Artist’s rendering of a Bimodal Nuclear Thermal Transfer Vehicle “Copernicus” in LEO. Credits : John Frassanito & Associates.

Curious Droid argues that Nuclear Rockets are set to make a comeback and possibly provide the fastest way to get around our solar system to date. Here, the excellent youtube channel examines their history and how they could be used in the next decade or so.


In a nuclear thermal rocket a working fluid, usually liquid hydrogen, is heated to a high temperature in a nuclear reactor, and then expands through a rocket nozzle to create thrust. In this kind of thermal rocket, the nuclear reactor’s energy replaces the chemical energy of the propellant’s reactive chemicals in a chemical rocket.