Asked in PhysicsNuclear EnergySubmarines
Since nuclear energy is used to power submarines why can't it be used for rocket engines?
March 15, 2010 8:59AM
Its probably because nuclear powerplants are too heavy for rockets. Though in theory nuclear powered space craft are an option. == The primary useful product of a nuclear reactor is heat. To use heat generated by a nuclear power plant to drive a conventional rocket isn't very practicle because the power to weight ratio is not very good. And when we wish to rocket ourselves out of the bottom of this gravity well, we need lots of power and minimal weight. The nuclear plant can't deliver the kind of performance that lends itself to the launch of space vehicles.