The American government developed the Atoms for Peace program in 1955. The aim was to promote the peaceful use of nuclear power. As a contribution to this project, comic-strip artist and illustrator Frank Tinsley published his version of a nuclear-powered passenger airship in “Mechanix Illustrated”, a magazine for hobby mechanics. Tinsley’s illustrations also found their way into specialist literature. The government remained sceptical and finally decided to build the civilian nuclear freighter “Savannah”./source
Due to the horsepower limitations of the early internal-combustion engines, dirigible designers have always had to install multiple power plants, scattered along the length of the ship. This has not proven too good an arrangement.
In addition to difficulties in coordination, the propeller slip-streams have added to the skin friction of the hull with a consequent increase in drag. Modern research indicates that some form of dragless stern propulsion would better the airship’s efficiency and speed by as much as 15 per cent.With this in mind, MI weighed the various power plant possibilities.
The final solution proved to be the easiest to apply and the one that offers the maximum advantages weight wise. This is a midship atomic steam plant using turbines to generate electricity. Comparatively lightweight wiring car ries the juice to the stern of the ship where an electric motor drives a huge, four-bladed, reversible propeller. To assist in landing and take-off maneuvers, ducted fans are mounted in gimbals in the forward and after stabilizers. These enable the skipper to move his ship up, down or at sidewise angles.via/read more: spacebattles