Nuclear Pulse Propulsion : A Theoretical Propulsion Method For Propelling Space Fairing Vehicles Into Space And Around Space Essay

1654 WordsDec 1, 20167 Pages
Nuclear pulse propulsion is a theoretical propulsion method for propelling space fairing vehicles into space and around space. It was first proposed in this form in 1946 by Stanislaus Ulam. The idea of using explosives as a source of propulsion was not a new concept. Hermann Ganswindt was the first to publish the concept in his book “Das jengste Gericht”. Due to that fact that this book is exceedingly rare, it can be concluded that this was not an earth-shattering revelation. There are many advantages to nuclear pulse propulsion, such as cost, lift capacity, and speed; but there are many disadvantages as well, such as the proliferation of nuclear arms, the possibility of a radioactive fallout, and others. To understand Nuclear pulse propulsion, it is important to intimately understand nuclear weapons, thermonuclear weapons, and miniaturization. There are several types of nuclear weapons, but they all have the same physics. A nuclear weapon uses one of various methods to bring certain substances, namely plutonium 239 and uranium 235, to critical mass in order to cause fission. Fission only occurs when a material reaches critical mass. When a material reaches critical mass, injecting neutrons causes fission, although fission can also occur without injecting extra neutrons, due to spontaneous fission. The injected neutrons immediately begin scattering and some hit a large atom. When this happens with certain materials, such as those listed previously, the splitting of the atom

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