dated February 2, 1959: Nuclear powered rocket

The United States Atomic Energy Commission on January 31 reported “encouraging results” in research efforts to produce a nuclear-powered rocket. The Commission’s 25th half-yearly report to Congress said that it was working on a reactor for use in its nuclear Ramjet propulsion programme, which has been given the code name of “Project Pluto.” “A nuclear Ramjet”, the Commission said, “could propel missiles with essentially unlimited range within the earth’s atmosphere. Encouraging results were obtained in materials research.” The report also stated that research work on a nuclear-powered aircraft had “successfully passed many important technical milestones.”

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