Monday, November 14, 2011

The New Space Race?

TCS Daily

Comment:  Assuming the Chinese are actually trying to use nuclear explosions for propulsion, what exactly can anyone do about it?  Do we join in and start doing it ourselves?  There are better ways.  This isn't necessarily something that we should emulate.

Besides, we already had NERVA during the Apollo Era.  This was a nuclear powered upper stage for the Saturn V rocket.  It was already tested and found space worthy.  Like the Saturn V itself, it was canceled.  Our problem is that we've got an active bunch of opponents to space.  They believe that space is just an expense, not an asset.  It is this manner of thinking that's the problem- not the Chinese.

h/t Instapundit


Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, has a different take.


Brian Wang of Next Big Future posted on a variation on that concept here.  It could be in compliance with treaty obligations since it wouldn't involve atmospheric explosions.  A Jules Verne type nuclear powered space gun.


This may be only a coincidence, but here goes anyway.  It so happens that the masses referred to here could be enough to be an anchor weight for a moonstalk.  Simply launch the mass to the Earth Moon Lagrange point and use that as an anchor for a moonstalk.  This would greatly simpify access to the lunar surface.  You wouldn't need any new nor exotic materials.   Just the will to get it done.


Go to this website, hit control-f to bring up text search.  Highlight "The Thunderwell Story" in the usual way, plug it into the text search box (control-v) and the result should put you squarely in the part of the text about nuclear rocket propulsion- ie. "space gun", which was actually an underground nuke test in 1957.  It sent a concrete plug into space ( maybe) at a speed calculated at 5 to 6 times the escape velocity of the Earth.

 This may be a plausible way to send large masses into a location, such as EML-1.  You'd have to figure out how to keep it from burning up in the atmosphere, of course.  You'd have to figure out a lot more than that.  But it may be possible.

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