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[1.12.x] 'Project Orion' Nuclear Pulse Engine


RoverDude
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Well, it still makes up about half the hull.

Maybe split it into four separate components:

*The plate+shock absorbers- call this the Orion Drive itself,

*A hollow hull section made from the bit between the shock absorbers and the magazines on the current model,

*A magazine holder, for

*Radially attachable magazines

This would make it more modular, and easier to customize.

For example, it'd be possible(or at least easier) to launch a couple of magazines on a conventional rocket, to resupply an Orion ship in orbit.

The magazine holder's redundant, now that I think about it; it'd basically be a 2.5m structural fuselage with built in radial decouplers.

The Medusa engine could also be implemented as a separate component like the "Orion Drive" part.

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Oh, and another thing; the Orion Drive needs an attachment point on the bottom, so we can strap a chemical booster to the bottom.

Which I realize sounds absolutely bugnuts, but fallout is a thing. I'd like to at least get the Orion a few kilometers up before it gets underway.

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I'm not moving at all when I throttle up.

You did not install USITools then. You need all of the bits in that ZIP.

Yup but in KSP it would be at the start of the tech tree...how crazy is that? If it is placed there, before NERVA, heck before the 2.5m parts, why bother with anything else for propulsion? Only thing I can see in game that would balance it out is cost and maybe a rep hit for using nukes as firecrackers, but even then Freeman Dyson I think said one Orion launch would cause between .1 to 1 fatalities from cancer per launch, so realistically maybe big rep hit for the first launch (much fear) but after the first maybe much less? Even then if we assume later, improved, version of the Orion drive are using fusion instead of fission charges with 90% or higher efficiency the fallout is negligible. So maybe just cost to serve as a reason to develop other engines?

Of course that's if you want to place as 1950's tech.

S\urprisingly, it really is not the best thing for all designs and has some of it's own constraints. In career, your limitations will be cost and the irradiation of the KSC when you launch these from the surface ;) Granted in reality you'd launch it from elsewhere - but each time you're irradiating your launch pad so there's a financial hit from a Kerbin launch. Also doing some tweaks where you're going to lose a lot of the 'feathering' you can do right now, so it will really be a one-trick pony (i.e. dramatically cut down transfer times, get massive payloads to orbit).

Can't seem to surface attach onto the Orion engine.

Can you fix this? It makes strapping on side boosters difficult.

EDIT: And maybe separate the tanks from the Orion drive, so we can customize it more easily.

As noted (a few posts above yours) this is by design.

I seem to be missing something. The rocket won't work. I try to turn it on, it's got propellant, and it has thrust, but it just won't work. It doesn't move, explode, or do anything.

EDIT: I'm reasonably certain it is because for some reason USI Tools did not get put in gamedata. Oops.

Wow. These things are FAST. I tried hopping to full thruttle on the launchpad and in less than a second I had been blown to smithereens. Before having been blown to smithereens, my velocity was TWO KILOMETERS PER SECOND. Right off the launchpad! That is insane!

It feels overpowered, but in the RIGHT way. It's like using a monster to pull goods instead of a horse. Sure the monster can pull much more much faster, but it will also try to eat you.

Looks like you sorted the DLL which is good. Yeah... don't just hit full throttle.

Also, the Orion sometimes pistons on it's own. Sometimes in the VAB, sometimes on the pad (with explosive results, in the later case).

And it really, really hates launch clamps.

- - - Updated - - -

Maybe, but the Orion's too big to not be surface attachable, as it makes up a substantial amount of the hull surface area on any reasonable(!) spaceship.

- - - Updated - - -

Another bug to report; the animation of the drive seems to be fixed. It doesn't match up with the rate the bombs drop at max throttle.

I've had no launch clamp issues - please be specific.

And nothing is too big to not be surface attachable - engines are generally not surface attachable, and the awkward design considerations are there for a reason. And yes, the animation is fixed - also as noted above, it's a matter of syncing the particle effects, the animations, and your physics frame rate... and I have control over about one and a half of those ;)

4x detonations per second??? I thought the 4,000 ton reference version topped out at 1x per second, mostly to give the secondary shock absorbers time to rebound and to smooth out the acceleration (my references and books on the project show acceleration max as cycling up and down about two of three G's every second, quite a ride...).

