Project Orion II: By Timothy McHugh
On Monday, August 17, 1998, I got fascinated with a Project Orion that was designed to use nuclear explosions for propulsion. I thought that it was a project for the future and for the later of my lifetime, but I was wrong. On Thursday, February 18, 1999, I was told by someone who read about Orion that it was dead, so I came up with a replacement dubbed "Project Orion II". Orion II is an idea using an Orion design that uses fusion instead of nuclear bombs for propulsion, safer and more efficient. The propulsion is borrowed from a Project Daedalus that was conceived by a group of engineers that call themselves the British Interplanetary Society. In total, Orion II looks like an Orion with a Daedalus engine instead of an Orion pusher plate. From 1999 to 2008, I often changed the Orion II design and proposed length until I found one that appealed to me in June or July 2008. So, Project Orion + Project Daedalus = Project Orion II.
As of when I write this, I am still a community college student studying to be an aerospace engineer to design this proposed international starship. I just know what the basic outside will look like, but have little idea on how the smaller inside and outside attactments will be except for the functions they will perform. Orion II will have an astronomy deck with six telescopes betwixt the crew module and fuel. There will be shuttlecraft of sorts, design still et to be decided for planetary exploration. However, this interstellar spacecraft will be limited to the nearby stars, such as the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, and another one ten and a half light-years away called Epsilon Eridani. This will be a mimimalist "live off the land" approach to interstellar space exploration to seek out new life outside our solar system.
Orion II will be 190 meters long, the same as the proposed length of the more massive amds more expensive Daedalus, but a lot narrower. The width of the engine will be something like 38 meters, and 39 meters wide in the fuel area. It will use laser-triggered thermonuclear fusion pulse propulsion, like Daedalus, but it will be single stage instead of double stage. This ship whenever built, no perticular date or year has been set, might use the Moon for a space station to fuel up for a long interstellar voyage. At least most of the Orion II astronauts have yet to even be born. Orion II will dwarf both the Saturn V moon rockets used in Apollo and the Ares rockets that will be used in an upcoming NASA Project Constellation, which has a capsule also named Orion. Orion II would be the third in a line of spacecraft with that name if you count the Apollo 16 Lunar Mudule, and I have my doubts that it will be the last. Who knows, there could be an antimatter-driven starship named Orion for all we know in the further future. I will edit this and add a picture of Orion II to this entry.