Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship
The Orion team, led by the American bomb-designer Theodore B. Tayl
The science & engineering behind it were never shot down, and in fact consistently c ...more
- melting oil out of the Alberta tar sands
- digging a sea-level Panama Canal
- mass-producing tritium to build even more nucl ...more
"To visualize Orion, imagine an enormous one-cylinder external combustion engine, a single piston reciprocating within the combustion chamber of empty space. The ship it ...more
Project Orion was quite possibly a crazy idea. Conceived of in the late 1950s, Project Orion proposed the propulsion of a space ship by exploding a large number (hundreds) of small (by nuclear standards) fission bombs with the power of up to about 5 kilotons TNT, about the quarter of the size of the Hiroshima bomb. These bombs would be ejected from the space ship and explode behind it. The bombs would vaporize a propellent (which could be just about anything) that would strike a thick steel pla...more
Project Orion is a history written by the son of noted Physicist Freeman Dyson. His father was on the research team at General Atomics in the early 1960s that showed such a spacecraft could very likely be built. A filmed test with conventional explosives showed a model vehicle popping upwards ...more
Project Orion delves in a delightful way into the people, engineering and physics that covered a span of 6 years. And what a project it was: a spaceship powered by atomic bombs surpassing Jules Verne's "From Earth to the Moon"! Dyson's father, Freeman Dyson ...more
I found the book a fascinating read and a good look into the "nuclear culture" of the late 50s and early 60s, where exploding nuclear devices in the atmosphere was no big deal, and atomic power had limitless possibilities.
Another reviewer mentioned that the book w ...more
This is not science fiction -- it is and was all well within the technological / industrial capability of the USA since the late 1950s.
The author, Dyson the younger, grew up hearing about this from his famous father, Freeman, and has lots ...more
1. Fallout is a showstopper for the ground-launched version.
2. Launching hundreds of nuclear bombs into space from earth, by whatever means, seems pretty dangerous. Politically it would never fly, and I agree with the public on this o ...more
The best character, by far, is Jerry Astl, in the chapter "C-4". A former resistance fighter, aeronautical engineer and explosives expert, his stories from World War 2 add spice to the stories of testing Project Orion. And he's a hoot.
The most affecting part to me was Freeman Dyson's narrative of h ...more
The main failing this book had, in my opinion, was not portraying the personalities of the people involved more clearly.
Dyson's telling of the story is good, not great, but the concept itself is interesting enough to make this a fascinating read.
And yes, I have Randall Munroe to thank for this one.
Though George's writing is hard going, the story is compelling. If you ever get to Bellingham, stop in and chat with this self-titled historian, who said it's "the only field an amateur can still contribute".
Though a bit dry at times, with not nearly enough pictures, it is a very enjoyable book. - Reviewed by Henry W.
Though a bit dry at times, with not nearly enough pictures, it is a very enjoyable book.
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