Yep I'm going to be doing some tweaks - bear in mind this is pre-release :)

Oh, and another thing; the Orion Drive needs an attachment point on the bottom, so we can strap a chemical booster to the bottom.

Which I realize sounds absolutely bugnuts, but fallout is a thing. I'd like to at least get the Orion a few kilometers up before it gets underway.

It does not have a bottom attachment node by design.

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Thank you for this, this is amazing.

In common with your other mods, this is clearly the "Design for Effect" version of Orion - and that's not a bad thing. Comparing with Nyarth's, it's significantly easier to use - the expelled energy is far more granular, so it's possible to land this on the Mun, if it weren't for the protruding tube.

The downsides are similar though - vast expense, massive, so it's difficult to manoeuvre, and difficult to refuel (possibly impossible with ISRU? Should be fairly high up the MKS tree anyway), so it's something of a dead end in terms of development.

I've yet to build one which doesn't tear itself apart at more than 50% thrust or so, but that's not too much of a problem - but I wonder if it's too easy to fine tune it's thrust? Part of the appeal of Nyarth's effort was that it showed how brutal and ugly the concept is - massively powerful, and it will get you there easily enough, but even with multiple bomb options it was awkward to do anything precisely with it.

Very excited about the Medusa and Mini-mag models, and any other atomic rockets you end up including here - clearly this meshes nicely with Near Future Propulsion's electric engines.

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Yup but in KSP it would be at the start of the tech tree...how crazy is that? If it is placed there, before NERVA, heck before the 2.5m parts, why bother with anything else for propulsion? Only thing I can see in game that would balance it out is cost and maybe a rep hit for using nukes as firecrackers, but even then Freeman Dyson I think said one Orion launch would cause between .1 to 1 fatalities from cancer per launch, so realistically maybe big rep hit for the first launch (much fear) but after the first maybe much less? Even then if we assume later, improved, version of the Orion drive are using fusion instead of fission charges with 90% or higher efficiency the fallout is negligible. So maybe just cost to serve as a reason to develop other engines?

Of course that's if you want to place as 1950's tech.

I would advice to put it it in the efficient nuclear propulsion tech node or experimental rocketry technode. Just because in real life it was developed aheat of it's time, doesn't means you also need to do it in the KSP techtree.

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Oh I would not even look at MechJeb for these (or KER) given the engines kinda do their own thing :D

Mechjeb give totaly wrong values for dV and trust. it works pretty well for doing burns but as it underestimate the TWR it will burn early.

The advanced transfer to other planets and the intercept at time functions is very nice so is circulate at Pe, 30-100.000 m/s is standard interplanetary burns for Orion.

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I'm on the side with the people saying that the Nuclear Pulse Rocket Body (or at least the dang bomb magazine) should be surface attachable. If I want to have any RCS thrusters on the ship to aid in steering, they all have to be at the top, offcenter. Unless I want long spindly arms going down the rest of the ship to surface attach to.

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The question of where in the CTT to place it is an interesting one.

The cost of investment is a major one I think, so that's a large factor in balance, but since funds are the easiest resource to grind, that's probably not enough by itself.

CTT has Nuclear Propulsion, Improved Nuclear Propulsion and High Efficiency Nuclear Propulsion.

Since the Orion has three variants, it might make sense for these to be in all three tiers? Medusa should be more efficient ("High Efficiency") than the pusher plate version, and the mini-mag should probably nestle in the middle, as a smaller and more manageable (but higher tech, so "Improved") version, I would assume.

Porkjet has his LANTERN under Improved, and closed cycle lightbulb under high efficiency, as a point of reference.

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Thank you for this, this is amazing.

In common with your other mods, this is clearly the "Design for Effect" version of Orion - and that's not a bad thing. Comparing with Nyarth's, it's significantly easier to use - the expelled energy is far more granular, so it's possible to land this on the Mun, if it weren't for the protruding tube.

The downsides are similar though - vast expense, massive, so it's difficult to manoeuvre, and difficult to refuel (possibly impossible with ISRU? Should be fairly high up the MKS tree anyway), so it's something of a dead end in terms of development.

I've yet to build one which doesn't tear itself apart at more than 50% thrust or so, but that's not too much of a problem - but I wonder if it's too easy to fine tune it's thrust? Part of the appeal of Nyarth's effort was that it showed how brutal and ugly the concept is - massively powerful, and it will get you there easily enough, but even with multiple bomb options it was awkward to do anything precisely with it.

