Encyclopedia Astronautica
nuclear pulse


Category of engines.

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Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Orion Test Article American nuclear pulse test vehicle. The original test article for Project Orion had a total mass of 133 kg including its bullet-shaped outer shell. More...
  • Orion Hot Rod American nuclear pulse test vehicle. The modified test article for Project Orion had a total mass of 105 kg. The outer shell and upper shock absorber of the original design were deleted and a parachute recovery system added. More...
  • Orion Planetary American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The baseline planetary version of Orion would have launched from the earth's surface. It would have been bullet-shaped, 41 m in diameter and about 50 m high. More...
  • Orion Saturn V American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The final iteration of the Orion design was a nuclear pulse propulsion module launched into earth orbit by a Saturn V. The 100 tonne unit would have had a diameter of 10 m to match that of the booster. This would limit specific impulse to 1800 to 2500 seconds, still two to three times that of a nuclear thermal system. More...
  • Orion Starship - Heat Sink American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The heat sink version of Dyson's starship would have a pusher plate made of copper. This would require 5 million tonnes of exposed surface to absorb and then reradiate 1 megaton of bomb energy. The plate would have to be 20 km in diameter. More...
  • Orion Starship - Ablative American nuclear pulse orbital launch vehicle. The ablative version of Dyson's starship would be smaller and faster then the heat sink version. It would have a mass of 100,000 tons unloaded and be equipped with 300,000 one megaton bombs. More...

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