Their evidence is government propaganda – Orion doesn’t work
Urfer and LaForge 5 (Bonnie, anti-nuclear activist, and John, staff member of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog group, Summer, [www.nukewatchinfo.org/Quarterly/20052summer/20052page5.pdf] AD: 7-8-11, jam)
But it’s all completely theoretical at this point. The most favored space propulsion scheme is a “nuclear- [low-thrust] electric option” or “high-efficiency electric propulsion thrusters.” The theory involves propelling electricallycharged particles — produced in a nuclear reactor — out the rear of the craft. One launch design could be the “nuclear-enhanced-airbreathing rocket.” A uranium dioxide fission reactor would heat hydrogen to 2500 degrees and mix it with a little air to produce combustion and lift-off at 4000 degrees. The boondoggle has been tried before, but failed nuclear rocket programs — NERVA and Projects Orion, Pluto, Rover and Poodle — were abandoned in the ‘50s and ‘60s due to technical problems, political opposition (1963 Nuclear TestBan Treaty) and exorbitant cost. Some NASA/DOE reports say Prometheus could use conventional rockets for launch with reactor propulsion not kicking in until high altitude is attained. Never mind the 1963 Partial Test-Ban Treaty which commits the U.S. “to prohibit, to prevent, and not to carry out any nuclear weapon test, or any other nuclear explosion ... in ... outer space. ...” Prometheus appears so outlandish on its face, there’s no wonder the White House and NASA kept it quiet in the wake of the Columbia disaster and worldwide protest over the 72 pounds of plutonium aboard the Cassini mission in 1997. Leonard David, of Albuquerque, a senior space writer for Space.com, reports that, “Those attending [a 2003 Space Technology & Applications International Forum] ... were a s k e d b y N A S A n o t t o o p e n l y d i s c u s s d e t a i l s o f [Prometheus] given the Columbia catastrophe.” The administration agreed to an intentional outing last year only after perception spin doctors were in place. A new PR effort emerged, spouting articles and web sites in support of the program’s Nuclear Systems & Technology Project— all with slick and appealing pictures. Project managers decided that openness would go over better with the public, so lots of facts, figures and “benefits” are listed. Glossy PR rationales for the mission include: long-term stays on the moon to test exploration systems and extract resources; exploring the solar system; speeding up expeditions to Mars (two months instead of six) for human study of potential life; and travel to Pluto. One enthusiast even mentioned “settlements” in space. Project literature says nuclear fission for propulsion and electricity is necessary to enable these applications.
Plan is based on false theories – practical application proves it’s unfeasible and costs too much
Urfer and LaForge 5 (Bonnie – anti-nuclear activist and John – writer @ NukeWatch, Summer 2005, www.nukewatchinfo.org/Quarterly/20052summer/20052page5.pdf) JPG
But it’s all completely theoretical at this point. The most favored space propulsion scheme is a “nuclear- [low-thrust] electric option” or “high-efficiency electric propulsion thrusters.” The theory involves propelling electrically- charged particles — produced in a nuclear reactor — out the rear of the craft. One launch design could be the “nuclear-enhanced-air- breathing rocket.” A uranium dioxide fission reactor would heat hydrogen to 2500 degrees and mix it with a little air to produce combustion and lift-off at 4000 degrees. The boondoggle has been tried before, but failed nuclear rocket programs — NERVA and Projects Orion, Pluto, Rover and Poodle — were abandoned in the ‘50s and ‘60s due to technical problems, political opposition (1963 Nuclear Test- Ban Treaty) and exorbitant cost.
Solvency – Weight
Orion fails – too heavy and not powerful David 3 (Leonard, Senior Space Writer, Feb 7, [www.sps.aero/Key_ComSpace_Articles/CSA-016_NASA%92S_Nuclear_Prometheus_Project.pdf] AD: 7-8-11, jam)
As for the name, Newhouse said that NASA Administrator, Sean O’Keefe, picked Project Prometheus. Last year, a number of possible flagship missions were considered, to showcase nuclear space technology. One favored candidate was lofting a high-powered telecommunications satellite into Mars orbit. Eventually, the JIMO mission moved to center stage. Development work is clearly needed, Newhouse said. The nuclear reactor itself must be a lightweight design. Ion engines, akin to those used in NASA’s Deep Space 1, need to be far more powerful. Longerlived equipment is also necessary, he said. "We schemed around for a while and came up with a spacecraft that, quite frankly, we can barely launch because it’s so heavy. Obviously, we’ve got work to do," Newhouse said.
Solvency – Pusher Plate
Nuclear propulsion fails – pusher plates can’t sustain nuclear blows and energy particles kill the crew
It all started with a proposal made by Stanislaw Ulam and Fredrick Reines in 1947 for an atomic pulse engine. The idea was primitive but effective; a large city-sized spacecraft would be propelled by shooting atomic bombs aft and gaining continuous momentum as the blasts pushed the gigantic craft forward. The idea gained steam around 1958 and the dawn of the Space Age (remember, it was the birth of NASA and the time of Sputnik) and interest was sufficient that Princeton’s own Freedman Dyson (he of the Dyson sphere) took about a year to draft a proposal on the project. Even today, it’s a fascinating read; it shows just how ambitious some of those early ideas really were, and all in an era prior to even sub-orbital space flight! Dubbed Project Orion, (Not to be confused with the Orion capsule of the modern day Constellation Program) the system would provide both high thrust and high specific impulse and would have been one heck of a ride. Scaled plans would have ranged from an interplanetary “Orion-lite,” a 4,000 ton spacecraft equipped with 800 0.14 kiloton bombs, to massive interstellar versions capable of accelerating at 1 G for a sustained period of 10 days up to about a cruise velocity of about 3.3% the speed of light. Of course, such ships would be generational, as even a one way trip to Alpha Centauri would take about 100 years. And you would need to decelerate on the other end… and you’d have to take all of your nuclear fuel with you for all of this. Probably one of the biggest issues would be designing large shock absorbers to sustain repeated blows against the pusher plate; few spares could be towed along, and if they were damaged, there would be little hope of replacements. Then there’s the threat of high energy particles zipping right though the craft and your DNA at relativistic speeds… there are certainly many problems to solve with long term interstellar travel.
Still, some tentative earthbound tests were in fact done to see if a pusher plate could survive an atomic explosion. One of the early tests involved the suspension of two graphite encased steel spheres near an explosion during the 1954 Operation Castle nuclear test series in the South Pacific. The spheres were recovered intact, suggesting that it was possible to construct materials capable of surviving a nuclear blast. One of the more bizarre tales of the Cold War involves Operation Plumbbob. Amidst trials involving pigs and troops exposed to atomic testing was a test on August 27, 1957 entitledPascal B in which a 900 kg capping plate was set to be expelled by the blast at a calculated 6 times escape velocity. The plate was never found and only appears in the first few frames shot by high speed camera; the plate either A. vaporized entirely, or B. Is now a reluctant orbitingcitizen of our solar system! Such are the tales of the Cold War…