A Launcher on Steroids

Many outrageous concepts for peaceful uses of atomic energy came out of the years just after World War 2. One of the most outrageous was a scheme to boost a ship into orbit and around the solar system by firing off a series of atomic bombs behind it.

This was Project Orion.

Project Orion

No such vessel was ever constructed. But a lot of detailed theoretical work was done on it — enough to satisfy engineers that it would probably work. Some of the best minds from the Manhattan Project were involved, including Freeman Dyson and Theodore Taylor.

Now George Dyson, Freeman's son, has pored over the documentation from the project archives in order to write this book. And a fascinating tale it is.

PROJECT ORION: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship
George Dyson
New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2002
ISBN 0-8050-5985-7
Here's a more complete review.
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