Kiwi-A Prime Atomic Reactor, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA, 1960.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Kiwi-A Prime was a prototype atomic reactor for studying the feasibility of nuclear rocket propulsion for space travel. It was developed by the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for the US Atomic Energy Commision (aeC) who, together with NASA, sponsored the National Nuclear Rocket Development programme as part of project Rover/NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application), the main objective of which was to design a flight rated thermodynamic nuclear rocket engine. Gaseous hydrogen was used as a propellant on the Kiwi-A tests that began in 1959. The reactor underwent a highly succesful full-power run on July 8, 1960, at Nevada Test Site in Jackas Flats, Nevada.