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Gas Core Rocket New Radiation Simulation

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Physicist Luke Campbell examined my Blender radiation simulation and suggested some modifications which might test the model more rigorously.

Following his suggestion I applied emission shaders to everything on the “hot” side of the shadow shield, so, rather than just the gas core reactor, this now includes all structure (truss, engine gimbals and supports) and all LH2, Helium coolant lines, and turbine pumps and associated plumbing including the turbine exhaust, and of course the expansion nozzle.

I applied a flat non-reflective black shader to the shadow shield, and applied a white shader to all structure on the “safe” side of the shadow shield (truss, radiator panels and heat exchanger housings, tensioning cable, cable rigging, LH2 and Helium coolant lines).

Changes in place, I ran the radiation simulation again. As you can see from the top image the simulation revealed that radiation was in fact impinging on the aft outer corners of the radiator panels and the tensioning cables, a fact not visible in my previous simulation.

This means radiation would travel along these parts of the vehicle, turning them into additional sources of radiation, damaging the radiator system and vehicle structure via radiation embrittlement, damaging control and electrical systems, and it means radiation would scatter from these points onto the rest of the vehicle posing a hazard to the crew.

I added truss segments and increased the diameter of the radiation shadow shield, running the simulation after each configuration change, till I arrived at a good result, which you can see in the second image down.

The lower two images are non-rendered screen captures of the same area of the model, the aft-most portion of the propulsion bus. Before structural modifications on the Left, and the final optimized configuration, on the Right.

Spacecraft design is derived from the following NASA technical memorandum:

NASA TM X-2772 Link: Reactor Moderator, Pressure Vessel, And Heat Rejection System of An Open-Cycle Gas-Core Nuclear Rocket Concept

NASA TM X-67823 Link: Gas Core Rocket Reactors-A New Look

NASA TM X-67927 Link: Crew Radiation Dose From The Plume of A High Impulse Gas-Core Nuclear Rocket During A Mars Mission

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NyrathWiz's avatar
Excellent work!
Centurion030's avatar
When space exploration and exploitation becomes commonplace, the world will you all a great deal of debt!