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Nuclear photonic rocket

In a nuclear photonic rocket, a nuclear reactor would generate such high temperatures that the light from the reactor would provide thrust. Think of a nuclear light-bulb, with a reflector. The big advantage is that nothing material leaves the spacecraft, so only nuclear fuel is depleted. This has the highest-known specific impulse of any rocket that might be made with known technology. The reactor would be constructed of graphite and tungsten.

A variation is the photon rocket from the german rocket scientist Eugen Saenger[?], using antimatter annihilation as a light source and an electron-mirror as a reflecting medium. None of his mirror designs seem to work in reality though.

See also: spacecraft propulsion



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