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Questions tagged [nuclear-pulse-propulsion]

Spacecraft propulsion obtained through frequent controlled explosions of specially modified nuclear or thermonuclear explosive devices under the spacecraft.

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How does NASA have permission to test a nuclear engine?

In this article on nasa.gov (https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-darpa-will-test-nuclear-engine-for-future-mars-missions) it mentions that NASA will test a nuclear rocket engine for future crewed ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
56 views

What is a bimodal or multimodal space rocket engine? Especially a nuclear-powered one?

I can't seem to find a specific answer anywhere.... I wonder if it means using the radioactive fuel to power the electronic equipment, purely via natural decay, but also using the same fuel to power a ...
Kurt Hikes's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Using nuclear detonations for propulsion

The proposed orion propulsion system used nuclear explosions to push against a giant shock absorber and propell it, but from my understanding, nuclear explosions only produce heat and rely on the ...
R. Hall's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
177 views

What are the practical limits of a rocket that receives propellant from the surface?

The Orion spacecraft was supposed to be propelled by igniting nuclear bombs behind it. Its proponents successfully demonstrated the concept using conventional explosives, on a small scale, for a few ...
keepitwiel's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
272 views

Best shape for Orion nuclear pulse-propelled ships?

I have been doing research on Project Orion. There was this big expensive canceled NASA program to build armored spaceships that had to be blasted into space by exploding nuclear charges underneath ...
user75864's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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Competing designs for nuclear pulse-propelled spaceships [duplicate]

I have been doing research on Project Orion. This was a canceled NASA program to build massive spaceships that were blasted into space by exploding nuclear charges. I have seen two schools of design ...
user75864's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
127 views

Storage density of a Deuterium-Helium 3 fusion pellet

in a series I am working on I will be using a D-He3 fusion drive system (similar to the one in the expanse according to Project RHO). I am under the assumption that the fuel will be stored in a pellet ...
Markitect's user avatar
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3 votes
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(Possibly fictional) Can you locate this mysterious Project Orion design with NERVA engines as RCS?

Some years ago, I happened to see a drawing of a hypothetical Project Orion (the Nuclear Pulse Propulsion one) type spaceship, that had the notable (and highly questionable, IMO) feature of having a ...
ikrase's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Are bigger Orion drives more efficient?

I've heard that the larger the pusher plate of an Orion drive, the more efficient it is. Eg: a 20 m Orion drive would be far better than a 6.6 m one. Is this true? If so, why? Source Are these 6.6 ...
Anton Hengst's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Externaly delivered non-nuclear pulse propulsion?

This question asks about the feasibility of an Orion-like pulse propulsion system using chemical explosives instead of nuclear explosives as pulse unit. Unfortunately, those simply lack the energy ...
Eth's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
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What are the non-technical barriers to creating a practical nuclear propulsion system?

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?
Chris B. Behrens's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
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Have prospects for nuclear pulse propulsion improved?

It's been over 50 years since nuclear pulse propulsion using shaped charge fission warheads was first proposed. Have there been any significant technological improvements over the last 50 years that ...
Schlusstein's user avatar
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12 votes
3 answers
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Orion Project (NPP) Pusher Plate computer models and survivability?

Does anyone know of any modern (1990's - present) computer modeling of the Orion pusher plate and its reaction/survivability to repeated plasma impacts? Regarding the 1950s/1960s Orion Project using ...
Kengineer's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Could fusion of Deuterium + Helium3 be started using conventional explosives? [closed]

In regards to project Orion, using conventional explosives for a radiation free launch and in the range of 0.03 up to 0.35 kilotons. What is the smallest amount of fissionable material needed to ...
John's user avatar
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-2 votes
2 answers
228 views

Upper G acceleration limit for a small thorium nuclear reactor and electronics

For a small Orion nuclear pulse probe that is accelerating to 10% light speed: What would be the upper G force acceleration limit for electronics, a small thorium based nuclear reactor, pulse units ...
John's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
1k views

How many pulse units would be required to reach 1% and 10% the speed of light?

For an unmanned probe which can theoretically withstand 100G acceleration, from Lunar orbit, in regards to Project Orion.
John's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
719 views

Does the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty apply to nuclear pulse propulsion and its use in outer space?

Assuming a nuclear pulse propulsion spaceship would be launched to space with conventional chemical rockets and on escape trajectory from Earth, and it would only then start the nuclear pulse engine, ...
John's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
141 views

Fallout in space

With regards to project Orion the nuclear pulse engine, Would the fallout from the nukes detonated in space remain in that corridor that the orion spacecraft passed? Would it be pushed away by the ...
John's user avatar
  • 363
2 votes
0 answers
98 views

Small Deuterium bombs [closed]

With regards to Project Orion, nuclear pulse engine, could the 0.015 kiloton up to 0.35 kiloton Deuterium/Lithium bombs proposed by Freeman Dyson be constructed? Could they be built to leave a small ...
John's user avatar
  • 363
0 votes
1 answer
402 views

Transit times to Mars and Jupiter

What would be the travel time from Earth orbit to Mars and Mars to Jupiter while accelerating at 3g and 5g (to a top speed of 1% light speed), braking halfway between each transit point?
John's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
1k views

3-5% lightspeed?

I recently saw a documentary about Project Orion - nuclear pulse engine - that would reach a staggering 3-5% of the speed of light. How long would a ship take to get to Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn at ...
John's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
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Boeing US pat. 9,068,562: inertial confinement fusion engine (D-T pellet gun)

A team of Boeing employees (Budica/Herzberg/Chandler 1) have patented an inertial confinement fusion engine (the basic principle going back to C.D.Orth's VISTA from 1999 and Rod Hyde's 1983 ICF ...
Deer Hunter's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
836 views

Why isn't Project Orion the new space race? [closed]

With a huge robust ship you could go get an ice-teroid. With effectively unlimited reaction mass, finely balanced trajectories become unnecessary and launch windows a thing of the past. A pulsed ...
Peter Wone's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Feasibility of Project Orion

How feasible was Project Orion and how feasible would it be if started today? Specifically, what would be the real world impact of nuclear fallout? And, would there be methods to mitigate or eliminate ...
matthew spear's user avatar
21 votes
1 answer
835 views

Is there any ongoing research in nuclear pulse propulsion?

Nuclear pulse propulsion seemed to be quite actively researched up until the 1990's, with a few projects that saw some rather promising results (some that could theoretically reach over 4% light speed....
berry120's user avatar
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