Project Orion (nuclear propulsion)

Project OrionTo Mars by A-Bomb: The Secret History of Project OrionOrionOrion ProjectOrion driveOrion nuclear pulse propulsion rocketOrion spacecraftAtomic Rocket Enginenuclear-poweredOrion-OLV
Project Orion was a study of a spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft (nuclear pulse propulsion).wikipedia
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Nuclear pulse propulsion

MEDUSAMEDUSA concept, a nuclear explosive propelled spacecraftnuclear
Project Orion was a study of a spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft (nuclear pulse propulsion). However, from Project Longshot to Project Daedalus, Mini-Mag Orion, and other proposals which reach engineering analysis at the level of considering thermal power dissipation, the principle of external nuclear pulse propulsion to maximize survivable power has remained common among serious concepts for interstellar flight without external power beaming and for very high-performance interplanetary flight.
It was first developed as Project Orion by DARPA, after a suggestion by Stanislaw Ulam in 1947.

Ted Taylor (physicist)

Ted TaylorTheodore TaylorTheodore B. Taylor
The actual project, initiated in 1958, was led by Ted Taylor at General Atomics and physicist Freeman Dyson, who at Taylor's request took a year away from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton to work on the project.
The later part of Dr. Taylor's career was focused on nuclear energy instead of weaponry, and included his work on Project Orion, nuclear reactor developments, and anti-nuclear proliferation.

Stanislaw Ulam

Stanisław UlamStan UlamUlam
General proposals of nuclear propulsion were first made by Stanislaw Ulam in 1946, and preliminary calculations were made by F. Reines and Ulam in a Los Alamos memorandum dated 1947.
Ulam considered the problem of nuclear propulsion of rockets, which was pursued by Project Rover, and proposed, as an alternative to Rover's nuclear thermal rocket, to harness small nuclear explosions for propulsion, which became Project Orion.

General Atomics

General AtomicGeneral Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc.designers of the plant
The actual project, initiated in 1958, was led by Ted Taylor at General Atomics and physicist Freeman Dyson, who at Taylor's request took a year away from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton to work on the project.
General Atomics's initial projects were the TRIGA nuclear research reactor which was designed so that it was guaranteed to be safe by the laws of nature, and Project Orion.

Freeman Dyson

Freeman J. DysonDysonFreeman John Dyson
The actual project, initiated in 1958, was led by Ted Taylor at General Atomics and physicist Freeman Dyson, who at Taylor's request took a year away from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton to work on the project. On November 14, 1959 the one-meter model, also known as "Hot Rod" and "putt-putt", first flew using RDX (chemical explosives) in a controlled flight for 23 seconds to a height of 56 m. Film of the tests has been transcribed to video and were featured on the BBC TV program "To Mars by A-Bomb" in 2003 with comments by Freeman Dyson and Arthur C. Clarke.
From 1957 to 1961 Dyson worked on Project Orion, which proposed the possibility of space-flight using nuclear pulse propulsion.

Mini-Mag Orion

Mini-Mag Orion Propulsion System
However, from Project Longshot to Project Daedalus, Mini-Mag Orion, and other proposals which reach engineering analysis at the level of considering thermal power dissipation, the principle of external nuclear pulse propulsion to maximize survivable power has remained common among serious concepts for interstellar flight without external power beaming and for very high-performance interplanetary flight.
Mini-Mag Orion (MMO), or Miniature Magnetic Orion, is a proposed type of spacecraft propulsion based on the Project Orion nuclear propulsion system.

Interstellar ark

arkspace ark
In interviews, the designers contemplated the large ship as a possible interstellar ark.
The Project Orion concept of propulsion by nuclear pulses has been proposed.

Project Daedalus

Daedalus ProjectProject ''Daedalus
However, from Project Longshot to Project Daedalus, Mini-Mag Orion, and other proposals which reach engineering analysis at the level of considering thermal power dissipation, the principle of external nuclear pulse propulsion to maximize survivable power has remained common among serious concepts for interstellar flight without external power beaming and for very high-performance interplanetary flight.
This velocity is well beyond the capabilities of chemical rockets or even the type of nuclear pulse propulsion studied during Project Orion.

Nikolai Kibalchich

KilbatchichMykola KybalchichNikolaj I. Kibal'chich
The idea of rocket propulsion by combustion of explosive substance was first proposed by Russian explosives expert Nikolai Kibalchich in 1881, and in 1891 similar ideas were developed independently by German engineer Hermann Ganswindt.
After WWII, Stanislaw Ulam proposed a nuclear pulse propulsion scheme which was studied in Project ORION.

