The most basic design feature of the droplet core nuclear reactor is to spray liquid uranium into the core in the form of droplets on the order of five to ten microns in size, to bring the reactor to critical conditions. The liquid uranium fuel ejector is driven by hydrogen, and more hydrogen is injected from the side of the reactor to about one and a half meters from the top. High temperature hydrogen is expanded through a nozzle to produce thrust. The hydrogen pressure in the system can be somewhere between 50 and 500 atmospheres; the higher pressure is more desirable. In the lower core region, hydrogen is tangentially injected to serve two purposes: (1) to provide a swirling flow to protect the wall from impingement of hot uranium droplets: (2) to generate a vortex flow that can be used for fuel separation. The reactor is designed to maximize the energy generation in the upper region of the core. The system can result in and Isp of 2000 per second, and a thrust-to-weight ratio of 1.6 for the shielded reactor. The nuclear engine system can reduce the Mars mission duration to less than 200 days. It can reduce the hydrogen consumption by a factor of 2 to 3, which reduces the hydrogen load by about 130 to 150 metric tons.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Anghaie, Samim
(Florida Univ. Gainesville, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Lewis Research Center, Nuclear Thermal Propulsion: A Joint NASA(DOE)DOD Workshop
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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