Project Orion Ground Launch.

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by ProjectOrion, Sep 20, 2004.

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  1. ProjectOrion Banned Banned

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    TruthSeeker,
    Maybe you should change your name to fantasyseeker. We are orders of magnitude away from He3 fusion and the only major source of fuel within reach is the moon. It isn't even the easiest steady fusion technology we hope to obtain (someday in the distant future).

    Geodesic,
    It was a funded program from 1957-65 and much ongoing research in the military has furthered aspects of it. The feasibility is beyond question and it utilises existing technology requiring only adaptive alterations.

    Phlog,
    Like I said, acceptable risk. None of that would matter greatly in Antarctica. Even catastrophic rocket failure wouldn't result in loss of life as the crew could be ferried up separately.
     
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  3. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Oh really? This system could safely handle a catastrophic failure now could it?

    Without poisoning Antarctica?

    And what are the supposed 'benefits' that the IMMENSE risks are supposed to bring?

    We don't need to go into space, we only do it because we can. There's plenty of everything we need under our feet, all we have to do is dig.
     
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  5. DeeCee Valued Senior Member

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    Don't like the ground launch deal.
    Assemble the bugger in orbit if you don't mind.
    As for antartica...
    If Orion fails 60 clicks up wheres all that vapourised debris gonna go?

    If you want ground based jollys go build a space elevator.
    Dee Cee
     
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  7. geodesic "The truth shall make ye fret" Registered Senior Member

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    Reliable sources? In what sense is the feasibility 'beyond question'? What are the adaptive alterations needed?
     
  8. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Who cares if it is ages away! It is still bettern then nuclear waste falling from the skys! Would you like to have nuclear waste falling on your house? :bugeye:
     
  9. ProjectOrion Banned Banned

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    Phlog,
    You mean without ruining the empty wasteland? I think I've already explained several times. Scroll back.

    Industry in space, access to infinite space resources, solar arrays that can beam energy back to earth thereby reducing energy prices, interplanetary ferries, cities on other worlds, adventure, space tourism, arrays of telescopes on the far side of the moon, knowledge, starships......

    Aah. A luddite. You are one of those people who hate the way money is wasted on high brow technology and think it should instead be spent on hospitals and schools. Progress necessitates investment and all the hospitals in the world won't mean dick if a rogue asteroid heads this way. Its time humanity left the cradle.
     
  10. ProjectOrion Banned Banned

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    Geodesic,
    Hiroshima and Nagasaki? You are asking for evidence that nuclear devices work? Everybody from Jerry Pournelle to Robert Zubrin can testify to the sound basis of this technology. What are you asking for? The more detailed work is ofcourse classified.

    The technologies required exist.

    Specialisation mostly. A pulse unit is more directional than a bomb for instance.
     
  11. ProjectOrion Banned Banned

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    Fantasyseeker,
    Ages is about right. Later I'll copy an extract from a book for you. It describes how after 20 years of stupendous effort controlled fusion is still unobtainable. The book was written 30 years ago. Nuclear waste IS falling on my house. On your house too. Its still coming down from the weapons testing era. And thats the 'truth'. An Orion launch with fallout reduction techniques employed would have have no measurable impact on already existing levels of fallout.
     
  12. geodesic "The truth shall make ye fret" Registered Senior Member

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    A design, an outline proposal, some detail on exactly how this works. If you have a serious proposal, be prepared to back it up.
    Yeah, that's the problem with military funding - if there's no military use for it, the project is cancelled, but the work remains classified.
    And how exactly are you planning to do the reseaech if education funding is cut? All you need to do is slap a tax on petrol, or cut military spending by maybe 1 or 2 percent, and you'll have a couple of billion dollars left in the budget. Of course, neither of those will happen in the next four years.
     
  13. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    It's unspoiled. Not wasteland.


    There's not much that benefits mankind that needs producing in space in any great volume, so this point is invalid.

    Space is pretty empty, that's why it's called 'space'. You have some flight of fancy about capturing meteorites, or comets for minerals? There's no need, we are stood on a massive resource already.

    We can already build these on earth, and that eliminates launch costs, and the huge problems 'beam'ing energy back to earth. Sounds easy if you say it fast enough without a clue as to how it can actually be done though.

    Hello! We live on the only habitable planet in our solar system, and have plenty of real estate spare down here if we need to build a new city, so just WTF! do we need a 'city' on another world for? No, really, tell, me, just why should we struggle out of this gravity well to go live on another?

