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Nuclear Powered Aircraft Projects

robunos

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Looks to me like it could be P+W's indirect-cycle reactor + engine design for the X-6.
Just guessin', though...


cheers,
Robin.
 

Graham1973

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While not dealing with the aircraft itself, I've read that the US planned to build two rather substantial airfields for flight testing of the X-6, one would have been at what was then the National Reactor Test Station in Idaho (15,000 ft runway, the hangar was built before the project ended).

ineel.jpg

(http://www.idahoptv.org/buildingbig/buildings/ineel.html)

The other was at Edwards AFB and according to the website linked to below would have run between the Muroc dry lake and Rosamond dry lake.

(http://members.tripod.com/airfields_freeman/ID/Airfields_ID_N.htm)

Similar information can also be found at:

(http://www.456fis.org/AN_AIRFIELD_WITHOUT_A_RUNWAY.htm)

Does anyone know if plans/artists impressions exist for either airfield?
 

hesham

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Hi,


http://scienseillustrations.mypage.ru/2330541.html
 

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Jos Heyman

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I do not read Russian, but what makes you conclude these are 'nuclear powered'? The second pic shows propeller driven aircraft and designs which are somehow at odds with the nuclear concept whereas the third pic looks more like rockets to me.
So could you please provide a translation of the text so that we can at least know what we are looking at.
Having said that, and pending the translation, these pics look to me like science fiction - somewhat too far removed from realistic projects.
 

Jemiba

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The link hesham posted says in the header "Nuclear Planes Of The Future" and that there are propeller driven
aircraft, not necessairly means, that the power doesn't come from a nuclear reactor, just remeber the planned
conversion of one of the Saro Princess flying boats into a nuclear powered test aircraft.
Nevertheless, looking at those drawings, I think, they are better suited to the "Theoretical and Speculative"
section, as they seem to show "imaginations of the future", not really projects.
 

codeone

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We've posted some preliminary design drawings on the Code One Magazine Facebook page as "name the plane" contests. These images, and some other content, don't appear on our website (yet at least). The most recent one is a line drawing for the nuclear-powered Lockheed L-225 (hence the post here).

Please excuse this shameless attempt to score fans for our FB page. With that said, these drawings don't appear anywhere else and should be of some interest to the Post WWII designs forum.

Search for "Code One Magazine" on Facebook to find it.

We plan to eventually post more of these to the website as well in a special gallery devoted to recently released drawings that were rescued from the shredder. It should launch before year end.

Enjoy!

--C1
 

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Antonio

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NP-2 and NP-3 look like Lockheed L-225 iterations. In fact I posted NP-2 picture long time ago in the forum from a 50's magazine and it was refered as a Lockheed nuclear powered aircraft.

You can find 1 and 2 in Soviet misidentifications topic here in the forum. They are "nuclear powered Soviet bombers" published in Western magazines in the 50's.
 

Grey Havoc

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It's probably a long shot, but does anyone have any drawings or illustrations of Oak Ridge Laboratory's early 1950s 'tug-tow' NPB/crew glider proposal?

Emphasis mine.
There are no fundamental technical reasons why subsonic nuclear aircraft cannot be made to fly successfully providing the aircraft is large enough. The weight of a completely shielded nuclear aircraft reactor varies about as the square root of the reactor power. Hence, the larger the aircraft the less is the weight fraction of the nuclear power system. Aircraft of 0.45 million kilograms (1 million lb) or greater are required to make the payload fraction greater than 15 percent of the gross weight. With funds drawn largely from the U.S. Air Force, the Oak Ridge Laboratory's major entrance into reactor development during the 1950s came through efforts to design a nuclear airplane. British and German development of jet engines at the end of World War II had given quick, defensive fighters an advantage over slower long-range offensive bombers. To address the imbalance, General Curtis LeMay and Colonel Donald Keirn, both of the Air Force, urged development of nuclear-powered bombers. In 1946, they persuaded General Groves to approve Air Force use of the vacated S-50 plant near the K-25 Plant in Oak Ridge to investigate whether nuclear energy could propel aircraft.

The initial concept called for a nuclear- propelled bomber that could fly at least 12,000 miles at 450 miles per hour without refueling. Such range and speed would enable nuclear weapons to be delivered via airborne bombers anywhere in the world. The aircraft, however, would require a compact reactor small enough to fit inside a bomber and powerful enough to lift the airplane into the air, complete with lightweight shielding to protect the crew from radiation.

