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Project Orion/Project Daedalus

shadowcat48li

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I am looking for information on Project Orion/Daedalus[British name for roughly the same thing]
this was an early nuclear powered spacecraft that used focused nuclear explosions for thrust.
 

Michel Van

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Orion in this forum
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,4306.0/highlight,orion.html
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3869.0/highlight,orion.html
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5271.0/highlight,orion.html
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3295.0/highlight,orion.html
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5234.0/highlight,orion.html

Orion external links
here look in eAPR on Orion, only $23 (18,3€) Buy them !
http://www.up-ship.com/eAPR/ev1n3.htm
http://www.up-ship.com/eAPR/ev1n4.htm
http://www.up-ship.com/eAPR/ev1n5.htm

Project Daedalus

its the first "real" design for Interstellar flyby probe to Barnard's Star (5 lightyears from here)
made by the British Interplanetary Society,
Conducted between 1973 and 1978 by a group of a dozen scientists and engineers, led by Alan Bond
the Space Ship is a two stage with Laser Fusion engine fueled by deuterium and helium-3 pellets
after ignition the Probe accelerated next two years to 7.1 % of the speed of light
After the stage separation. the second stage accelerated for 1.8 years, to 12% of the speed of light
the probe reach Barnard's Star in 50 years after launch
25 years before arrival, Probe begin examining the area around Barnard's Star for Target planets
and drop probes at flyby true Barnard's Star system
receive the data and transmit them to Solarsystem

external links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Daedalus
http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/D/Daedalus.html
 

Proponent

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The British Interplanetary Society sells a CD-ROM of the Daedalus report:

http://www.bis-spaceflight.com/sitesia.aspx/page/297/Node/108/l/en-us
 

aemann

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And I've done quite a few renderings of both, which you can find at:

http://www.bisbos.com/rocketscience/spacecraft/daedalus/daedalus.html

and here:

http://www.bisbos.com/rocketscience/spacecraft/orion/index.html

Enjoy!
 

Abraham Gubler

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BBC documentary on Project Orion on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZykIALRVbak&feature=PlayList&p=F55480456E2C4811&index=0&playnext=1
 

XP67_Moonbat

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NUCLEAR PULSE VEHICLE STUDY-Conceptual Designs & Operational Sytems (U) brought to you by NASA Marshall.

176 pages of Orion goodness! Some nice illustrations. Check out pages 50, 66, & 113 for starters.


http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/GA-5009vIII.pdf
 

Matej

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Nice article with the screenshots from the video of a (very) scaled down Orion model:

http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/10/project-orion-powered-by-atomic-bomb.html
 

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Nik

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Project Orion Thumb-print

Wasn't that 'flying dustbin' test series (in)famous for serendipitously solving the ablation problem ?


IIRC, after one test, a glassy thumb-print was found, standing in relief above the rest of the heat-shield...


It was traced to owner and hence to a silicone grease used for the 'quickfirer', then promptly adopted as a shield coating. On up-scaled version, a spray system was hastily proposed to renew the coating...


I know the *nuclear* Orion concept was independently immortalised by Niven/Pournelle in 'Footfall' and as 'Orion Shall Rise', by Poul Anderson. A non-nuclear design appeared in Pournelle's 'King David's Spaceship', a notion to rival the pre-war BIS' solid-rocket lunar mission proposal for technical audacity...
 

Orionblamblam

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Re: Project Orion Thumb-print

Nik said:
Wasn't that 'flying dustbin' test series (in)famous for serendipitously solving the ablation problem ?
IIRC, after one test, a glassy thumb-print was found, standing in relief above the rest of the heat-shield...
Not quite. The thumb print was notice after a plasma test on a laboratory static test article. Not on Putt-Putt or Lew Allen's Balls or any "real world" test items.
 

OM

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its the first "real" design for Interstellar flyby probe to Barnard's Star (5 lightyears from here) made by the British Interplanetary Society,
...Since Van de Kamp's claims of a planetary system around Barnard's Star have been refuted at least three times by the planet hunters, has the BIS ever bothered to revamp Project Daedalus for another target star?
 

Michel Van

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blackstar

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It's amazing how much more real stuff seems when there's a hard-rockin' beat.
 

gwiz

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OM said:
...Since Van de Kamp's claims of a planetary system around Barnard's Star have been refuted at least three times by the planet hunters, has the BIS ever bothered to revamp Project Daedalus for another target star?
Hardly worth it. The claims were refuted before the Daedalus report was issued and anyway the vehicle could reach other stars, just a difference in journey time.
 

Archibald

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Stunning ! I've heard of the successful TNT tests of subscale Orions, but never saw the video before. Seeing that little shell climbing higher and higher, explosion after explosion (and in slow motion) is amazing. Makes me an Orion believer.
Some questions.
Is there no way to build a small, non-nuclear Orion as a SSTO ?
Let's say that Saturn V set the weight of a launch vehicle at 4000 tons. Can't 4000 tons of TNT propell "little Orion" into Earth orbit with some payload ?
Something has to be done with that amazing concept, even if nukes are controversial...
 