George Dyson (science historian)

George DysonGeorgeDyson, George
The following can be found in George Dyson's book.
He is the author of Project Orion: The Atomic Spaceship 1957–1965 and Darwin Among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence, in which he expands upon the premise of Samuel Butler's 1863 article of the same name and suggests that the Internet is a living, sentient being.

Project Longshot

Project ''Longshot
However, from Project Longshot to Project Daedalus, Mini-Mag Orion, and other proposals which reach engineering analysis at the level of considering thermal power dissipation, the principle of external nuclear pulse propulsion to maximize survivable power has remained common among serious concepts for interstellar flight without external power beaming and for very high-performance interplanetary flight.

Spacecraft propulsion

propulsionrocket propulsionspace propulsion
Many spacecraft propulsion drives can achieve one of these or the other, but nuclear pulse rockets are the only proposed technology that could potentially meet the extreme power requirements to deliver both at once (see spacecraft propulsion for more speculative systems).

Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Partial Test Ban TreatyNuclear Test Ban TreatyLimited Test Ban Treaty
The Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 is generally acknowledged to have ended the project.

Shaped charge

hollow chargeMunroe effectshaped-charge
The bomb's geometry and materials focused the X-rays and plasma from the core of nuclear explosive to hit the reaction mass. In effect each bomb would be a nuclear shaped charge.
The proposed Project Orion nuclear propulsion system would have required the development of nuclear shaped charges for reaction acceleration of spacecraft.

Jerry Astl

Jaromir Astl (23 September 1922 – 16 October 2017), better known as Jerry Astl, was a Czechoslovakian aeronautical engineer and explosive engineer who helped design the American Project Orion nuclear propulsion spacecraft in the 1950s and 1960s.

Brian Dunne

Dunne worked on explosive model tests at Point Loma on Orion Project.

James C. Nance (scientist)

James Nance
James C. Nance is an American scientist who served as the Orion Project's director.

ICAN-II

ICAN-II (spacecraft)Project ICAN
From 1998 to the present, the nuclear engineering department at Pennsylvania State University has been developing two improved versions of project Orion known as Project ICAN and Project AIMStar using compact antimatter catalyzed nuclear pulse propulsion units, rather than the large inertial confinement fusion ignition systems proposed in Project Daedalus and Longshot.
ICAN-II is similar to the Project Orion design put forth by Stanislaw Ulam in the late 1950s.

NERVA

NERVA (Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application)nuclearNuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application
This would become the basis for Project Orion.

Space colonization

space coloniescolonizationspace colony
Indirect effects could matter for whether the overall influence of an Orion-based space program on future human global mortality would be a net increase or a net decrease, including if change in launch costs and capabilities affected space exploration, space colonization, the odds of long-term human species survival, space-based solar power, or other hypotheticals.

Discovery One

DiscoveryUSS Discovery OneUSSC ''Discovery One
As discussed by Arthur C. Clarke in his recollections of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey in The Lost Worlds of 2001, a nuclear-pulse version of the U.S. interplanetary spacecraft Discovery One was considered.
Early in the development of the movie, Clarke and Kubrick considered having the Discovery be powered by an Orion type nuclear pulse propulsion system, but Kubrick quickly decided against it, both because showing the ship accelerate by a 'putt-putt' method might be "too comic" for film, and because it might be seen as him having embraced nuclear weapons after his prior film, Dr. Strangelove.

Kedar "Bud" Pyatt

Pyatt, Kedar "Bud
Kedar "Bud" Pyatt was Project Orion's chief mathematician.

Burt Freeman

Burton E Freeman (July 3, 1924 – October 4, 2016) was an American physicist and explosive engineer who researched the calculated expedition timetables for the American Project Orion nuclear propulsion spacecraft in the 1950s and 60s.

Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C ClarkeSir Arthur C. ClarkeClarke
On November 14, 1959 the one-meter model, also known as "Hot Rod" and "putt-putt", first flew using RDX (chemical explosives) in a controlled flight for 23 seconds to a height of 56 m. Film of the tests has been transcribed to video and were featured on the BBC TV program "To Mars by A-Bomb" in 2003 with comments by Freeman Dyson and Arthur C. Clarke.
* To Mars by A-Bomb: The Secret History of Project Orion (2003)