LV-N "Nerv" Atomic Rocket Motor
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uses a fission reactor to heat liquid hydrogen and propel it out of the rocket nozzle; however, as of version 0.21.1[outdated], it is still a hybrid design which is powered by liquid fuel and oxidizer.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 it's 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. But as soon as it gets out of the atmosphere, its fuel efficiency suddenly becomes superb. It has a vacuum Isp of 800 s, the best of any liquid-fueled engine. Only the PB-ION Electric Propulsion System is better but with even less thrust.
This remarkable efficiency makes it quite popular for interplanetary travel. It is not recommended that the player attempt to use this engine to escape atmosphere or even the gravity of large moons.
It will overheat, but it will usually stop at about 1/3 through the overheat bar. However, when placed under a Rockomax Jumbo-64 Fuel Tank, it will explode at maximum thrust within seconds.
|“|| 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 nonsense sci-fi novel "Mostly Harmless"
- Initial Release