Thursday, March 31, 2011
Here are some images of MPC/Round 2 models 1/100 scale spacecraft The Pilgrim Observer.
From Old Plastic Model Kits"
There was a time when space research was not aimed at the earth's orbit and moon, but at distant planets in our solar system and eventually beyond. Planning went much further than most people are aware. The main limitation was seen as the chemical rocket motor. It could only be fired once and the specific impulse was limited. To overcome these limitations, the United States embarked on a large program to build the nuclear rocket engine. Unlike the nuclear aircraft engine, this program overcame the technical obstacles placed before it was VERY successful. The effort resulted in numerous test engines up through the Phoebes 5000 MW monster, which is still the world's most powerful reactor. The nuclear engines could run at full power for an hour, then be shut down and restarted up to a dozen times or more. Also, the flow of fuel (liquid hydrogen) could be regulated through turbo-pumps to 'throttle' the engine just as one does a car engine. Crew radiation shielding from the engine was less than requirements for cosmic ray shielding. At one point, a KIWI series reactor (KIWI-TNT) was blown up on purpose to test the environmental impact; it was minimal and clean up went quickly. The final result was to be a space rated engine called NERVA, or Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application. Before the project was terminated, many vehicles were designed for deep space exploration based on these amazing engines.