Convair NB-36H flying nuclear reactor testbed
|Maiden flight||Not flown|
The Convair X-6 was a proposed experimental aircraft project to develop and evaluate a nuclear-powered jet aircraft. In generic use an experimental aircraft is an Aircraft that has not yet been fully proven in Flight. An aerospace manufacturer is a company or individual involved in the various aspects of designing building testing selling and maintaining Aircraft, Aircraft parts The Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, commonly known as Convair, was a US aerospace development and manufacturing complex of the 1940s and later The maiden flight of an Aircraft is the first occasion on which an aircraft leaves the ground of its own accord The Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, commonly known as Convair, was a US aerospace development and manufacturing complex of the 1940s and later The project was to use a Convair B-36 bomber as a testbed aircraft, and though one NB-36H was modified during the early stages of the project, the program was cancelled before the actual X-6 and its nuclear reactor engines were completed. This article is a subarticle of Nuclear power. A nuclear reactor is a device in which Nuclear chain reactions are initiated controlled The X-6 was part of a larger series of programs, costing US$7 billion in all, that ran from 1946 through 1961. Because such an aircraft's range would not have been limited by liquid jet fuel, it was theorized that nuclear-powered strategic bombers would be able to stay airborne for weeks at a time. A strategic bomber is a heavy type Aircraft designed to drop large amounts of ordnance onto a distant target for the purposes of debilitating an enemy's 
In May, 1946, the Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft (NEPA) project was started by the Air Force. Year 1946 ( MCMXLVI) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. A nuclear aircraft is an Aircraft powered by Nuclear energy. Research into them was pursued during the Cold War by the United States and the Studies under this program were done until May, 1951 when NEPA was replaced by the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) program. Year 1951 ( MCMLI) was a Common year starting on Monday. Events of 1951 January The ANP program contained plans for two B-36s to be modified by Convair under the MX-1589 project. One of the B-36s was to be used to study shielding requirements for an airborne reactor while the other was to be the X-6.
The first modified B-36 was called the Nuclear Test Aircraft (NTA), a B-36H-20-CF (Serial Number 51-5712) that had been damaged in a tornado at Carswell AFB on September 1, 1952. For uses after 30 September 1994, see Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth Carswell Air Force Base, (1942 - 1994 is Events 462 - Possible start of first Byzantine indiction cycle. Year 1952 ( MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. This plane was redesignated the XB-36H, then the NB-36H and was modified to carry a 3 megawatt, air-cooled nuclear reactor in its bomb bay. The watt (symbol W) is the SI derived unit of power, equal to one Joule of energy per Second. This article is a subarticle of Nuclear power. A nuclear reactor is a device in which Nuclear chain reactions are initiated controlled The reactor, named the Aircraft Shield Test Reactor (ASTR), was operational but did not power the plane. Water, acting as both moderator and coolant, was pumped through the reactor core and then to water-to-air heat exchangers to dissipate the heat to the atmosphere. Its sole purpose was to investigate the effect of radiation on aircraft systems.
To shield the flight crew, the nose section of the aircraft was modified to include a 12-ton lead and rubber shield. The standard windshield was replaced with one made of 6-inch–thick acrylic glass. The amount of lead and water shielding was variable. Measurements of the resulting radiation levels were then compared with calculated levels to enhance the ability to design optimal shielding with minimum weight for nuclear-powered bombers.
The NTA completed 47 test flights and 215 hours of flight time (during 89 of which the reactor was operated) between July 1955 and March 1957 over New Mexico and Texas. New Mexico ( is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States of America. Texas ( is a state geographically located in the South Central United States and is also known as the Lone Star State.  This was the only known airborne reactor experiment by the U. S. with an operational nuclear reactor on board. The NB-36H was scrapped at Fort Worth in 1958 when the Nuclear Aircraft Program was abandoned. After the ASTR was removed from the NB-36H, it was moved to the National Aircraft Research Facility.
Based on the results of the NTA, the X-6 and the entire nuclear aircraft program was abandoned in 1961.
Had the program progressed, follow-on aircraft would have been based on the successor to the B-36, Convair's swept-wing B-60. WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft. Please see WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft/page content for recommended layout 
The X-6 would have been powered by General Electric X-39 engines, utilizing a P-1 reactor.  In a nuclear jet engine, the reactor core was used as a heat source for the turbine's air flow, instead of burning jet fuel. One disadvantage to the design is that since the airflow through the engine was used to cool the reactor, this airflow had to be maintained even after the aircraft landed and parked.  GE built two prototype engines, which can be seen outside the Experimental Breeder Reactor I in Arco, Idaho. Experimental Breeder Reactor I (EBR-I is a Decommissioned Research reactor and U Arco is a city in Butte County, Idaho, United States. The population was 1026 at the 2000 census. 
A large, 350-foot (160. 7 meter-) wide hangar was built at Test Area North, part of the National Reactor Testing Station (now part of the Idaho National Laboratory), Monteview, Idaho to house the X-6 project, but the project was cancelled before the planned 15000-foot (4572m) runway was built. The Idaho National Laboratory ( INL) is an 890-square-mile (2300-km² complex located in the Idaho desert between the town of Arco and the city of The length was necessitated by the expected weight of the nuclear-powered aircraft. 
In the Sixties, the Soviet Union's Tupolev design bureau conducted a similar experiment using a Tupolev Tu-119, which was a Tu-95 bomber modified to carry an operational reactor. The 1960s decade refers to the years from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1969 The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 Tupolev ( Туполев) is a Russian aerospace and defence company headquartered in Moscow. The '''Tupolev Tu-119''' (Tu-95LAL was a modified Tupolev Tu-95 Soviet Bomber aircraft which began testing in 1965 to see if the use of a Nuclear WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft. Please see WikipediaWikiProject Aircraft/page content for recommended layout A bomber is a Military aircraft designed to attack ground and sea targets primarily by dropping Bombs on them