Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Like Thunderbirds' Fireflash?

Nuclear-powered aircraft? I read about those when I was eight years old in one of my favorite childhood books, Our Friend the Atom, a 1958 Walt Disney book about the wonders of nuclear power.

Nuclear-powered bombers were in development in the 1950's; both the United States and the Soviet Union worked on the idea, only to discard it when it appeared that missiles would do the job better.

The intent was to develop an aircraft that could remain on station for weeks at a time, if necessary, without refueling.


(Nuclear-powered B-36 jet bomber [experimental])

Dr. Ian Poll, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Cranfield university, says that the experiments conducted during the Cold War have shown that nuclear-powered aircraft are possible. And there is a new problem; since the end of the oil era is now in sight, we need an alternative to kerosene-powered aircraft.

“We need a design which is not kerosene-powered, and I think nuclear-powered aeroplanes are the answer beyond 2050. The idea was proved 50 years ago, but I accept it would take about 30 years to persuade the public of the need to fly on them.”

“It's done on nuclear submarines and could be achieved on aircraft by locating the reactors with the engines out on the wings,” Dr. Poll said.

Fans of the series Thunderbirds recall the Fireflash airliner. The first episode shows the nuclear-powered airliner on its maiden voyage from London to Tokyo. At six times the speed of sound.


(Fireflash from Thunderbirds)

Thrill to these scenes showing the takeoff of the nuclear-powered airliner Fireflash in splendid Supermarionation! (Skip to 2:55 if you're in a hurry.)

From Nuclear-powered passenger aircraft 'to transport millions' says expert; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip and references.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/30/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...' - Allan Dean Foster, 2006.

Tesla Autopilot's 40 Percent Crash Reduction
''I hope all those other cars are on automatic,' he said anxiously.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976

Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...' - James Blish, 1957.

Star Wars Speeder Bikes! On Water, By Jetovator
'Hey, wait!' Now, you don't need to say that.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'

Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'

DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.