It wouldn’t cause economic stimulus Montgomerie 3 (Ian, professional alternate historian, Dec 31, [www.alternatehistory.com/gateway/essays/OrionProblems.html#Environmental] AD: 7-6-11, jam)
#3 can be rejected out of hand. The entire point of Orion is to be a cheap heavy-lift vehicle without requiring very long term, ultra-intense research programs. Most of the money spent on any large-scale Orion program would be in capital investment, not research and development. In general, Orion's money would be spent taking known technologies and integrating them into a complex working whole, rather than by developing entirely knew technologies. The spinoff potential of such an approach is low.
Orion wouldn’t attract private investment – alternatives are cheaper Montgomerie 3 (Ian, professional alternate historian, Dec 31, [www.alternatehistory.com/gateway/essays/OrionProblems.html#Environmental] AD: 7-6-11, jam)
#4 is possible but again, the problem is that while Orion would provide lift system and in-space propulsion, everything else would have to be developed (for example technology to mine an asteroid in space in the first place). There would be a substantial investment beyond Orion, and in the 70s it would be fairly unlikely that enough revenue could be produced to make a competitive profit from all the required investments. The essential problem is that if a space investment doesn't produce an average 10% annual return, then it isn't competitivewith investment here on Earth. It would be quite difficult for something like space mining to provide that level of returns with the technology of the era. Like it or not, even with a cheap ultra-heavy lift system, the space technology of the 70s is not really up to making enough profit in space to pay for Orions. Massive Orion launchesare not something that could continue indefinitely, and the 70s is just not an ideal time to establish one's primary space infrastructure. The only real uses are military and exploratory. Militarily, Orion really isn't all that great, and as far as exploration goes... sure Orion could do much more than the major programs of the time (probably for at least the same cost, though), but it'd be cheaper still to wait a few decades and use robotic probes.
Intra NASA T/O D/A
No room in the budget for nuclear propulsion – forces intra-nasa tradeoffs
Because of the concerns, as well as funding cutbacks, NASA has refocused its Prometheus nuclear programto concentrate on creating a power generator that would satisfy the needs of the first lunar outpost. Advancing the technology of nuclear propulsion will have to wait, said NASA's Horowitz. "Right now, it's not in the budget, because we don't have the budget to do it," he said. "But they (the scientists) are working on an important piece, so they are still engaged."
Plan’s costly and trades off with other projects The Planetary Society 5 (The Planetary Society, founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman, May, [http://planetary.org/action/opinions/nuclear_propulsion.pdf] AD: 7-6-11, jam)
Risks of long- term technology developments: New technologies have almost always appeared more attractive and less costly when started, than a few years down the road. As costs grow, the program stretches out, the performance is not as great as originally thought, priorities change and programs get canceled. An example is the multi-agency, ill-fated SP-100 space nuclear power program that ran for nearly ten years, consumed about $1 billion and was ultimately terminated well short of a working product. Looking back, that money, talent and time would have produced far greater scientific advances had it been applied directly to flight missions than invested in an unsuccessful technology development program. Few decade-long technology development programs have ended up where they were pointed at the outset; our perceptions change, the political/technical/fiscal environment changes, and the technical challenges are more formidable when engaged than in the conceptual phase. Might Prometheus suffer the same fate? It is fate. Then NASA Administrator, Mr. O’Keefe, had great confidence in this program, based partially on the success of the U.S. Navy in employing nuclear power. But a successful space reactor culminating in flight missions is far from a sure thing, and letting go a small bird in the hand to reach for a more attractive bird deep in the bush is always risky. The JIMO proposal was a huge one – the reactor was based on Navy experience where weight is not a major concern. More efficient reactors would take advanced technology and more years to develop – and NASA was in a rush to tie the technology to a near term mission objective. But the mission was so large (it would have taken at least 3 or 4 of America’s largest rockets just to launch it) and expensive, that it now raises the question whether more advanced, higher efficiency and lighter weight reactors should be developed for space applications.
Nuclear propulsion trades off with other investments The Planetary Society 5 (The Planetary Society, founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman, May, [http://planetary.org/action/opinions/nuclear_propulsion.pdf] AD: 7-6-11, jam)
Delaying exploration that can be done now: Introduction of an initiative to develop new technology inevitably slows the current pace; better is the enemy of good. NASA deleted plans for near-term missions to Pluto, the Kuiper Belt, and Europa and delayed a very capable Mars lander with the expectation that a successful nuclear power and propulsion system will enable better missions later. But what if it isn’t successful? The opportunities to search out these bodies will be delayed many years at best, and, in the case of Pluto and the Kuiper Belt totally lost for generations. In 2003 a New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt was finally approved by Congress, over NASA’s objections, in part, because of strong Planetary Society member support. But a Europa mission, which was receiving study as a conventional, chemical propulsion mission, was dropped from consideration and its objectives organized into a proposal for a large, Prometheus-based Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter. The subsequent delay of JIMO proved the prescience of our concern about delaying exploration.
It trades off with the rest of NASA’s projects
Morris 5 (Jefferson, quals, Aug 31, [www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=aerospacedaily&id=news/NASAP08315.xml&headline=Research%20Council%20Report%20Questions%20NASA%20Nuclear%20Propulsion%20Program] AD: 7-7-11, jam)
The committee also fears that the introduction of "super-flagship-class" nuclear-enabled spacecraft may crowd out other smaller missions, causing the agency to lose its current "diverse and healthy mix" of space science missions. NASA asked the NRC to identify high-priority space science missions that could be "uniquely enabled or greatly enhanced" by nuclear power and propulsion systems. "Particularly promising" missions include nuclear-powered probes deployed to the inner heliosphere to study space weather, a long-lived Venus lander, a probe to study Neptune and Triton, and an interstellar probe. "Spacecraft using nuclear propulsion systems, irrespective of the exact technologies employed, will be very large, very heavy, very complex, and, almost certainly, very expensive," the report says. "But it is difficult to imagine that space science goals for the period beyond 2015 will still be addressed with the power and propulsion technologies of the Mariners, Pioneers and Voyagers."