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Nuclear Pulse Propulsion: Orion and BeyondThe race to the Moon dominated manned space Fight during the 1960's. and culminated in Project Apollo. which placed 12 humans on the Moon Unbeknownst to the public at that time, several U.S. Government agencies sponsored a project that could have conceivably, placed 150 people on the Moon and eventually sent crewed expeditions to Mars and the outer Planets. These feats could have possibly been accomplished during, the same period of time as Apollo. and for approximately the same cost. The project. code-named Orion. featured an extraordinary propulsion method known n as Nuclear Pulse The concept is probably as radical today as t was at the down of the space age. However its development appeared to he so promising that it was only by Political and non-technical considerations that it was not used to extend humanity reach throughout the solar system and quite possible to the stars. This paper discusses the rationale for nuclear pulse propulsion and presents a general history of the concept. focusing particularly on Project Orion. It describes some of the reexaminations being done in this area and discusses some of the new ideas that could mitigate many of the political and environmental issues associated with the concept.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Schmidt, George R.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Bonometti, J. A.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Morton, P. J.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2000-3856
Meeting Information
Meeting: Joint Propulsion
Location: Huntsville, AL
Country: United States
Start Date: July 16, 2000
End Date: July 19, 2000
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Society for Electrical Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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