    I think Burt Rutan has angle covered, without nukes.

    Or how about a few more far more pointable Hubble derivatives? Could stick one in orbit around the moon to make use of the shadow, ... and actually get the data back when it comes round to the earth facing side. Seems a lot simpler and cheaper to me!

    What knowledge does it get us? Nothing! It just hauls more junk into space, it doesn't let us get anywhere we couldn't via other means. We understand nukes, we understand spacecraft. What 'knowledge' dou yo think sticking the two together gets us exactly?

    Hello! Wakey Wakey! At best it would get us another spaceship. But to use the word 'starship' implies to me you must be smoking something hallucinogenic to get this pipe dream of yours.

    Nope, I'm a fan on technology, as I work in IT.

    Listen to yourself! 'wasted'! Your own words. Yes, I hate wasted money, who doesn't, idiot!

    Yeah, and if someone had spent more money on your education, maybe you'd see the problems with your pet theory! But really, just why should someone scratching a living and paying taxes pay for some assholes to go live in this brand new city on some 'other world' as you describe? This new city, going to have hospitals is it? Schools? So taxpayers on earth pay for stuff they can't use? Or is all this going to be privately funded? In that case, how is a private organisation going to get access to, and approval to detonate nukes?!

    Yep, and everything we need is beneath our feet. There are vast untapped deposits of minerals in the earth's crust, all we have to do is invest in mining technology to extract them.

    Or we could spend some cash on a defense system, and we can put that in space with conventional rockets. But of course, there's nothing to stop your 'city on another world' suffering the same fate, is there? Of course, once we can protect ourselves, it diminishes the reasons to leave earth.

    So, let's see a solid business plan. Tangible benefits, costs, benefits, with $ signs in front of it all. Not just blowing pipe smoke, and handwaving over the details. Sell it to me _now_, and show me why it's worth the investment.
     
  14. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

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    Not just blowing pipe smoke, and handwaving over the details

    Unfortunately, that is all that ProjectOrion is capable of providing.
     
  15. geodesic "The truth shall make ye fret" Registered Senior Member

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    Oh, another point that ProjectOrion seems to have missed - his proposed launch method is illegal under international law.
     
  16. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

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    Still "unobitanable"?

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    Funny that you say that. Because I've been reading some stuff in some magazine, and they say that they already have enough technology to make it efficient.

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    The plasma is going to be contained with magnets. That's how they are working it out now...

    Yes... there's nuclear waste falling all over the sky. That's why I'm looking out of the window right now and seeing a pink flying mutated elephant with yellow dots all over it. And his name is not dumbo....

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    Last edited: Nov 15, 2004
  17. slotty Colostomy-its not my bag Registered Senior Member

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    Launching from the Antarctic would have a massive effect on payload. All of the worlds launch centres are located as close to the equator as possible, as this aids a rockets launch to the east. For instance, if a geostationary satellite is launched from French Guiana (5 degrees N) it can carry 10% more payload than one launched at Cape Canaverel ( 28 degrees N). There would be zip in the way of the earths rotation to aid a launch from the Antarctic. Also given that you want to detonate nukes to propel this spacecraft, what would you do about G forces? and what would be used to shield the crew from radiation?
     
  18. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    Get this, ... a big sheild, on springs! No really. Try not to laugh too much and hurt yourself if you google it up.
     
  19. slotty Colostomy-its not my bag Registered Senior Member

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    Got a link for it dude? I would'nt know where to start.

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  20. slotty Colostomy-its not my bag Registered Senior Member

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    LOL and an airbag!!

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  21. ProjectOrion Banned Banned

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    Geodesic,
    When Kennedy proposed going to the moon within ten years, he wasn't asked for a detailed plan. A pity you weren't there to do so. I never liked the hole through the pusher plate model as it weakens the structural integrity of the plate. There is also the problem of rapidly firing pulse units in succession which while attainable would make the delivery system overly complex. I prefer the around the pusher plate model where many delivery points become exposed at the apex of shock absorber compression and take turns firing them off like a gatling gun. Each device detonating as the plate has come down and is protecting the delivery openings. The shock absorbers would be low pressure gas bags. This is the simplest and most effective system. To eliminate the risk of dud bombs throwing the system out of rhythm the bombs could be delivered 2 at a time. I'm working on some schematics now. I'm not an engineer and a serious design study for this fusion Orion would best incorporate an environmental impact study.

