Project Orion Comments

Hello,

I hope all is well.

References for you: attached.

Orion: The Orion vehicles were designed in the 1960’s as a powerful way to quickly travel through space (with very large spacecraft).  The attached report discussed a smaller version that might be more practical.

See you, Bryan

Bryan Palaszewski
NASA John H. Glenn Research Center Lewis Field
MS 5-10
Cleveland, OH 44135
(216) 977-7493 Voice
(216) 433-5802  FAX
bryan.a.palaszewski@nasa.gov

Fuels and Space Propellants Web Site: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/Fuels-And-Space-Propellants/foctopsb.htm

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Project Orion

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.

494px-Orion_pulse_unit

  • 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?