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Friday, July 23, 2021

CONTINUITY: NASA 1965 “Advanced Post-Saturn Earth Launch Vehicle Study”

This thirty-four page “Executive Summary Report”, NASA TM X-53200 [PDF, scanned full text], dated February 3, 1965, is wild. From the abstract:

The results indicate that gas core reactor and nuclear pulse engines are both attractive for the advanced Post-Saturn vehicle, and both should be investigated further. If emphasis is on Earth orbit and lunar delivery missions, the gas core reactor shows a slight advantage. The nuclear pulse concept is clearly preferable if emphasis is on lunar and planetary deliveries.

“Nuclear pulse”, of course, refers to Project Orion-type propulsion where a ship is propelled by setting off thermonuclear bombs behind a pusher plate to accelerate it.

Posted at July 23, 2021 14:54