Fundamentals of Nuclear Flight

Bussard, R.W. And DeLauer, R.D.

Published by McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1965
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Jusara Book Shop IOBA (Bronx, NY, U.S.A.)

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Signed "Best regards R W Bussard" on free front end paper. A fine unread copy with square corners. PO's name on front end paper. Jacket has edge wear with creases, chipping, and small tears. Otherwise VG in protective Brodart sleeve. In 1956, Bussard designed the nuclear thermal rocket known as project Rover. Bussard and R.D. DeLauer wrote two important monographs on nuclear propulsion, Nuclear Rocket Propulsion and Fundamentals of Nuclear Flight. In 1960, Bussard conceived of the Bussard ramjet, an interstellar space drive powered by hydrogen fusion using hydrogen collected with a magnetic field from the interstellar gas. Due to the presence of high-energy particles throughout space, much of the interstellar hydrogen exists in an ionized state (H II regions) that can be manipulated by magnetic or electric fields. Bussard proposed using a large magnet to "scoop" up the ionized hydrogen and funnel it into a fusion reactor, using the exhaust from the reactor as a rocket engine. Since it would pick up its fuel from space, there was no apparent upper limit to the speed such a craft could achieve. There is an upper limit set by unavoidable transverse radiation from the hydrogen captured in the fusion process. It appears the energy gain in the reactor must be extremely high for the ramjet to work at all; any hydrogen picked up by the scoop must be sped up to the same speed as the ship in order to provide thrust, and the energy required to do so increases with the ship's speed. Hydrogen itself does not fuse very well at all (unlike deuterium, which is rare in the interstellar medium), and so cannot be used directly to produce energy, a fact which accounts for the billion-year scale of stellar lifetimes. This problem was solved, in principle, according to Dr. Bussard by use of the stellar CNO cycle in which carbon is used as a catalyst to burn hydrogen via the strong nuclear reaction (Whitmire, D. "Relativistic spaceflight and the catalytic nuclear ramjet", Acta Astronautica, 2, 497-509, 1975). This cycle occurs in the sun but is more important in higher mass stars. The improvement over the weak PPI chain is a factor of 10^16 . Since the time of Bussard's original proposal, it has been discovered that the region surrounding the sun has much lower density of interstellar hydrogen than was believed at that time. This is of concern only because it requires larger scoops to collect the fuel required. Other studies (see Magnetic sail) have contended that drag will exceed thrust from such scoop designs. However, these neglected the momentum-conserving aspect of mirror capture and mirror reflection in the collection and exhaust streams of such systems. This theoretical device description was used with good understanding and elaboration on the advantages and limitations of such a drive in science fiction novels such as Poul Anderson's Tau Zero and Larry Niven's Protector and Known Space stories. A highly fictionalized variation of this concept, called the Bussard Hydrogen Collector or Bussard Ramscoop appears in Star Trek as part of the matter/antimatter propulsion system that allows Starfleet ships to travel faster than the speed of light. The ramscoops attach to the front of the warp nacelles (usually red in the Star Trek: The Next Generation-era stories), and when the ship's internal supply of deuterium runs critically low, they collect interstellar hydrogen and convert it to deuterium and anti-deuterium for use as the primary fuel in a starship's warp drive. Bookseller Inventory # 000042

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Fundamentals of Nuclear Flight

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York

Publication Date: 1965

Binding: Decorative Cloth

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

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