LV-N "Nerv" Atomic Rocket Motor

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LV-N "Nerv" Atomic Rocket Motor
Part image
Liquid fuel engine by
Jebediah Kerman's Junkyard and Spacecraft Parts Co

Radial size Small
Cost (total) 10 000.00 Funds
Mass (total) 3.00 t
Drag 0.2
Max. Temp. 2500 K
Volume  ?
Impact Tolerance 12 m/s
Research Tech tree nuclear propulsion.png Nuclear Propulsion
Unlock cost 45 000 Funds
Since version 0.17
Part configuration liquidEngineLV-N.cfg
Liquid fuel engine
Maximum thrust (1 atm) 13.88 kN
(vacuum) 60.00 kN
Isp (1 atm) 185 s
(vacuum) 800 s
Fuel consumption 1.53 Units of fuel/s

Thrust vectoring No
Testing Environments
On the surface Yes
In the ocean No
On the launchpad No
In the atmosphere Yes
Sub orbital Yes
In an orbit Yes
On an escape Yes
Docked No
Test by staging Yes
Manually testable Yes

The LV-N Atomic Rocket Motor is a low-thrust, high-efficiency rocket engine. It is modeled after the real-world nuclear thermal rocket, which uses a fission reactor to heat liquid hydrogen and propel it out of the rocket nozzle; however, as of version 0.23[outdated], it is still a hybrid design which is powered by liquid fuel and oxidizer. This is largely due to programming constraints, as stated in its parts.cfg file, although the real-world equivalent could use other liquids for propulsion, but then with a lower efficiency.


The LV-N has a quite low thrust (the LV-909 being the only engine in its size-class with less power) and with 2.25 tons a very high mass, giving it the worst thrust-to-weight ratio of all liquid-fuel engines. Its fuel efficiency while in the atmosphere is also rather poor. Due to those factors it is not recommended to use this engine to escape atmosphere or even the gravity of large moons.

But as soon as it gets out of the atmosphere, its fuel efficiency becomes superb with a vacuum Isp of 800 s. The best specific impulse of any liquid-fueled engine. Only the non liquid fueled PB-ION Electric Propulsion System is better but with even less thrust. This remarkable efficiency makes it quite popular for interplanetary travel.

It will overheat, but it will usually stop at about ⅓ through the overheat bar. As of version 0.23, it will quickly overheat and explode when placed under a Rockomax Jumbo-64 Fuel Tank.


Despite the big scary trefoil painted onto the side of this engine, its radioactive exhaust, and tendency to overheat, the LV-N Atomic Rocket Motor is harmless. Mostly.

Jebediah Kerman's Junkyard and Spaceship Parts Co.

Yes, I know this is wrong. NTRs don't actually burn fuel and oxidizer, but we don't want to jump into making separate tanks for the two yet.

Excerpt from the part.cfg


  • The description of this part is a reference to the Douglas Adams humorous sci-fi novel "Mostly Harmless"


  • Alternator added, engine now gains 5.0 electricity.
  • Initial release