Under Air Force contract, the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation then established a task force at the S-50 plant to examine the feasibility of nuclear aircraft and arranged with Wigner to receive scientific support from the Laboratory. Initial studies conducted by the Fairchild Corporation at the S-50 plant showed promise and, in 1948, the AEC asked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to evaluate the feasibility of nuclear-powered flight. MIT sent scientists to Lexington, Massachusetts, for a summer's appraisal, and they reported that such flight could be achieved within 15 years if sufficient resources were applied to the effort. In September 1949, the AEC approved Laboratory participation in an aircraft nuclear propulsion project. Weinberg was made project director and Cecil Ellis coordinator. Raymond Briant, Sylvan Cromer, and Walter Jordan later served as directors of the Laboratory's Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) project.

Soon after the Laboratory acquired its nuclear propulsion project, General Electric took over the work of Fairchild and relocated it from Oak Ridge to its plant in Ohio. Although some Fairchild personnel transferred to Ohio, about 180 remained in Oak Ridge to join the Laboratory's aircraft project in May 1951. Among those who decided to stay in East Tennessee were Francois Kertesz, a multilingual scientist; Edward Bettis, a computer wizard before the age of computers; William Ergen, a reactor physicist; Fred Maienschein, later the director of the Laboratory's Engineering Physics and Mathematics Division; and Don Cowen of the Laboratory's Information and Reports Division.

Much of the Oak Ridge Laboratory's initial aircraft work focused on development of lightweight shielding to protect airplane crews and aircraft rubber, plastic, and petroleum components from radiation. Knowing a nuclear aircraft would never become airborne carrying the thick walls typical of reactor shields, Everitt Blizard and his team worked two shifts daily, testing potential lightweight shielding materials in the lid tank atop the Graphite Reactor. As research progressed, however, the Graphite Reactor proved inadequate to meet the level of research activity. To continue its shielding investigations, the Laboratory added two unique nuclear reactors to its fleet.

First, in December 1950, the Laboratory completed its 2-MW Bulk Shielding Reactor at a cost of only $250,000. To build this reactor, the Laboratory modified its earlier Materials Testing Reactor design to create what became popularly known as the "swimming pool" reactor. This reactor's enriched uranium core was submerged in water for both core cooling and neutron moderation. From an overhead crane, the reactor could be moved about a concrete tank, the size of a swimming pool, to test bulk shielding in various configurations. A 10-kW nuclear assembly (named the Pool Critical Assembly) was subsequently placed in a corner of the pool to permit small-scale experiments without tying up the larger reactor.

The Laboratory standardized this inexpensive, safe, and stable design, which became a prototype for many research reactors built at universities and private laboratories around the world. Upgraded with a forced cooling system in 1963, it supplanted the Graphite Reactor (retired that year) and proved extremely useful for irradiation and study of materials at low temperatures.

A second Laboratory reactor resulting from the nuclear aircraft project was the Tower Shielding Facility, completed in 1953. Cables from steel towers could hoist a 1-MW reactor in a spherical container nearly 200 feet (60 meters) into the air. Because no shielding surrounded the reactor when suspended, it operated under television surveillance from an underground control room.

Containing uranium and aluminum fuel plates moderated and cooled by water, this reactor helped scientists answer questions about radiation from a reactor flying overhead; it also helped researchers better understand the type and amount of shielding that would be needed aboard a nuclear aircraft.

Experiments indicated that a divided shield, consisting of one section around the aircraft's reactor and another around its crew, would comprise a combined weight less than that of a single thick shield blanketing the aircraft's reactor. Researchers, however, could never devise a reactor and shielding light enough to ensure safe flight. They even considered a "tug-tow" arrangement in which the crew and controls would be in a towed glider, separated from, yet tied to, the reactor by a long umbilical cable. The Tower Shielding Facility reactor later was upgraded, and shielding experiments recently took place there in support of breeder reactor development, long after visions of a nuclear aircraft faded from memory.

The Bulk Shielding Reactor and Tower Shielding Facility were designed to test materials that might be used on a nuclear-powered aircraft. For the U.S. Air Force, improved materials represented a means toward an end: a nuclear-powered engine that could drive long-range bombers to takeoff speeds and propel them around the world. To achieve this goal, the Laboratory designed an experimental 100-kW aircraft reactor as a demonstration.

This small reactor, operating at high temperatures, used molten uranium salts as its fuel, which flowed in serpentine tubes through an 18-inch (46-centimeter) reactor core. A heat exchanger dissipated the reactor's heat into the atmosphere. In 1953, the Laboratory constructed a building to house this experimental reactor.

