Concept

Project Orion (nuclear propulsion)

Summary
Project Orion was a study conducted in the 1950s and 1960s by the United States Air Force, DARPA, and NASA into the viability of a nuclear pulse spaceship that would be directly propelled by a series of atomic explosions behind the craft. Early versions of the vehicle were proposed to take off from the ground; later versions were presented for use only in space. The design effort took place at General Atomics in San Diego, and supporters included Wernher von Braun, who issued a white paper advocating the idea. Non-nuclear tests were conducted with models, but the project was eventually abandoned for several reasons, including the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear explosions in space, and concerns over nuclear fallout. Physicist Stanislaw Ulam proposed the general idea of nuclear pulse propulsion in 1946, and preliminary calculations were made by Frederick Reines and Ulam in a Los Alamos memorandum d
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