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Military Orions (nuclear pulse propulsion)

Orionblamblam

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Busily working away on the next issue of Aerospace Projects Review, with the main article being on the 10-meter baseline Orion designs for the USAF and NASA. Part of the article deals with some suggested military roles for the smaller sized Orions, including ground-based command and control, space based command and control and deep-space-based military retaliation (those who picked up "US Bomber Projects Preview" have seen something on the latter). Still putting together the diagrams, but I thought some might be interested in this not-quite-complete compilation of 8, 10 and 12-meter military Orions. More details to follow in APR issue V1N5.

http://www.up-ship.com/eAPR/index.htm
 

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robunos

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that's the first picture i've seen of an Orion with the pusher plate in the 'pushed' position, looking forward to the next eAPR,

cheers,
Robin.
 

Orionblamblam

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robunos said:
that's the first picture i've seen of an Orion with the pusher plate in the 'pushed' position,
Maximum compression for launch... the system would be unpressurized, collapsed, locked into place and then pressurized. After first stage burnout, the locking clamps would be released, and the Orion would spring off of the booster. Just better make sure everythign is in it's proper place...

This next issue will show the 10-meter baseline in great detail, including both extremes in shock absorber stroke.
 

Michel Van

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in the BBC Doku about Orion
they talk of a USAF "Doomsday" Orion proposal

unmanned launch in to orbit
with a one H-bomb in weight of a Orion Payload !!!

something of 1500 tons or 3306933 lb.
a Teller–Ulam design would make 3000 mega ton

Real or Fake ?


more on Teller–Ulam design and biggest H-Bomb of all time
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H_bomb
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsar_Bomba
 

McTodd

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Not fake - but probably bonkers! ;D

George Dyson (Freeman's son) discusses it in his excellent book Project Orion: The Atomic Spaceship 1957-1965. He refers to it (on p.200) as "the Horrible Weapon, [a] 1,650-ton continent-buster hanging over the enemy's head as a deterrent." Various of the physicists debated how effective it could be. Pierre Noyes felt it 'wasn't much of a weapon' as a cloudy day would stop much of the radiation reaching the ground. Ted Taylor, on the other hand, felt that such a payload, lofted by the 4,000-ton vehicle, could destroy half the planet.

But it wasn't a serious proposal for a weapon, rather it was one of many studies examined during a time when the Orioneers were pursuing any and all ideas with enthusiasm.
 

Ravenor

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That would have been a 3 gigaton weapon...that is indeed bonkers :eek:
 

sferrin

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Ravenor said:
That would have been a 3 gigaton weapon...that is indeed bonkers :eek:
Going by the yield per ton of the 25Mt Mk41 it would be closer to 7 gigatons.
 

XB-35

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Hi,

I just hope that we will see Orion (USAF and NASA versions) in model kit form in 1/144 or 1/72 in a near future in the "fantastic-Plastic" range !

Regards,

XB-35
 

moin1900

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Is this the 1650-ton continent-buster ?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xeni/272465097/in/set-72157594329917915/
Are there better pictures?
Thanks
 

Michel Van

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moin1900 said:
Hi everybody

Is this the 1650-ton continent-buster ? ? ? ???
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xeni/272465097/in/set-72157594329917915/
No
that USAF Orion Orbital Platform (4000 tons)
makes a retaliatory strike on USSR

from book "Project Orion" by George Dyson
 

moin1900

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Hi everybody

To Michel :Thank you for the information !
Are there more such projects ?

Many Thanks
 

Skybolt

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The so called continent buster would have been much less effective than a cluster of lesser bombs. The greatest part of the force of the explosion would have been lost in space.
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Orion,

Good artwork, man. If my budget allows it again, I look forward to buying the APR with this excellent work.

But, I just read the section of "Military Space Technlogy" I read the recounting of Kennedy's reaction to the Orion Battleship model and I was wondering if any pictures of that model have finally surfaced. I'd love to see it.
 

moin1900

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Hi everybody

I'd love to see a picture or sketch of the 1650-ton continent buster !
Any chance to show us a little picture or sketch ?

Many greetings and thanks a lot for help
 

moin1900

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Orions
http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/orion.htm
http://www.bisbos.com/rocketscience/spacecraft/orion/index.html
But I still have not found a picture or drawing of the "Continent Buster".
Who can help ?
Many Thanks in advance
 

Orionblamblam

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moin1900 said:
But I still have not found a picture or drawing of the "Continent Buster". :'(
Who can help ?
Probably nobody. Chances are good that no drawing was ever created of the bomb, since it was just a math excercise.
 

moin1900

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Hi everybody

To Orionblamblam: Thanks for your reply !
After I read some Websites, I am very confused !

