[ExI] Hot Rod (was:Nuclear Space)

John K Clark jonkc at att.net
Wed Dec 26 20:52:51 UTC 2007

"spike" <spike66 at att.net> Wrote:

> We might want to design the pusher plate to ablate as little as
> possible,  letting the air do the work.

I think that is true.

> When the air gets really thin as the bird rises, and no longer an
> effective momentum transfer mechanism, then the thrust would need to
> result from momentum transfer via ablation of the material on the pusher
> plate.

I believe you'd always want to minimize ablation, I think you'd have to if
you wanted it to last through 2000 nuclear blasts. The idea was to encase
a 200 pound bomb as powerful as the one that destroyed Nagasaki inside a
capsule full of water that weighed several times as much, the water
provides most of the momentum transfer.

> I still don't see how the air launched Orion could be made to work.

I admit that was my first reaction too, but Hot Rod worked; and it also
sounds crazy to evenly compress a solid sphere of Uranium with high
explosives, it's laughable, it's like trying to compress Jello with rubber
bands, but son of a bitch they made implosion work too! Artists have even
etched beautiful murals onto solid steel using high explosives, and 
that also sounds ridiculous; apparently you can do lots of delicate 
things with high explosives if you know exactly what you're doing. 
Ted Taylor, the head of Orion, designed a nuclear bomb where almost
all the energy came out in 2 narrow jets 180 degrees apart, he thought 
one bomb like that could instantly create a ready to use 1000 foot
tunnel through solid granite. Ready to use except for the radiation,
but don't bother me with minor details.

The launch of an Orion spacecraft would be just about the most spectacular
thing a mere human being could ever see, although I'd want to be at least
5 miles away in a bunker with thirty foot steel reinforced concrete walls.

  John K Clark

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