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Orion (Project)

Orion (Project)

It is the name of an American project for the construction of the first atomic spacecraft destined for interplanetary flights.

Developed mainly between 1958 and 1959, the Orion project survived until 1965, but was later suspended as unrealizable. At first it was entrusted to a group of valuable scientists, among which was the physicist Freeman Dyson (1923), who analogous to what happened with the project for the realization of the first atomic bomb, were isolated in a polygon of the Military Navy in Punta Loma, to develop the construction plans of the spacecraft and carry out the first experiments.

According to the calculations, a succession of small nuclear explosions would give the spacecraft the necessary thrust to take off from Earth and acquire the escape rate. With this method we wanted to avoid the inconvenience of the excessive cost necessary for the development of large chemical propellant missiles.

In the theoretical project, the nuclear-powered Orion spacecraft had an energy efficiency, at equal masses, equivalent to a million times higher than that of the other spacecraft and a decidedly lower cost. However, the project was abandoned.


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Orion (nebula of)Orionids

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