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I found an interesting idea about a propulsion system that would be based on the fission of lithium-6 (exothermic reaction that is only possible with high-energy neutrons). As I understood, it would use water or heavy water with dissolved lithium hydroxide. Such water would be irradiated with fast neutrons generated in a supercritical plutonium nuclear reactor, a non-aneutronic nuclear fusion reactor, or a spallation system. The water would be heated by the reactor like in a classic saltwater nuclear rocket, but the fission of lithium-6 would generate much more energy. This translates into an ISP higher than that of conventional chemical and nuclear rockets, and a pushing force superior to that of ionic rockets. The main problems are the neutron source (it must be big) and, in case of use a supercritical nuclear reactor, the risk of core meltdown (typical of nuclear rockets) or even a nuclear explosion. It could be interesting to see an addon based on this idea. Sources: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/clean-lithium-fission-saltwater-rocket.863418/ https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=39844.60
http://hdl.handle.net/2060/19920001876 Low-Pressure Nuclear Rocket Concept, by J.H. Ramstaler Cliffnotes: Reduced core pressure to allow normally unsustainable exhaust temperatures, which reach into hydrogen dissociation range, resulting in mono-H exhaust; the active zone is spherical rather than cylindrical, with propellant injected right into it. Variable specific impulse capability, thanks to no need for a turbopump-powered injector. The reactor relies entirely on hydrogen as neutron moderator and has no other control system outside of a SCRAM rod; the reaction mass flow thermalizes the neutron flux, providing neutrons for uranium fission - no propellant, no thermal neutrons, the reactor goes subcritical. As almost always, I'm just reposting from @nyrath.
Stumbled about this on NSFF and since it sounds cool i just drop it here: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=43344.0;attach=1438419;sess=0 Basicly it is a combination of a termal nuclear rocket feeding linear aerospike nozzels sitting on the turbine-fans of a turbojet-engine... or something like that XD Have fun with it ;-) PS: i want it for KSP!!! PPS: the guy who designed it was senior engineer for the Raptor engine...
http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/10.2514/6.2016-4685 On the Use of a Pulsed Nuclear Thermal Rocket for Interplanetary Travel Basically, they propose using brief bursts of extreme output - the kind that gets 100 Wt reactors to megawatt levels - to boost Isp's, potentially to ion thruster levels, approximately 13800 sec, heating the exhaust beyond core meltdown temperature through neutron flux heat transfer.