Nuclear Rocket Development Station

Experimental nuclear rocket engine assembly at Nuclear Rocket Development Station

The first ground experimental nuclear rocket engine (XE) assembly, (left), is shown here in cold flow configuration, as it makes a late evening arrival at Engine Test Stand No. 1 at the Nuclear Rocket Development Station. Image credit: NASA, 1967.

The Nuclear Rocket Development Station (NRDS) was a NASA-AEC (Atomic Energy Commission) facility concerned with performing research and development work on nuclear-powered rocket engines, such as the KIWI series, intended for use on upper-stage space flight propulsion. The test site is located at Jackass Flats, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.