- Conference date: 12−16 Jan 1992
- Location: Abuquerque, New Mexico (USA)
This preliminary study analyzes the atmospheric entry of a solid core nuclear thermal rocket (NTR) engine under several entry accident scenarios. Results of the analysis showed that, without external thermal protection, an aluminum pressure vessel will fail at altitudes ranging from 20 to 65 km, depending on the scenario, thus releasing the core materials. The graphitic based core materials will undergo only partial ablation, with the percent mass loss depending on the geometry of the fuel form. A thermal protection system was sized to prevent pressure vessel aerothermal failure and was found to increase the mass of the NTR by approximately 15 percent.
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