These are used for onboard power generation but have no significant propulsion capabilities. Iam not sure if iam the only one asking about this , but it seems to me that the Nuclear power is kinda ... well ignored when it comes to space , i mean they use rockets which consume enormous amounts of fuel and do so much damage to the enviroment , while they can use Nuclear powered engines (maybe not to launch the shuttle itself but to travel to other planets ) you all know … Because the TAW-50 is designed to operate in space, it has on board a two-day air supply. A new study from researchers at Columbia University in New York suggests future spaceships could use black holes as powerful launch pads to explore the universe.The study "envisions firing laser beams that would curve around a black hole and come back with added energy to help propel a spacecraft to near the speed of light," reports Conventional nuclear power stations and the generating plants on nuclear submarines and ships use the technique to make electricity. The ion propulsion system's efficient use of fuel and electrical power enable modern spacecraft to travel farther, faster and cheaper than any other propulsion technology currently available. The current Reference Mission calls for a nuclear reactor to propel the spaceship to Mars. The two answers so far discuss RTG systems (radioisotope thermoelectric generator), which use mostly an isotope of Plutonium, Pu-238. The idea for a rocket propulsion system that makes use of explosive combustion was first proposed by Russian explosives expert Nikolai Kibalchich in the late 19th century. "The most significant advantage is more safety," said Dr. Gerald Smith of Positronics Research, LLC, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The TAW-50’s power supply is provided by a small nuclear power generator that the contractor said is … Read "Project Orion Nuclear Pulse Rocket, Technical Reports on the Orion Concept, Atomic Bombs Propelling Massive Spaceships to the Planets, External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion" by Progressive Management available from Rakuten Kobo. Chemical rockets have demonstrated fuel efficiencies up to 35 percent, but ion thrusters have demonstrated fuel efficiencies over 90 percent. It is a well established, but not incident-free, science. For instance, the Daedalus project , developed on the seventies, proposed a interstellar starship to reach 5 light years in a trip of 80 years using fusion pellets as the fuel. This air supply can be extended by using its scoop system and traveling into the upper atmosphere. However, it was Polish-born American nuclear physicist Stanislaw Ulam who came up with the concept of using nuclear explosions to power spacecraft. This unique ebook … use the following search parameters to narrow your results: subreddit:subreddit find submissions in "subreddit" author:username find submissions by "username" find … If you consider other fuels, like nuclear fission reactions, or nuclear fusion, you can get more interesting efficiencies.