- uploaded: Aug 9, 2012
- Hits: 1320
To Mars By the A Bomb - The Secret History of Project Orion (BBC Documentary)
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). Early versions of this vehicle were proposed to have taken off from the ground with significant associated nuclear fallout; later versions were presented for use only in space.
A 1955 Los Alamos Laboratory document states (without offering references) that general proposals were first made by Stanislaw Ulam in 1946, and that preliminary calculations were made by F. Reines and Ulam in a Los Alamos memorandum dated 1947. 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, US to work on the project.
The Orion concept offered high thrust and high specific impulse, or propellant efficiency, at the same time. The unprecedented extreme power requirements for doing so would be met by nuclear explosions, of such power relative to the vehicle's mass as to be survived only by using external detonations without attempting to contain them in internal structure.
As a qualitative comparison, traditional chemical rockets—such as the Saturn V that took the Apollo program to the Moon—produce high thrust with low specific impulse, whereas electric ion engines produce a small amount of thrust very efficiently.
Orion would have offered performance greater than the most advanced conventional or nuclear rocket engines then under consideration. Supporters of Project Orion felt that it had potential for cheap interplanetary travel, but it lost political approval over concerns with fallout from its propulsion. The Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 is generally acknowledged to have ended the project.
FAIR USE NOTICE: The material on this channel is provided solely for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Infringement of copyright is not intended. The material is made available to help educate people about health related issues. It is believed that this constitutes a 'FAIR USE' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17, section 107 of the US Copyright Law. The material is distributed without profit to those who would like to use such material for research and educational purposes. FAIR USE NOTICE The use of the media material found on this channel is protected by the Fair Use Clause of the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, which allows for the rebroadcast of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary, criticism, and education.
This site may contain copyrighted material whose use has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Users may make such material available in an effort to advance awareness and understanding of issues relating to civil rights, economics, individual rights, international affairs, liberty, science & technology, etc. We believe this constitutes a
'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C.Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.