Orionblamblam

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Archibald said:
Can't 4000 tons of TNT propell "little Orion" into Earth orbit with some payload ?
No. The specific impulse of a chemical Orion would be truly awful compared to good chemical rockets. If you posit theretical explosives such as metallic hydrogen or metastable helium or C20, then perhaps... but even using HMX or RDX, a chemical Orion just won't come close to making it to orbit.

Think of it this way: a 4,000 ton Orion would use pulse units with a yield of 5 to 30 kilotons. That means the energy equivalent of a minimum of 5,000 tons of TNT. And that's per pulse, roughly one a second for 800 to 1000 seconds to get to orbit. So if you had 4,000 tons of TNT, you'd get the energy equivalent of less than a single pulse unit... and you'd have no ship left, since the whole thing was made out of TNT with no room left for payload or structure.
 

chuck4

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Archibald said:
Stunning ! I've heard of the successful TNT tests of subscale Orions, but never saw the video before. Seeing that little shell climbing higher and higher, explosion after explosion (and in slow motion) is amazing. Makes me an Orion believer.
Some questions.
Is there no way to build a small, non-nuclear Orion as a SSTO ?
Let's say that Saturn V set the weight of a launch vehicle at 4000 tons. Can't 4000 tons of TNT propell "little Orion" into Earth orbit with some payload ?
Something has to be done with that amazing concept, even if nukes are controversial...

Chemical explosives are real losers as far as giving space craft kenetic energy. They give out comparative little energy over all (low energy) compare to equivalent weight of cryogenic fuel. They only look spectacular because they give out their little energy in very rapid bursts (high power).
 

Archibald

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Ah, thank you for the explanations. Bottom line: one can't compromise with the Orion concept. It works with nuclear bombs, or it bust.
 

Orionblamblam

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Pretty much, yeah. The pulse units can of course be the size of a pea, initiated by relativistic particle bombardment, massively powerful laser beams, magnetic fields strong enough to rip the iron out of your hemoglobin, anti-protons or even just a really fast chunk of iron.he overwhelming major.. but tity of the energy produced has to come from fission or fusion to really make the enterprise worthwhile. interestingly, the bigger you get, the better it performs. A nuclear pulse vehicle could be stuffed into a Shuttle cargo bay (there was at one time hope among some at NASA-MSFC to study jsut that, but I don't know if it got any further than the talkin'-about stage), but the perfromance would have been unspectacular by nuke-pulse standards.
 

Rhinocrates

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As an addendum, there is the Mini-mag Orion that Andrews Space studied - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini-Mag_Orion and http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=1430 plus more... also Z-pinch, hear a Space Show discussion at http://thespaceshow.com/detail.asp?q=1869 (there are links to material).


It's fusion as opposed to fission, but it's still the pulsed nuclear propulsion principle. Compared to Orion, thrust would be low, but the ISP would be terrific.
 

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Triton said:
Project Orion (1958)

http://youtu.be/Pcidu6ppcFg
Great video! I had seen videos of the Hot Rod test vehicle (shown at the end) but had never see the rest. At about 7:15 in you can see the charges being ejected prior to detonation. (If you have a bigger screen this might be visible elsewhere.) Thanks for sharing this!
 

OM

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...Interesting point/question about how far advanced they'd gotten regarding the one Daedalus concept "minor nit pick". IIRC, the idea for the ablative on the compressor plate at one point had evolved from the original flat plate design with just the steel itself to ablate based on the Trinity tower remains analysis, to graphite laid thick over a hemisphere as a more efficient "butt to kick", to graphite being sprayed in between each pulse to recoat the hemisphere. The question here is whether the studies had gone into such deep a detail as to address how to deploy such a spray in zero-g and have it actually stick to the inside of the hemisphere.


Food for thought. Anyone care to bite? :p
 

quellish

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Hadn't seen this posted before, but should be of interest to some members.
Memoir of Dr. Tony Zuppero, who worked on several nuclear rocket programs and was an Orion enthusiast.
http://www.neofuel.com/inhabit/inhabit.pdf


Would material on the Soviet equivalent of Orion be appropriate for this topic as well?
 

Michel Van

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quellish said:
Would material on the Soviet equivalent of Orion be appropriate for this topic as well?

oh yes
you can try here
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5271.0.html
 

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Couple of "notes" on the External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion, (EPPP which is the "official" title these days :)) there has been more recent work done involving an Orion-EPPP surface based "Inteceptor" Comet/Asteroid Defense system though the only "public" paper I've seen is the following, named "Gabriel":
http://reference.kfupm.edu.sa/content/e/x/external_pulsed_plasma_propulsion_and_it_89696.pdf

Also some general information here:
https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/mragheb/www/NPRE%20402%20ME%20405%20Nuclear%20Power%20Engineering/Nuclear%20and%20Plasma%20Space%20Propulsion.pdf

Though I can't seem to find it at the moment there was also a little bit of an "update" several years ago with the idea of Ground-Launching and Orion-EPPP using chemical explosives initially. It was pointed out that using chemical explosives, including the so-called "Super-High-Explosive" or SHE types, (basically really powerfull explosives that are not "military" usable because of some basic faults in the chemistry, such as auto-detonation due to instability build up after 6 months in storage, etc, that MIGHT not "hinder" their immediate use as propulsion :) ) AS LONG AS THE VEHICLE HAD TO CARRY the full propellant load.

