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Nuclear rocket motors work by heating a gas and allowing it to expand out of the exhaust. To get the most thrust from your gas you want the momentum of the gas molecules to be as high as possible, because the force is equal to the rate of change of momentum of the gas molecules. Suppose the nuclear reactor heats the gas to a temperature $T$, then the ...


As rockets have finite fuel capacity and important parameter is how much rocket velocity can be achieved in a given situation per unit of fuel mass consumed. The higher the exhaust velocity the more effectively the fuel mass is utilised. Issues such as energy required are also important but generally exhaust velocity or "specific impulse" is amongst the most ...

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