Jul 082015

I haven’t had an opportunity to really dig into this, but Boeing just patented a jet engine powered not by hydrocarbon fuel combustion but by small nuclear explosions. Basically an Orion (via laser-driven inertial confinement compression of tiny fusion fuel pellets) in a jet, stuck on a passenger plane.


The US Patent Office page on this.

THIS should link directly to the PDF of the patent.

Sigh. Every single time I think I’ve got a handle on “this is everything in the world of NPP, I can finally finish the book,” they suck me back in.

 Posted by at 2:37 pm

  4 Responses to “PDF Review: Boeing Nuclear-Pulse Powered Turbofan”

  1. But isn’t this patent 99% prior art?

    • Applying it to a turbojet is new, I believe.

      • Hmmm…so you have to have a 747-sized generator (see all the land-based laser fusion systems in existence) to run the lasers for the fusion *ramjet* (sorry, I did see a “turbine” mentioned in the patent, but it’s obviously not in the turbo-machinery for a turbojet). I don’t see the economy that would make this a viable aviation invention. I suppose they could have tried to patent micro black holes or something, but this strikes me as about as realistic as the Aviation Week article in 1946 that anti-gravity was being worked on by the Air Force. Sorry, just saying.

  2. For your story this may be even good news. Really if you try to do fiction, DON’T BE TOO DESCRIPTIVE. That really kills 90% of SF ideas that have been around. The main point of fiction is not the technology itself but the effects and consequences. It is an exploit to the human soul, not a walk to the techno-zoo. Note that Azimov was great not for describing the intricacies of the positronic brain but for leaving its concept floating around while people and robots tried to cope with the three laws and the coldest woman in the Universe. And on “Foundation”, his real masterpiece, he is even more abstract to the scientific laws ruling the whole story. Somehow it looks more as a clash between human nature and Science.
    So pick up the NPP… Leave the Plutonium and Deuterium a bit to the side and stick to what we want from it. For example, where can you go with it? Let’s say – Pluto. Add a an alien base, a nazi mummy, a mad russian pilot, a gorgeous chinese doctor and that guy Pentagon forgot in Afghanistan… And it will be an adventure of a life. Only one but. Everything the ship does shall be STRICTLY correspondent to what NPP does. A failure here and critics will swamp you.

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