My third form of propulsion, I feel, is WAY out there. The idea behind project Orion was to propel a space craft with nuclear bombs. To do this, scientist had a release mechanism release shaped nuclear charges behind the ship and then detonate them propelling the ship forward. It would have both high thrust AND high specific impulse (a fancy word for efficiency, or Isp), whereas the ion engine has high Isp but low thrust. As you can assume, this type of craft can only be used in space due to nuclear test bans. So we would still need to actually get into space before using it. Even though we have basically abandoned Project Orion, we may still use it for meteor deflection.
- My first question is, other than meteor deflection, are there any other uses for Project Orion?
- My second question is; instead of activating the nuclear bombs outside of the spacecraft, could we detonate them in a cone shaped chamber on the bottom?