Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Video of Project Orion nuclear pulse rocket testing circa 1958

I just ran across a new video montage of the pulse rocket tests that the Project Orion team performed on Point Loma, CA. Although the Project Orion's concept was to propel a large spacecraft using timed nuclear explosions, these tests were obviously made with conventional explosives using sub-scale models (I had to clarify in case any reader took my title literally!)

I had previously posted a video of the Hot Rod test vehicle, which was propelled by an initial black powder charge and then boosted by subsequent ejected PETN charges.  The video presented below starts with what appears to be single charge tests using an aeroshell model (looks like a big nose cone). It gets interesting about 7:15 in. It that test, you can clearly see charges being ejected.  The video goes on to show a couple of tests of the Hot Rod vehicle.  In these, the outer aeroshell was left off, presumably to facilitate the deployment of its parachute.