    If you are serious about wanting to learn more about the Orion drive and its possibilities then here is a list of sources available on the net.
    Orion Links.

    Phlog,
    An unspoiled wasteland then. Like the moon. We'll just have to agree to disagree on the value of pristine frozen tundra of no use to anybody or anything except a few astronomers and coastal penguins. We used to blow up bombs in Nevada and people walk around the place today. We are talking about a one and a half mile blast radius on a continent the size of the United States. Your concerns are laughable.

    Are you an isolationist by any chance? Your lack of vision is extraordinary.

    Not massive enough if we want to grow. Increased technology requires increasing population. Advanced tech requires large numbers of specialised scientists. The only alternative to expansion is decline. Stagnation is death.

    Q,
    What have you provided in this debate Q? Apart from snide remarks.

    Geodesic,
    Its an international proposal. Laws are reflective of public opinion but slow to change. The issue of law only arises when the question of launch is handed over to the masses. Should the public approve of conquering space in this fashion then the law can be ammended. No big deal. The ship itself can still be built. I have always maintained that a launch should be decided by the people. That necessitates an informed public and the first step in achieving that is steady consistent propaganda.

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    Truthseeker,
    Fusion reactors again. The great hope of the 21st century. Not to mention the earlier 20th century and no doubt likely to continue the trend into the 22nd century.

    Just like fission, fusion offers both pulsed explosions and (atleast theoretically) steady burn options for rocket propulsion. With higher enthalpy and more plentiful fuel it's obvious that both of these are more practical than fission.

    Hydrogen explosions were realised an attainabler goal atleast three years before the first fission bomb was even detonated. Even earlier H.G. Wells wrote about them. It was recognised that fission would produce, for an instant, temperatures and pressures more extreme than those within the interior of the sun. If suitable nuclear fuel were subjected to this then a very small sun might be brought into existance. One which in the next instant, without the gravity that holds the sun together, would blow itself apart. Splitting the nuclei of heavy elements like uranium or plutonium releases tremendous energy but fusing the nuclei of deuterium (the cheapest fuel on earth) can release a thousand times as much energy.

    Stanislaw Ulam invented the first successful device after Teller's model failed. Ulam incidentally was the originator of the Orion concept. A genius with few parallels. 'Ivy Mike' was detonated on November 1st 1952 at Eniwetok Atoll in the South Pacific. An 82 ton tank of deuterium ignited by a TX-5 fission bomb. Equivalent to about 1000 Hiroshima's.

    Over half a century later we still cannot cause hydrogen nuclei to fuse into helium nuclei for use as a power source. We are at best able to achieve 25% of the parameters necessary for the simplest sustained fusion reaction. Fusion reactors or what I like to term 'fantasy engines' would require 500 million degree's to work. State of the art in magnetic confinement has only reached breakeven point. The plasma density and average particle confinement time in our very best deuterium-tritium reactors now allow us to get back as much energy as we put into the system!

    After all these decades it is unreasonable to expect that further incremental gains will accelerate. Instead they will steadily decline annually as we futilely attempt to squeeze more and more efficiency out of the technology. Just as chemical rocket technology gains similarly decrease each year.

    The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet. Orion may be crude but its also rugged and flexible. Ideal for pioneering space. An Orion using hydrogen bombs would achieve much higher performance, use far cheaper fuel, have greater payload capacity and would produce a cleaner exhaust compared to a fission driven version.

    Steady fusion is a pipedream. I wish it wasn't so. It would be nice to see fusion reactors solve earths energy problems and open up the solar system. I would be its strongest supporter. Despite the fact that a waste product would be tritium (useful for nuclear weapons manufacture) and the reactor walls would become radioactive over time necessitating periodic burial and replacement.

    A bell nozzle as used in chemical rocket engines is 94% efficient. A magnetic nozzle for a steady fusion drive might be around 60%. That's a lot better than Orion's 25% so steady fusion looks very attractive. Unfortunately it's like anti-gravity, wormholes and hyperspace. Fun to talk about but not much more than mental masturbation at this point.

    I'm pragmatic. I prefer engineering which is challenging but realistic. Right now we are caught in a vicious circle. We don't see companies rushing to build affordable launch vehicles because there is no demand. There is no demand because there is little in space except satellites and a half complete ISS. The reason we don't have much up there is because it costs too much to launch anything. So around and around we go. We have to break the cycle.

