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NERVA Engine

The NERVA was an experimental nuclear engine (NERVA is an acronym for Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Applications). Rather than any sort of combustion as in an ordinary rocket engine, the NERVA operated by running hydrogen through a nuclear reactor, heating the gas in this way.

Since NERVA was to be used for a manned Mars mission, NERVA was cancelled when funding for the space program in general and a Mars mission in particular was cut in the early 1970s.

This appears to be the NERVA XE'' engine. It was removed from the USSRC's Rocket Park some time between June 2004 and June 2005. This was shortly after I started visiting the USSRC, and since it wasn't used for manned missions, I have very few photos of it.

However, it eventually was moved to Building 4205 at Marshall Space Flight Center, apparently some time after F-1 engine F-4023 was erected there in October 2009.

 
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