Posts Tagged ‘Orion’

Flight through the Orion Nebula

January 15, 2018

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Orion: Good science or bad weed

September 5, 2013

I am reading the non-fiction book entitiled Area 51 by Annie Jacobsen. You really wonder about some of the ideas that have been hatched at area 51. Below is one work that was started but was shut down because of the nuclear test ban treaty; probably a good thing:

“General Atomics was given a one-million-dollar advance, a classified project with a code name of Orion, and a maximum-security test facility in Area 25 of the Nevada Test Site at Jackass Flats. The reason Taylor’s spaceship needed an ultrasecret hiding place and could not be launched from Cape Canaveral, as other rockets and spaceships in the works could be, was that the Orion spacecraft would be powered by two thousand “small-sized” nuclear bombs. Taylor’s original idea was to dispense these bombs from the rear of the spaceship, the same as a Coke machine dispenses sodas. The bombs would fall out behind the spaceship, literally exploding and pushing the spaceship along. The Coca-Cola Company was even hired to do a classified early design.

At Area 25, far away from public view, Taylor’s giant spaceship would launch from eight 250-foot-tall towers. Blastoff would mean Orion would rise out of a column of nuclear energy released by exploding atomic bombs. “ It would have been the most sensational thing anyone ever saw ,” Taylor told his biographer John McPhee. But when the Air Force took over the project , they had an entirely different vision in mind. ARPA and the Air Force reconfigured Orion into a space-based battleship. From high above Earth, a USS Orion could be used to launch attacks against enemy targets using nuclear missiles. Thanks to Orion’s nuclear-propulsion technology, the spaceship could make extremely fast defensive maneuvers, avoiding any Russian nuclear missiles that might come its way. It would be able to withstand the blast from a one-megaton bomb from only five hundred feet away. For a period of time in the early 1960s the Air Force believed Orion was going to be invincible. “

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Jacobsen, Annie (2011-05-17). Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base (pp. 303-304). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.