Encyclopedia Astronautica
Orion Starship - Ablative


American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The ablative version of Dyson's starship would be smaller and faster then the heat sink version. It would have a mass of 100,000 tons unloaded and be equipped with 300,000 one megaton bombs.

It would accelerate in ten days to 10,000 km/sec, a velocity of 1 parsec per century. It therefore could reach Alpha Centauri in 130 years and would cost only one tenth of a GNP, or $ 150 per kilogramme of payload.

Status: Design 1968.
Gross mass: 500,000,000 kg (1,100,000,000 lb).

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See also
  • Orion Nuclear-pulse drive launch vehicle seriously developed by General Atomics in the United States from 1955-1965. The design allowed vast payloads of hundreds of tons to be hurled to the planets. By 1958 the Orion team saw themselves in direct competition with Von Braun's chemical rockets. They hoped to a land a huge manned expedition on Mars by 1964 and tour the moons of Saturn by 1970. However politically NASA would not argue for the exception to the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty necessary to allow firing of nuclear explosions in space. More...

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