1950s Orion nuclear rocket, artwork

1950s Orion nuclear rocket, artwork

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: 1950s Orion nuclear rocket. Artwork of the nuclear pulse propulsion rocket proposed by NASA in the 1950s as part of Project Orion. The rocket is shown orbiting Saturn (seen in background). At the rear of the rocket the red glow shows one of the nuclear pulses being used to propel it. The design had relatively small (one kiloton) nuclear explosions being ignited at a rate of one a second, pushing against a steel plate one metre thick. This is the 6,000 ton design, intended to take off from Earth, journey to and explore Saturn and its moons, and return to Earth, in fourteen months. The crew module is at upper right. The project was abandoned in the 1960s due to concerns about nuclear fallout.

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