The Continent Buster
What is it ?
Is it only a very big nuclear bomb or a nuclear rocket carrier like the 12m Orion Bomber ? (or both)
Is it a 1650 ton vehicle or a 4000 ton vehicle ?
Any dimensions known ?
What is a Casana-Howitzer ? (The Pusher-Plate as Weapon ? )
The 1650ton Continent Buster is only the payload of a 4000ton Orion vehicle ?

"The so called continent buster would have been much less effective than a cluster of lesser bombs. The greatest part of the force of the explosion would have been lost in space."
Why ? Is the continent buster only a big nuclear bomb ?

Here the 12m Orion Bomber
http://damonmoran.blogspot.com/
Here the USAF 4000ton orbital platform
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xeni/272465097/in/set-72157594329917915/
Are this the same ?

The Websites
http://www.make-digital.com/make/vol13/?pg=182 (Page 180-183)(Deep Space Force)
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3282.15.html
http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/orion/

Maybe we can answer some of my questions?

THANKS A LOT FOR HELP and Many greetings
 

Michel Van

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What is a Casana-Howitzer ?
a weapon system for USAF Orion but its still today classified "Top Secret"
maybe a X-ray laser trigger by Nuke ?

The 1650ton Continent Buster is only the payload of a 4000ton Orion vehicle ?
yes

Any dimensions known ?
on a math excercise ??
using Czar H-bomb 25 tons mass for 50 Mega Tons TNT as reverence
1650 T /25 T = 66 x 50 MT = 3300 MT or 3.3 GIGA tons TNT :eek:
so much to math excercise ...

Why ? Is the continent buster only a big nuclear bomb ?
the Continent Buster is a Doomsday device
in begin of 1960s RAND strategist Herman Kahn proposed those "device"
concept was: "we have Weapon that destroy the World, you try to attack us, we use it !"
and they were very popular in 1960s media see movie "Dr Strangelove"
lucky for us no one build those things
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_weapon
 

flateric

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You should find and read http://www.amazon.com/Project-Orion-Story-Atomic-Spaceship/dp/0805072845/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220902255&sr=8-1
You'll momentally have 90% of questions off.
 

OM

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...The difference between Orion and an Ion drive always reminded me of the old Mazda commercial:

"Piston engine goes PLONGK PLONGK PLONKG!
But the Mazda goes hummmmmmmmmmmm..."
 

Orionblamblam

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Michel Van said:
What is a Casana-Howitzer ?
a weapon system for USAF Orion but its still today classified "Top Secret"
maybe a X-ray laser trigger by Nuke ?

More of a shaped-charge bomb than an X-Ray laser. Somehow or other, it supposedly focussed a large percentage of the bombs energy into a reasonably collimated "beam."
 

moin1900

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Hi everybody

THANKS ! Thanks a lot for answering my questions !
Michel and Orionblamblam
Great ! Super !

Here are some USAF Orion designs
Are these designs realistic ? (for a Space-Battleship)
http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/~seb/celestia/orion/index.html
http://www.lepp.cornell.edu/~seb/celestia/orion/images/orion-40kt.jpg
http://spacebombardment.blogspot.com/2006/10/lowther-on-usaf-orion-space-battleship.html

I have heard of drawing from a NEXUS rocket with a 4000ton Orion vehicle ?
Maybe someone can show us this drawing ?

Thanks again and Many greetings
 

moin1900

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Hi everybody

THANKS for the very GREAT drawing ! Orionblamblam
Is there an existing drawing of the Orion "Battleship"
or was it only a wood model ?

Was this Orion "Battleship" also a 4000-ton vehicle ?
(? Any dimensions of the Orion-Battleship known ?)
What was the task of the Orion-Battleship ?

MANY THANKS for the help and Many greetings
 

MihoshiK

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Orionblamblam said:
Michel Van said:
What is a Casana-Howitzer ?
a weapon system for USAF Orion but its still today classified "Top Secret"
maybe a X-ray laser trigger by Nuke ?

More of a shaped-charge bomb than an X-Ray laser. Somehow or other, it supposedly focussed a large percentage of the bombs energy into a reasonably collimated "beam."
IIRC It's a weaponized form of the "pulse units" that propelled the Orion. Those projected a significant percentage of their energy as a stream of plasma at the Orion's pusher plate by focussing part of the bomb's radiation onto a thin but dense plate of metal (tungsten for example) which would then vaporize and form a sigar shaped cloud of plasma flowing rapidly away from the bomb's detonation. Apparently variations in the thickness of the metal plate could alter the shape and size of the plasma stream, so it's no big stretch to see that it could be used as a weapon. It's basically a shaped nuclear charge.

And of course, all of this makes sense. Anything that can give the kind of push that was needed to propel Orion would also be useful as a weapon. It's Larry Niven's Kzinti Lesson:
"A reaction drive's efficiency as a weapon is in direct proportion to its efficiency as a drive."
 

fredgell

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Slightly tangential but some might find this site and links interesting re Orion type developments.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2007_08_01_archive.html

regards

Fred
 

moin1900

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Hi everybody

Here the amazing Orions
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=1725#comments
WOW COOL SUPER GREAT !

