US Developed a Spaceship Propelled by Nukes in the 1950s Reveals Freeman Dyson

/ 2 years ago


Famed English-born American astrophysicist Freeman Dyson – best known for his theoretical concept for an artificial biosphere that could surround a star and sustain life, known as a Dyson Sphere – has revealed that, before the formation of NASA in 1958, he was working on a space propulsion system based around detonating a series of nuclear bombs.

Dyson, who at the time was working at General Atomics in California, developed the cheap and fast form of interplanetary travel during the early 1950s, under the banner ‘Project Orion’.

“We decided that we would go around the solar system with a spaceship driven by nuclear bombs, so we would launch the ship into space. Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb. Going up at about four bombs per second all the way to Mars and then to Jupiter and Saturn – and we intended to go ourselves,” Dyson said in an interview with Quantum Magazine.

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Dyson and his team even developed a small prototype, propelled by chemical reactions. “We had an actual model spaceship, about a metre in diameter, with chemical explosives that actually went bomb, bomb, bomb and a few hundred feet up,” he revealed.

Sadly for Dyson and General Atomics, ‘Project Orion’ was overshadowed by NASA’s rocket project during the late fifties, under the guidance of former Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun, inventor of the V2 rocket. “[We experimented with this for] a few years but by that time it was clear that the competition was actually going to win – the competition being Wernher von Braun,” Dyson lamented.

The full, fascinating interview with Dyson is below.

Thank you International Business Times for providing us with this information.

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