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Space History Photo: Model of Thermonuclear Rocket Vehicle for Exploration

space history, NASA, nuclear propulsion
A model of a rocket capable of interplanetary exploration. (Image credit: NASA.)

In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, a 1963 model of a thermonuclear rocket capable of interplanetary exploration. The reactor was used to heat up liquid hydrogen for thrust similarly to traditional rocket engines. The large heavily shielded zone between the reactor and the crew cabin protected the astronauts from the radiation.

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Each weekday, looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.