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astronautix.com Nerva

Comments: US Nuclear stage rockets.
Launch Vehicle: Hyperion.

Hyperion was considered in 1958 as a ca. 1970 Saturn follow-on. It used a small jettisonable chemical booster stage that contained chemical engines and the LOX oxidizer for the conventional engines. This booster stage surrounded the nuclear core vehicle with its large liquid hydrogen tank. The conventional stage would draw fuel from the main hydrogen tank until burnout. Hyperion would have doubled the translunar trajectory performance of the Saturn V and less than one third of the liftoff mass.


Launch Vehicle: Helios A. Booster stage contains Lox tanks only to take nuclear second stage to stratosphere. Nuclear sustainer takes payload to orbit or escape trajectory.

Launch Vehicle: Helios B. Booster stage contains Lox tanks only to take nuclear second stage to stratosphere. Nuclear sustainer takes payload to orbit or escape trajectory.

Launch Vehicle: Helios C. Booster stage contains Lox tanks only to take nuclear second stage to stratosphere. Nuclear sustainer takes payload to orbit or escape trajectory.

Launch Vehicle: DAC Helios. Nuclear, recoverable upper stage boosted above atmosphere by minimum chemical stage. Improved Specific Impulse chemical stage uses many engines feeding into single large nozzle. Douglas/Bono design approach to same concept as Convair/Ehricke Helios.

Launch Vehicle: DAC Helios ISI. Nuclear, recoverable upper stage boosted above atmosphere by minimum chemical stage. Improved Specific Impulse chemical stage uses many engines feeding into single large nozzle. Douglas/Bono design approach to same concept as Convair/Ehricke Helios.

Launch Vehicle: RITA C. Nuclear single-stage-to-orbit booster.

Launch Vehicle: Nerva 2. Version of 1960's nuclear fission engine proposed in 1990's.

Launch Vehicle: Timberwind. DARPA project. Nuclear fission engine using spherical fuel elements.

Launch Vehicle: Timberwind Centaur. DARPA project. Nuclear fission engine using spherical fuel elements.

Launch Vehicle: Timberwind Titan. DARPA project. Nuclear fission engine using spherical fuel elements.

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Last update 3 May 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .