Nuclear Propulsion Neg

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Solvency – Misc

Solar storms guarantee astronauts cant fly with nuclear propulsion

Kleinberg 3 (Eliot, writer @ Palm Beach Post, 3/15/3, JPG

Robert L. Park, Washington director of the American Physical Society, agrees that nuclear power is mandatory for any Mars or beyond missions. Solar power won't cut it; ships in deep space are just too far from the sun. But Park, who's also a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, says any nuclear-related space flight should not include people. "My guess is we'll never send them," Park said. "The radiation levels between here and Mars are very high and, if there's a solar (radiation) storm while you're on your way, you're toast." Engineers agree a nuclear reactor is many times more deadly after it's powered up. The Mars Society's Zubrin says a Mars mission should use a conventional rocket with a nuclear reactor that would activate only after a spacecraft is successfully orbiting Earth.

No return flights – nuclear power doesn’t provide enough fuel

Kleinberg 3 (Eliot, writer @ Palm Beach Post, 3/15/3, JPG

Park, doubts a reactor could make enough fuel for a return trip and wouldn't gamble lives on it. He said there's still no proof astronauts would be able to harvest hydrogen in large enough quantities and in convenient enough places -- if at all. Whether used for propulsion, on-board power, or as a Mars-based generator, any nuclear reactor would not be coming back, Zubrin said.

Solvency – Timeframe

Their solvency advocates concede developments take a decade – outside reports say that’s optomistic

Montgomerie 3 (Ian, Computer Sci @ Waterloo U, 12/30/3, JPG

Next, there is the issue of the propulsion system itself. The concept is simple to describe, but not necessarily simple to implement. In fact, Orion advocates often gloss over how much research the people running the actual project felt was necessary. Remember, their plans called for over a decade to get things going, and even then outside observers invariably reported that their projections seemed overly optimistic. Some of the fundamental research was done when the project itself was going, but much was not completed. Much of the stuff that would be necessary for an Orion interplanetary ship, such as guidance systems, did not exist at the time though it has been developed and refined since then by the conventional space program. Guidance at the time was primarily the responsibility of ground control, even for space probes. A manned Orion on an extensive journey would have to be responsible for its own navigation and piloting without having timely assistance from ground control (due to communications delay imposed by light speed). Independent spacecraft navigation would not have been trivial to develop back then, as they lacked our advanced computer technology and decades of experience with interplanetary robot probes.

Development of the necessary tech takes at least 10 years

Moomaw 3 (Bruce, writer @ SpaceDaily, 1/21/3, JPG

However, this -- to put it mildly -- is not the same thing as saying that NASA plans to try to develop a very large nuclear rocket engine capable of launching a manned ship to Mars within a decade. Pae quotes O'Keefe as saying: "We're talking about doing something on a very aggressive schedule to not only develop the capabilities for nuclear propulsion and power generation but to have a mission using the new technology within a decade." But O'Keefe has spent the past year talking constantly about his hopes for a deep space mission using nuclear-powered propulsion within a decade or so -- while making it clear that he is talking about an unmanned, relatively small probe. NASA's Nuclear Electric Propulsion program -- for which it included $46.5 million in its FY 2003 budget request -- would have been just such a system.

Orion’s timeframe is long – massive R&D projects

Montgomerie 3 (Ian, professional alternate historian, Dec 31, [] AD: 7-6-11, jam)

In short, Orion was not proven technology. It's not even something that we could be entirely confident of getting working in the near future. While many of the individual components had been developed, the problem of ensuring that they would all actually work together as a system to produce an effective spaceship was not solved. The closest the designers came to any sort of test was a proof-of-concept test of pulse propulsion in general, involving a small model which flew a short distance using conventional explosives. Various accounts of Orion have stated that there was substantial work still to be done on the design of the pulse units, with special bomb designs being called for. Even in the early research, significant effort was directed toward research in this area, although it is mostly still classified so we don't know exactly what was being developed. The project's advocates said that integrating all of these components into a fully working design would be straightforward and cheap, but outside reviews were done on the project and they invariably said that major technical problems remained unsolved. They also said that the estimates of the time and money necessary to develop the project seemed extremely optimistic.

It would be decades until launch

Montgomerie 3 (Ian, professional alternate historian, Dec 31, [] AD: 7-6-11, jam)

In general, I would expect the cost of building a single ground-launched Orion in the suggested range of 20,000 tons loaded weight to be quite high. First, a substantial amount of R&D would be required to produce an actual design, and confidence that the design would in fact work. Beyond the work done up to the point when the project was historically cancelled, this would take several years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars just for the propulsion technologies and hull design. Then you have to actually build and launch the ship, which would probably take as much as a decade (definitely at least five years even at a very rushed pace). Construction of the ship itself, especially the first ship, would range into the billions of dollars. Plus the fuel, which would easily reach one or two billion. Plus the payload.

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