To contain molten salts at high temperatures within a reactor, the Laboratory used a nickel-molybdenum alloy, INOR-8, designed by Oak Ridge researchers and fabricated at the International Nickel Company. Able to resist corrosion at high temperatures while retaining acceptable welding properties, the alloy was commercialized as Hastelloy-N by private industry (an early example of technology transfer) to supply tubing, sheet, and bar stock for industrial applications. The aircraft reactor also compelled Laboratory personnel to learn how to perform welding with remote manipulators and how to remotely disassemble molten-salt pumps. In addition, Laboratory researchers also devised two salt reprocessing schemes to recover uranium and lithium-7 from spent reactor fuel.


http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/anp.htm
 

Grey Havoc

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http://blog.modernmechanix.com/details-on-the-nx2-%e2%80%94-our-atomic-plane/
 

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Cy-27

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Cy-27

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Page 16 on deals with the Nuclear Aircraft: Future I The Past - Soviet M-50/60 etc.
 

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Stargazer2006

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I mentioned the B-58 article because it deals with Convair but of course the real continuation of the article is the one you mention, which deals with the Soviet side of things (Myasishchev M-60, M-50, M-30, Tu-95LAL etc.).
 

Grey Havoc

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From the Early Myasishchev jet bomber projects thread linked to by moin1900 earlier in this thread, here's another nuclear powered bomber, the M-57 which was intended as a stand-off guided missile carrier. Killed off by Khrushchev's obsession with ballistic missiles:

index.php


index.php

(h/t borovik)
 

Triton

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Convair atomic seaplane concept photo circa 1951 found on eBay.

Source:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1951-Artist-Concept-of-First-Atomic-Powered-Plane-Press-Photo-ner10973-/390658328322?pt=Art_Photo_Images&hash=item5af50d0702
 

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hesham

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Hi,


in mid 1950s,Curtiss-Wright developed some atomic-powered aircraft as Convair,
that's mention in Air Pictorial magazine,and of course in this period,Convair adored
by nuclear-powered seaplanes,so may be the CW designs were a seaplanes,did
anyone hear about those projects before ?.
 

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blackkite

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Hi!
 

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Cy-27

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The September/October 2013 edition of Krilya Rodiny (Red Wings) on pages 70-81 had a feature article about Atomic powered aircraft including the Tu-135. I have posted a layout diagram of the Tu-135 (see below). We also have mentioned the Tu-135 in the artwork sections of the forum (see also http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,10847.msg102015.html#msg102015 and http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1670.msg188818.html#msg188818).

The 12 page article covers the Tupolev Tu-135, Tu-119, Tu-95LAL (including reactor diagram and photo), American NX-2, Convair NB-36H, NX-2, Myashischev 3M-A, Samolet (Aircraft) 60, Samolet (Aircraft) 30 and others.
 

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Stargazer2006

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blackkite said:

No source, no name for the project. Was that a real projct or a fantasy? And if real, what does the "MI" stand for? Mitsubishi Industries?
 

lark

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Frank Tinsley drawing ,think it must be taken with a pinch of salt...
 

sublight is back

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Orionblamblam said:
Stargazer said:
what does the "MI" stand for? Mitsubishi Industries?

Mechanix Illustrated, a magazine. Not a "real project."

Speaking of which, Scott why have you not been able to track down pics of the vaunted "nuclear space battleship" model? Was it at Wright-Patterson, or somewhere else?
 

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Factory display model of the Martin M-331-10 supersonic (mach 1.5) Nuclear Patrol Seaplane concept, equipped with the GE AC-110 reactor and hydroskis. The forward exhausts are for a pair of conventional (chemical) auxiliary P&W J-75 turbojets.

Courtesy Sir George Cox Collection
Photography by Chad Slattery
Many thanks to Stan Piet (author of an excellent book on the Martin P6M SeaMaster) for identifying this model.
 

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hesham

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Great find my dear Circle-5,


and very strange hydroskies.
 

hesham

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From my dear Scott,


here is the Convair XC-99 nuclear powered version;


http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=20433


A 1953 General Electric study for a Convair C-99 cargo plane modified with nuclear turbojet propulsion. The pusher-prop engines were removed from the wing and replaced with a 65,000-pound AC-2 nuclear powerplant within the fuselage. This was equipped with two separate jet engines, giving a total sea level static thrust of 35,500 pounds. Two additional conventionally fueled J77 engines were mounted in the wings for takeoff thrust. A lead and polyethylene shielded crew compartment weighing 20,000 pounds protected the crew, giving radiation doses of 0.5 roentgen per hour.
 

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hesham

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Thank you my dear Steve,and we must thank my dear Scott.
 

hesham

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Matej said:
Scheme of the hafnium isomer battery and weired manned Global Hawk idea from the mentioned Popular Mechanics article.


From the same source.
 

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hesham

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Hi,

here is a nuclear powered aircraft,page 34;

http://books.google.com.eg/books?id=wzY7I05tQXcC&pg=PA34#v=onepage&q&f=false
 

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