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You can carve it however you want - it can be purely extra-orbital, it can be NERVA, it can be Orion. What are the specific legal and political barriers that prevent it from being implemented?

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    $\begingroup$ Don't forget public opinion $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen May 6 '17 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I would file that under "political". I mean, is it as simple as "transporting nuclear materials to space isn't safe", or is it more complicated than that? Because that's a solvable problem. You can absolutely construct a launch vessel that can survive a catastrophic failure X2. So, I think it must be more complicated than that. $\endgroup$ – Chris B. Behrens May 6 '17 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ Someone flagged this as 'opinion-based', but I can imagine there are legal barriers to (or requirements for) using/launching thermonuclear reactors... Political is different, but even for that there may have been historical facts or precedents. $\endgroup$ – Jan Doggen May 6 '17 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ "You can absolutely construct a launch vessel that can survive a catastrophic failure X2. " Really? What do you mean by vessel? And catastrophic? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble May 8 '17 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ Well, specifically, I'm referring to a vessel that would protect nuclear materials (and probably just the nuclear materials) from a catastrophic failure such that rather than failing, the vessel would fall to Earth intact. It would be very heavy and expensive. $\endgroup$ – Chris B. Behrens May 8 '17 at 15:51

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