Some questions about the "BATTLESHIP"

These tubes above the 5-inch gun turrets, are these the "SPECIAL" howitzers ? (The red thing)
http://up-ship.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/orionbattleship-firing2.jpg

What is the thing in the nose ? A telescope ?
http://up-ship.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/coverart2.jpg

Are these dimensions right ?
height 250 feet ?
diameter 85 feet ?

Many Thanks in advance
 

Orionblamblam

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moin1900 said:
These tubes above the 5-inch gun turrets, are these the "SPECIAL" howitzers ? (The red thing)
http://up-ship.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/orionbattleship-firing2.jpg
Yes.

What is the thing in the nose ? A telescope ?
http://up-ship.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/coverart2.jpg
Yes.

Are these dimensions right ?
height 250 feet ?
diameter 85 feet ?
Close...
 

zerstorer1946

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I aint gonna doubt that i find this subject extremely amazing, but to think people even considered a maths excercise/idea of a "doomsday weapon" that size (!!)in the first place, scares the living s#%* out of me.
 

dreamstar

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The sheer scale of this machines is awe inspiring and terrifying.

Having a thought recently after watching the BBC documentry "To Mars by A-bomb." Freeman Dyson expressed worries over the deaths associated with the fallout from the bombs detonated in the atmosphere. But today, since we have had technological advances, we can substitute the nuclear bombs previously used for the atmospheric stage of the flight for thermobaric bombs (FAB) like the Russian Father Of All Bombs (FOAB) since these have the same power as a small nuclear bomb but with no fallout. At higher altitudes the FAB can have ana element of oxygen within them to increase their efficiency. The nuclear bombs can then take over when the fallout risk level has decreased sufficiently.
 

Orionblamblam

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dreamstar said:
But today, since we have had technological advances, we can substitute the nuclear bombs previously used for the atmospheric stage of the flight for thermobaric bombs (FAB) like the Russian Father Of All Bombs (FOAB) since these have the same power as a small nuclear bomb but with no fallout.
Sadly, no. A nuke for an Orion needs to have yields in the low kiloton range... maybe 1 kiloton for a small vehicle, 25 or so for a 4,000 ton vehicle. That's 25,000,000 kilograms TNT equivalent. Some chemical bombs that utilize air might be able to have a slightly better than TNT energy per mass equivalent, bt you're simply not going to be able to carry bombs of that size. The 4,000 ton orion would need TNT bombs weighing 25,000 tons... and it would need about 1,000 of them. Cut the TNT weight in hald and you're still getting nowhere.
 

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we can substitute the nuclear bombs previously used for the atmospheric stage of the flight for thermobaric bombs (FAB) like the Russian Father Of All Bombs (FOAB) since these have the same power as a small nuclear bomb but with no fallout
It's not raw power that matters, it's power per unit weight. FOAB has a mass of several tonnes - assuming Wikipedia is correct (the numbers seem to be referenced), 7 tons for 44 tons yield. Offhand, a multi-kiloton nuclear device will have a mass of a couple of hundred kilograms.

RP1
 

dreamstar

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Thank you RP1 and Orionblamblam for your answers. It was just an idea after all. :)
 

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In practice, would the 2nd stage shock absorbers be enclosed in a shroud to protect them from space debris?
 

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i just got the APR .. thnak you, orionblamblam for a very interesting issue

..............

one thing i did not understand about the battleship orion reconstruction was the complex launcher system for the Casaba Howitzer with aimed launch tubes .. the follwing is not a critism, just a question to understandt the rationale for the system chosen in the reconstuction

since a Casaba Howitzer round needs to have an attitude control system (acs) for aiming and a rocket engine for launch why not using it to launch it from fixes tubes .. either one-shot VLS or a reloadable "torpedo tube"

lauch from tube with a small gas generator, use acs to reorient for dispersal, fire rocket engine, coast a few seconds to get to safety distance from the orion, during the coast use the acs to reorient for aiming (that should give you enough time to get a stable aiming solution), initate bomb

this would eliminate the complex and prone to failure moving launch tube, keeping all the moving mechanical parts of the reload mechanism inside the ship where it can be serviced without a space suit - abd since the reload movements would also be simpler it might also speed up firing speed (no need for complex movents to align launcher tube with loading mechanism)

looking forward to your answers
 

Abraham Gubler

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agricola64 said:
since a Casaba Howitzer round needs to have an attitude control system (acs) for aiming and a rocket engine for launch why not using it to launch it from fixes tubes .. either one-shot VLS or a reloadable "torpedo tube"
Then it would be a Casaba "Howitzer", it would be a Casaba Torpedo... ;)
 
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