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Donald McKelvy
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USAF interplanetary spacecraft concept model using Space Power Unit Reactor (SPUR) found on EBay.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Spacecraft-Concept-Contractor-Desk-Model-NASA-USAF_W0QQitemZ110459822900QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item19b7eb2334

Description from EBay:
This is a Space Power Unit Reactor Concept Desk Model. This model was made by the Garrett Corporation in the early 1960’s. This proposal model and booklet was used by Aerojet, Westinghouse, and AiResearch to show NASA their idea of the SPUR electrical power/propulsion supply. The model measures 3” wide and 6 ½” long. The entire model is metal and the stand is lucite. Both the model and booklet are in great condition. Concept models were made in very small numbers, so don’t miss out in this early space race model that unfortunately was never produced.
 

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Triton

Donald McKelvy
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Scans of booklet prepared by AiResearch Manufacturing Company of Arizona, a division of Garrett Corporation, concerning SPUR concept.
 

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mz

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Thanks, this is interesting! It has a close resemblance to JIMO although it's over 30 years earlier... I guess radiation shielding dictates the optimal radiator shape quite obviously.
 

blackstar

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Any better date than "early 1960s"?

The concept of using reactors in space dates back until at least 1946. In the days before solar cells, there were two basic concepts for generating power: reactors and solar collectors. And a reactor was included in some of the mid-1950s von Braun exploration concepts.
 

Triton

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blackstar said:
Any better date than "early 1960s"?

The concept of using reactors in space dates back until at least 1946. In the days before solar cells, there were two basic concepts for generating power: reactors and solar collectors. And a reactor was included in some of the mid-1950s von Braun exploration concepts.

Circa 1962-63, I presume. The Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) has information about a technical report:

SPUR Power System Quarterly Progress Report 31 December 1962 by FB Wallace, Garrett Corporation Phoenix Az AIResearch Manufacturing Division, January 15, 1963

Continued analytical and experimental studies in support of the Space Power Unit, Reactor (SPUR) Program are presented. Progress is reported for a total of 32 tasks. In addition to a discussion of the work accomplished by AiResearch, the prime contractor, this report contains a discussion of the work accomplished by AerojetGeneral Nucleonics (reactor system), Westinghouse Electric Corporation, (electrical generator), and Battelle Memorial Institute (material support). (Author)

http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=AD0414885
 

blackstar

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That adds a little credibility. Westinghouse was definitely involved in reactors. I've never heard of AIR Research Corp. before.

In the US, the RTG programs were given odd numbers in the SNAP program (SNAP=Space Nuclear Applications Program, I believe). So SNAP-1, 3, 5, 7, etc. all meant RTG-based systems. The even numbers were the reactors. But most of these were paper programs only. SNAP-10 is the only US nuclear reactor that flew (technically, SNAP-10A). SNAP-8 was a powerful reactor design. (I think that SNAP-2, 4 and 6 were either paper projects or never got very far.) The surprising thing is that they did a lot of work on SNAP-8, including a lot of ground tests. Yet you can find almost nothing published about SNAP-8 in history books. You have to go back to contemporary sources (like mid-1960s issues of Aviation Week) to find any mention of it at all. There is a lot of technical documentation available on SNAP-8 if you know where to look.

I suspect that SPUR never got very far before it was canceled, and that most of the effort was on the SNAP reactors, particularly SNAP-8 and SNAP-10.
 

GeorgeA

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Garrett AIResearch was a long-time maker of APUs and such. It's now part of Honeywell.
 

OM

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...One page mentions "Centaur-Advent" class vehicles. Centaur I know, but "Advent"?
 

Proponent

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OM said:
...One page mentions "Centaur-Advent" class vehicles. Centaur I know, but "Advent"?

Maybe a reference to the Army's canceled Advent comsat, to have been lofted to a geosynchronous orbit by a three-stage Saturn I?
 

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Proponent said:
OM said:
...One page mentions "Centaur-Advent" class vehicles. Centaur I know, but "Advent"?

Maybe a reference to the Army's canceled Advent comsat, to have been lofted to a geosynchronous orbit by a three-stage Saturn I?

...My first thought, but IIRC that "Advent" concept didn't involve Centaur as an OIS or any other sort of booster. Still, that might have been it in lieu of any other possibilities.
 

Proponent

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OM said:
...My first thought, but IIRC that "Advent" concept didn't involve Centaur as an OIS or any other sort of booster. Still, that might have been it in lieu of any other possibilities.

I thought that most or all of the early Saturn configurations--A, B as well as C--featured a two-engine hydrolox final stage, i.e., essentially a Centaur.
 

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