Available Technology

Atomic-based combined cycle propulsion system and method

A method and system are provided for propelling an aerodynamic vehicle into space. The aerodynamic vehicle uses a nuclear-based thermal rocket (NTR) propulsion system capable of producing a hydrogen exhaust. A flow of air is introduced into the hydrogen exhaust to augment the thrust force at speeds of the vehicle up to approximately Mach 6. When the speed of the vehicle is approximately Mach 6 and the altitude of the vehicle is approximately 40 kilometers, the flow of air is stopped and the vehicle is propelled into space using only the NTR.
Inventors: 

George R. Schmidt

Patent Number: 
US6367243
Patent Issue Date: 
May 9, 2002
Agency
NASA
Region
Southeast
State: 
Alabama
Phone: 
256-544-9151
Email: 
terry.taylor@nasa.gov
Lab Representatives
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