    An Orion massing 100 thousand tons with nearly equivalent payload would change everything. Early explorers crossed the oceans because there was something to reach. Orion, by industrialising space would give us bases to reach. An incentive to stage regular launches to orbit. Regular flights would bring down costs and competition would cement the new cycle of rapidly diminishing costs. Once in orbit we are halfway to anywhere. Space industries such as the construction of interplanetary ferries would make the solar system available to the common man and woman.

    Life is not about avoiding all risks. Quite the opposite. Nothing worthwhile is ever gained without risk. In this instance the risks and dangers are negligibler and the rewards infinitely priceless. One launch far from any living ecosystem and utilising all the innovative methods we can think up to reduce residual radiation would herald a new Golden age of exploration and expansionism.

    slotty,
    It isn't a significant gain. Extremely worthwhile for big dumb chemical boosters but not important for a fusion Orion as it creates a lot more thrust. This type of single stage to orbit vehicle doesn't even need an orbital trajectory.

    Shock absorbers. Extremely large ones. For a 10 thousand ton model they would be around 4 stories high. So for a 100,000 model 40 stories. It would be like riding a pogo stick during boost phase.

    The plate and and lower decks would provide enough shielding for anything over 10 thousand tons. Only the smaller vehicles proposed by Nasa would have required extra shielding. Such a small Orion would have been far less efficient. Partly because of the extra shielding mass.

    Phlog,
    Small minds are often easily amused. Rather unimaginative dullards snickered at the first cars too. Submarines and armoured military vehicles were a standard joke for awhile. As were hunting rifles for warfare rather than using useless muskets. Edison's electric lightbulb experiments were the target of much uproarious laughter.

    Ofcourse the biggest laughingstock around is Nasa and it's giant fireworks. I wonder how many more Shuttle pilots will get barbecued before they realise what a joke they are.

    No atomic bomb has ever accidentally detonated.
     
  22. slotty Colostomy-its not my bag Registered Senior Member

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    All of the above is all very well, but what would be the point in launching from earth at all. Beside the massive cost, eco stuff etc. It would be so much easier to launch from low earth orbit. Can you really see a 40 storey shock absorber? really? What would it be made of? Do you really think a shock absorber is going to protect against G force? Remember, you want to detonate a nuke under a spacecraft, about 300 or 400 feet away from the crew! A nuke dude!
    Now i'm sure we will advance in leaps and bounds during this century, but a nuke going off under your ass is still gonna be a nuke going off under your ass in 100 years time. I can see an ion type drive being used from orbit, but your idea seems very much the method of Jules Verne, The first men in the moon.
     
  23. phlogistician Banned Banned

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    10,342
    Yeah, a few astronomers, the Antarctic Survey team, real scientists!

    Yes, we differ on the value of Antarctica, but you are on your own, and the rest of the planet seems to agree with me, as Antarctica is protected via an international treaty.

    We also used to do it in Australia, and you're still not allowed to visit some of the sites. Your point?


    It's not just about the launch site, but the development of the infrastructure to support the launch site. Your incomprehension of this is laughable.


    No, my rather sharp vision tells me that your pet plan is flawed. I see a future for spacetravel leading elsewhere. First, SCRAMJet technology, then maybe fusion power. Fission power is never going to get approved for rocketry.

    Do we want to grow? Need to grow? We already have trouble feeding and education the population we already have, and not completely screwing the environment keeping the few developed nations in the manner to which they've become accustomed. More people means more environmental damage. We need to work on clean energy sources, not rocketry pipe dreams!


    Where do you get this idea from?

    Which we already have. Going into space isn't going to provide us with more scientsts, or a viable way to safely increase our population down here on earth. You are just introducing more spurious claims into an already ludicrous thread. Prove something, before you start making more claims, please!

    How much does a nuclear warhead cost? Please, in $$$$$'s. Then add up the cost of buidling your launchpad on Antarctica (not that you'll be allowed to do that anyway, thanks to the Madrid Protocol), and work out the $/lb cost to orbit. Until you have that figure, you are blowing smoke out of your ass.


    More smoke. Orion is too slow for interplanetary travel. So that task relies on other propulsion systems, not yet developed. If we are relying on as yet unspecified technologies, we might as well rub out Orion, and pencil in something feasible.

    Riiight, that are going to function flawlessly in the less than hospitable Antarctic environment. Have you been anywhere really cold? Had familiar, reliable materials fail on you?
     
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