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Nuclear Rocketship (1959)

I take a lot of pride in providing material you can't find anywhere else on the internet. But there's an easy way to tell when I'm having a busy week: I steal images from the website Plan59.

Still beautiful though, ain't it?

This illustration is by Frank Tinsley from 1959. The image appeared as part of a series of ads in Fortune magazine for the American Bosch Arma Corporation.

See also:
Air Force Predictions for 2063 (1963)
Fusion Energy in Space (1984)

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Reader Comments (8)

That's beyond cool. My first thought was "I need a print of that." A quick Google and a random thought becomes reality for under 40 bucks. I love living in the age of the internet!!

June 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFredProgGH

Several ideas for nuclear spacecraft surfaced in the late '50s and early '60s, not quite as sleek. Life Magazine portrayed one called the "Shmoo" (after an Al Capp cartoon character) that would explode nuclear bombs in a vast spherical chamber for propulsion. The original Project Orion was simpler: set off the bomb in space, behind a heavy plate, so the shock wave would push the ship. And the NERVA nuclear rocket engine was proposed, semi-developed, and abandoned in the '60s. Something about melting the planetary surface you were trying to land on, I think...

June 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermin0taur

Kennedy's famous speech said:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

But then in the next paragraph of the same speech he said:

Secondly, an additional 23 million dollars, together with 7 million dollars already available, will accelerate development of the Rover nuclear rocket. This gives promise of some day providing a means for even more exciting and ambitious exploration of space, perhaps beyond the Moon, perhaps to the very end of the solar system itself.

June 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

We must resume development of nuclear rocket technology if we're to have any real future in space.

June 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter.

aren't they thinking of nuclear engines for the mars mission? or is that just speculation?

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersagsdgd

Ah,, I submitted some info on a nuclear propulsion aircraft that i read in popular Mechcanics a few years ago(not popular science as i wrote in the blog). Their was another declasfied USAF artice on the BLACKSTAR program I read a few years ago too. It disscussed the circa 1970' s PEGUES(The greek mythical winged horse) rocket. It used as special nuclear fuel rod system that super heated exotic fuels (for ex. mercury oxoide glerceren) to a plasma state giving it incredable lift.
If this was used on the space shutle it (supposedly) could lift several times it payload mass.
Only 1 catch! The fuel and engine system are hot and hard to handle. According to the articles.
The US Military scientist that broke these tales I read of are in great deal of legeal trouble.
An the Pentagon said PEGUES was a faluire. mabye, or mabye not?

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKeal noise

As above I was writting about the BLACKSTAR nuclear rocket space plane program. According to 1 article an astronaut attached to the USAF claimed he flew one of these experimental aircraft into low earth orbit in the late 1990's under the secret shuttle (Star wars) missions. According to him and the couple of American scientist(now living in France) that not even the astronauts on board the space shuttles were told what the insturment packages were tracking and recording.
It might explane that 1 UFO sighting on the space shuttle back then.
An intresting tall tale.
If true? How do explain it to the general public?

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKeal noise

yerr there was this cladestine that got off as a good time he - she got it cladestine classified hand no gun to pop and and was cladestine under the undies where no one would know he she anymore.

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergratten

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