Encyclopedia Astronautica
General Atomic


American manufacturer of rockets. General Atomic, USA.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Orion OLV American nuclear-powered orbital launch vehicle. Nuclear-pulse drive launch vehicle seriously developed by General Atomics in the United States from 1955-1965. The design allowed vast payloads of hundreds of tons to be hurled to the planets. By 1958 the Orion team saw themselves in direct competition with Von Braun's chemical rockets. They hoped to a land a huge manned expedition on Mars by 1964 and tour the moons of Saturn by 1970. However politically NASA would not argue for the exception to the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty necessary to allow firing of nuclear explosions in space. More...
  • 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 Sounding Rocket American sounding rocket. The Orion was a single stage, unguided, fin stabilized rocket system which used a surplus US Army Hawk surface-to-air-missile rocket motor having a dual thrust propellant grain. Three fins on the aft end of the motor were canted to roll the vehicle at four revolutions per second at burnout for stability. Improved performance could be obtained by using a Nike booster stage. Payload 38 kg to 88 km or 68 kg to 71 km. 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...

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use