Re: Project Orion Reborn.

Posted by
Wayne Smith on Feb 12, 2004 at 17:55

Re: Project Orion Reborn. (Pasti)

Sorry but I didn't see this reply earlier. I just noticed it higher up on the forum list.

"you have to admit that the cannon is the most logical means to prove the principle.Which makes you think about certain competency issue of the PI's in the project"

Some brilliant engineers worked on this project and they may indeed have performed cannon tests. How do you know they diodn't? I seriously doubt they overlooked anything obvious. Remember that only parts of this research have become available to the public and you have admitted you aren't very familiar with what has been released to date. In retrospect its easy to say they should have done this or that.

"But they involved theorists nevertheless (Dyson being the obvious example) in futile calculations and designs at that point,without knowing if the project will actually survive.This is bad management, to say the least."

Everyone pitched in. It was very much like the Manhattan Project. I think you have too much faith in managerial systems. Take a look at Nasa. A classic example of over management. Too much paper pushing and too little work.

"You mean it was not in the proposal they submitted,but it was in the revised proposal when the grant was approved?This is not quite last minute, you know.Not in term of the research they started AFTER the grant was approved."

It was ARPA that originally decreed no modelling. Mixson authorised the model program and risked a court martial over it. Official authorisation slowly followed. Money was scarce and it wasn't even programmed yet but General Atomic was given the green light and they built it. The model helped to keep the program alive a little longer but not even new support from Von Braun could save it.

"A few milimeters of what you call ablation (I would call it simply vaporization) is an enormous amount of vaporized material. Let's make a rough estimate.Say at 3 meters you have 3 mm of vaporized material.At 60 m, which I think is the proposed detonation distance from the pusher plate, that would roughly mean......"

Ok, I looked it up. I was referring to experiments conducted at the Eniwetok proving grounds. Graphite-covered steel spheres were suspended thirty feet from the center of an atomic explosion. The spheres were later found intact; a thin layer of graphite had been ablated from their surfaces. My bad. No steel was "vapourised". This was prior to the start of the Project.

"You don't need to have classified material to understand certain aspects of the project and estimate the problem that arise."

Nonsense. Sorry, but you are clutching at straws. Science is not all fixed extrapolations and assumptions. Your disrespect for a team who worked nearly half a century ago is irksome in light of your lack of knowledge.

"Definitely it's not.On the scale you are talking about, solid fuel engines, or even jet engines become feasible and much more efficient (less power loss, more maneuvrabbility, retro jets, etc)."

Like Sea Dragon? For someone so certain of what common sense is you have a surprisingly short measure of it. Chemical fuels are far too weak and dangerous. A mountain of fuel just to put a proverbial pea in orbit. Even the Saturn required FIVE stages for a simple moonshot. You are talking about giant fireworks. Unpredictable and deadly with about the same living space as a coffin. No atomic bomb has ever accidentally detonated. Orion is the only sensible system of launching a massive payload into deep space.

"Should I assume that people like you are responsible for teh waste of money at NASA and for the lives lost in the process?"

If it was up to me the bulk of funding would have been redirected to Orion back in 1957. Chemical rockets are next to useless and death traps besides.

Project Orion

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