Author Topic: Orion  (Read 3506 times)

Offline shai-hulud

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Orion
« on: December 22, 2007, 07:45:12 PM »
I don’t know if this had been mentioned before (I’ve read almost every thread, but that was back in august.) so here goes anyway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion...ear_propulsion)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=E3Lxx2VAYi8

After reading the thread about wasted star port spaces, I was reminded of the high mass rockets developed in the Orion project. I know a lot of people are against nuclear bombs, but I feel this is different enough to include for one of the factions (perhaps as an explanation for why the second ship was able to be launched so fast all of a sudden despite resource limits?)

In game play terms it would just be an extra large launch vehicle you would research (and of course have a high cost to balance it.) that could carry more starship pieces per launch, encouraging you to stockpile ship parts for single large launches, instead of the usual ship-part-launch cycle.
 

Offline Sirbomber

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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2007, 10:59:04 PM »
Sounds like a single-use RLV. Which is pointless.
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Offline Fenrisul

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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2007, 11:33:28 PM »
sounds like what it actually is - an atomic pogo stick.

Offline Freeza-CII

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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2007, 10:58:04 PM »
This is definately a space only vehicle.  It looks in the wiki it would only be a intra stellar vehicle.  Not Interstellar of the Conestoga.  But the ship is cool none the less.  

Offline Betaray

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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2007, 12:25:46 AM »
Quoted from Robert Zubrin's book Entering Space:

"It's pretty clear that if one detonates a series of atomic explosives right behind a spaceship you can push it along rather well.  Of course, if you don't go about it correctly, you might also vaporize the spaceship, blow it to pieces, turn the crew to jelly with 100,00g of acceleration, or kill everyone on board with a lethal dose of gamma rays.  As  we say in the engineering business, "These concerns need to be addressed."  so you must do it correctly.  But if you can, you've got yourself one hell of a propulsion system."

Still, such a propulsion system would be completely infeasible for surface launches, and in outer space they have much more efficient fusion, and ion propulsion systems.  Not to mention you don't want to give any extremists a chance to get weapons of mass destruction (Masters anyone?).

So, it' cool, but doesn't really fit into the Outpost Universe, sorry.
I am the nincompoop, I eat atomic bombs for breakfest, fusion bombs for lunch, and anti-matter bombs for dinner

I just hope they don't explode

Offline Hooman

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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2007, 01:33:47 AM »
I don't see this one as being very contrary to Outpost in terms of space travel, although I don't see it being used for surface launches. At least not on any inhabited world, and there isn't really much room in the story for trips to uninhabited worlds. Although I do sort of wonder about the efficiency claimed in that article. Besides, it sounds a little too untested, and perhaps a bit dangerous in case anything goes wrong.

What are you reasons for the efficiency claims of the ion and fusion drives as opposed to this type? And how exactly do the fusion ones work anyways? (After all, these nuclear bomb ones could use fusion bombs).
 

Offline Sirbomber

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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2007, 08:22:09 AM »
Quote
What are you reasons for the efficiency claims of the ion and fusion drives as opposed to this type?
Because Ion Drives and Fusion Drives don't nuke everyone on the ship accidentally and doom humanity?
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

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Offline Betaray

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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2007, 12:15:27 PM »
The main claim of efficiency is because of the method of harnessing the energy of the explosion.  Even if they are able to shape the plasma explosion as the article states, the pusher plate would only absorb 25-50% of the thrust capable energy.  In contrast modern bell nozzles used for chemical propulsion are in upwards of 92% efficient, while the magnetic nozzles used by the fusion drive would be around 80% efficient.

As from the fusion drive itself, if you see the shape of the Conestoga, it is clear that it is not a Orion class system using fusion bombs.  Furthermore, in the tech for the fusion drive module it explicitly states that the drive is also a power source, for the ion drive specifically, that rules out a Daedalus class propulsion system.  The only conclusion then is that this drive relies on a tokamak fusion reactor that has some of its plasma leak out,  and is mixed with regular hydrogen to increase its mass and thrust (while reducing its exhaust velocity), and directed outwards with a magnetic nozzle.

That in itself does not doom the Orion as a propulsion system however, what does is the practicality and the logistics of it.  Orion is attractive on Earth, first, because it is a high end propulsion system that can be built with todays technology's, but the colony's have already mastered fusion which is much more potent.  To put this into perspective, a fission reaction releases around 82 million Mj/kg, while a D-He3 fusion reaction releases a whopping 347 million Mj/Kg.  Its clear why they wouldn't go for it, with a much more powerful and compact system already at their fingertips.

The second is that Orion provides a peaceful and scientific way to neutralize all the thousands of nuclear bombs stockpiled during the cold war, killing two birds with one stone you might say.  But for the colony's, such bombs are few and far between, if and Orion program was started, not only would they have to build the spacecraft itself, but they would also have to mass produce hundreds, if not thousands of nukes for it.  Such a feat would be a security nightmare, even if the governments of the colony's agrees not to use them as a weapon, (if not a MAD induced cold war could develop, and we all know how fun that is on a RTS) there are splinter factions out there, like the aforementioned masters, who if they got a hold of even one of the thousands of nukes, bye bye colony.  I just don't see ether one taking that risk.

Those are the reasons why I am against an Orion class spacecraft in the Outpost universe.
I am the nincompoop, I eat atomic bombs for breakfest, fusion bombs for lunch, and anti-matter bombs for dinner

I just hope they don't explode

Offline Combine Crusier

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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2007, 11:41:46 AM »
I have to agree with Betaray here, nuclear fission would probably lead to one major disaster or another in the OPU.

Question: If fusion drives release plasma and ION drives release IONs which are (as far as I know) about the same size how do you get more acceleration out of fusion?
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Offline Betaray

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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2007, 12:24:37 PM »
Plasma is a lot more energetic then electromagnetically accelerated ions, basically they have more momentum, thus more thrust.

Also for in system travel regular hydrogen would be added to the mix, which would increase its mass while lowering its exhaust velocity, the max amount of thrust is obtained by diluting it with 95-99% regular hydrogen.

So yea, more energy, and for in system propulsion at least, more mass, leads to greater acceleration and thrust needed for in system maneuvering (getting in an out of gravitational wells, changing orbits and such).

This is assuming that both the fusion and ion drives are designed to have the same mass output, which most likely wouldn't be the case because of the ion drives long term nature and need to conserve fuel for the entire voyage.

Hope that helps.
I am the nincompoop, I eat atomic bombs for breakfest, fusion bombs for lunch, and anti-matter bombs for dinner

I just hope they don't explode