March 24, 2016 Zimmerman/Batchelor podcast

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Today’s podcast of my appearance on the John Batchelor Show is embedded below the fold. Russia, North and South Korea, China, and of course American commercial were on the agenda.


  • Wayne

    Great segment!
    For the NERVA program, in brief, they use a mini cylindrical reactor core & then run hydrogen through it to produce thrust.
    As near as I understand it all– they utilize the same methodology as “normal” rocket engines, to power supply turbines, cool the engine chamber, & what-not, so once the reactor heats up enough, it becomes a self-sustaining cycle.
    They use control-rods around the reactor core to control the reactor heat output. (no “giant matches or spark generators” required!)
    Downside is the engine & component’s become highly radioactive & can’t be easily serviced outside of a glove-box.
    (maybe best used for transporting a lot of mass, quickly, ahead of a manned-mission?)
    It’s really ingenious– just hope we don’t have to pay twice for re-doing the research if we ever get back into it. For my rocket-scientist/engineering bud’s; I finally get the whole specific-impulse-second, ‘thang. Up to twice the level of chemical engines.

    (I only play a rocket-scientist on the internet! “It’s all clear to me now, something wonderful is going to happen…”)

  • Matt

    Hi Wayme, this video fits to your comment:

    Nuclear Propulsion In Space 1968 NERVA Manned Mars mission NASA video

  • Wayne

    Thanks– that’s a great video.
    For a short (60 page) text on all the NERVA engines/projects;
    Google: “Nuclear Propulsion for Space LOC card catalog # 79-171030”

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