The suggested solution? "Beamed" delivery by Very-Rapid-Fire Cannon until the Orion-EPPP reaches altitude to fire off the first Nuke. The idea was only mentioned in passing IIRC but it was totally serious down to some suggestions for the base Gun to be used (Navel 5-inch going as far as a possible "gattling" configuration) and suggestions on how to ensure the rounds detonate short of the blast-plate of the vehicle. :)
One of those "Wacky-but-Workable" ideas that make you go, Huh? WTF? Cool!

And there is always the Nuclear Verne Gun as long as you're not planning on sending up anything "fragile" like people in the initial shot :)
http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/03/150-kiloton-nuclear-verne-gun.html

Randy
 

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Ye may find the below of interest:


http://cyberneticzoo.com/teleoperators/1973-8-daedalus-wardens-concept-bond-martin-et-al-british/​
 

Michel Van

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This are not the Roboter, that maintain the Daedalus probe

That's manned space tug for construction of Deadalus probe in orbit of Jupiter Moon Callisto (see attach picture one )
Jupiter serve as source for Daedalus probe propellant, "mining" by refinery hanging under Ballon in Atmosphere of Jupiter

The probe would have two "Wardens" robot, how take care of probe during long voyage to Barnard Star (see attach picture two & three )
Next to that Daedalus carry dozens probes that release near Barnard Star to investigate the Star and potential planetary system.
 

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Grey Havoc

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Sorry Michel, I should have clarified which of the spacecraft in the article the image was of. Thanks for helping to avoid any confusion!
 

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A question to Orion experts of this forum.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B61_Family
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B61_nuclear_bomb

Would it be possible to use B61 nuclear weapons for Orion ?

The B61 is a variable yield, kiloton-range weapon called "Full Fuzing Option"(FUFO) or "Dial-a-yield" by many service personnel. Tactical versions (Mods 3, 4, and 10) can be set to 0.3, 1.5, 5, 10, 45, 60, 80, or 170 kiloton explosive yield (depending on version).[
Total production of all versions was approximately 3,155
 

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As is?

Too much shrapnel, no blast channeling, and no 'fuel' to vaporize and throw at the pusher-plate. And how do you fuze that nasty old B61 to go off after being shot from the 'gun'? And how do you store, handle, and convey those big bomb-looking things from ready-storage to the breech of the gun in only seconds?

George Dyson showed how a properly designed Orion bomb (impulse unit) would look and function. Get the book.

The system was much more than a means of shooting off retired military weapons to push a rocket around.

David
 

sferrin

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Archibald said:
A question to Orion experts of this forum.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B61_Family
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B61_nuclear_bomb

Would it be possible to use B61 nuclear weapons for Orion ?

The B61 is a variable yield, kiloton-range weapon called "Full Fuzing Option"(FUFO) or "Dial-a-yield" by many service personnel. Tactical versions (Mods 3, 4, and 10) can be set to 0.3, 1.5, 5, 10, 45, 60, 80, or 170 kiloton explosive yield (depending on version).[
Total production of all versions was approximately 3,155
Why? We need them as bombs. (Since we forgot how to make new and there won't be more.)
 

Orionblamblam

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Archibald said:
Would it be possible to use B61 nuclear weapons for Orion ?
In much the same way you could use an M-1 Abrahms main battle tank as a tow truck. Sure, you *could,* but it'd be very badly optimized.
 

Archibald

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Winterberg is very critical of current efforts to compress fusion fuel via lasers because to be sufficiently energetic the lasers would be destroyed in the process. Winterberg turns this problem into a virtue by using an explosion-pumped laser-beam

– a shaped cylinder of hexogen explosive detonates at 8 km/s and compresses a rod of solid argon, thus pumping its atoms into a UV laser-emitting state. This intense UV laser-beam then compresses a deuterium-tritium fuel target that in turn causes a bigger D-D fusion explosion.
https://www.centauri-dreams.org/2009/01/23/a-workable-fusion-starship/

So let me try to understand the thing right:
- the explosives goes kaboom
- the explosion compresses the rod of argon
- and then the argon/explosive device somewhat shoot a UV laser beam (just like Teller Excalibur detonated a nuke to get a "one shot expendable laser" ?)
- and then the laser beam is used to ignite a thermonuclear fusion (Nova or NIF style)

I have a simple question. Does it works with current technology ? What are the unknowns / issues with that idea ?

I'm interested by it since I red on Orionblamblam blog, this could bring back Orion through solem's Medusa (the one with the sail).
 

Orionblamblam

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Archibald said:
– a shaped cylinder of hexogen explosive detonates at 8 km/s and compresses a rod of solid argon, thus pumping its atoms into a UV laser-emitting state.

I have a simple question. Does it works with current technology ?
A laser pumped by a rod of solid noble gas? Bah. Been done. Mid-80's tech. Not useful in war, but great for popcorn.
 

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Archibald

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Nice videos, nice humor. Still doesn't answer my question ;)
 
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