Very excited about the Medusa and Mini-mag models, and any other atomic rockets you end up including here - clearly this meshes nicely with Near Future Propulsion's electric engines.

Yep I'm revisiting the throttle feathering and making some fairly significant adjustments. Part of the reason for the pre was to get it in the hands of people and get some good initial feedback.

I would advice to put it it in the efficient nuclear propulsion tech node or experimental rocketry technode. Just because in real life it was developed aheat of it's time, doesn't means you also need to do it in the KSP techtree.

I'll interdisperse the mini mag, medusa, and usaf orion accross the nule prop nodes, just need to decide which order makes the most sense.

I'm on the side with the people saying that the Nuclear Pulse Rocket Body (or at least the dang bomb magazine) should be surface attachable. If I want to have any RCS thrusters on the ship to aid in steering, they all have to be at the top, offcenter. Unless I want long spindly arms going down the rest of the ship to surface attach to.

I may do some separate colliders since I have to slice off the magazine anyway to accomodate what I want to do for bomb sizes, but I'm still noodling that one over.

The question of where in the CTT to place it is an interesting one.

The cost of investment is a major one I think, so that's a large factor in balance, but since funds are the easiest resource to grind, that's probably not enough by itself.

CTT has Nuclear Propulsion, Improved Nuclear Propulsion and High Efficiency Nuclear Propulsion.

Since the Orion has three variants, it might make sense for these to be in all three tiers? Medusa should be more efficient ("High Efficiency") than the pusher plate version, and the mini-mag should probably nestle in the middle, as a smaller and more manageable (but higher tech, so "Improved") version, I would assume.

Porkjet has his LANTERN under Improved, and closed cycle lightbulb under high efficiency, as a point of reference.

Depends, I may have the mini mag be the most advanced of the three, so you go Orion-Medusa-Mini Mag

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Tried for a bit but couldn't get an Orion-equipped ship to remain stable upon takeoff, it swerves. Any tips?

I know this sounds like heresy but for this thing, and grand and glorious thing it is, thrust limiter is your new best friend when using this, also reaction wheels, you need the 5m versions from RoverDude's other pack. Also full throttle is a big no-no.

I set my thrust limit to 50% and got out atmosphere easy, of course by the time I picked my jaw off the floor I had achieved Kerbol escape velocity. Have I mentioned how awesome this is? :D

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:( I was hoping with this smaller version, I'd finally be able to build one of the Saturn V loft to hight, nuclear propulsion to orbit designs you sometimes see concepts for.

yes, having an bottom node, perhaps by an special interface/ decoupler would be nice it let you lift it to the upper atmosphere / space before engaging.

However if you use girders out from stuff on top of engine you can put decouplers on them, alternative put the girders on decoplers and booster on them.

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The question of where in the CTT to place it is an interesting one.

The cost of investment is a major one I think, so that's a large factor in balance, but since funds are the easiest resource to grind, that's probably not enough by itself.

CTT has Nuclear Propulsion, Improved Nuclear Propulsion and High Efficiency Nuclear Propulsion.

<snip>

My personal opinion is that CTT could use a few more tech nodes in several areas, Nuclear Propulsion being one of them.

The Orion and for instance, Saltwater NTR, open Cycle Gas Core NTR were very experimental.

So I would, personally, all place them in a new node after advNuclearPropulsion: Experimental Nuclear Propulsion (expNuclearPropulsion, 1500 rp).

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Indeed, we could use some experimental nuclear propulsion techs nodes

Agreed...! It is really, really a crazy propulsion system... should be very expensive in careerplay, like some millions to buy in... and some millions to actually buy one to use it... "reasonable".

OMG, it so cool!:P

The sail is just gorgeous. Have to grab Tweakscale... again... omgomgomg :confused:

Its also okay without Tweakscale... I have just seen the price tag... reasonable...

I guess that soundeffects in atmosphere are WIP... nevertheless its absolute amazing!

wdtbhnY.png

Edited by Mikki
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:( I was hoping with this smaller version, I'd finally be able to build one of the Saturn V loft to hight, nuclear propulsion to orbit designs you sometimes see concepts for.

Or use the NEXUS that was recently developed...

I have been waiting for some time for one of these to be completed... Can't wait to get internet back so I can download this!

Finally, I leave you with these seven terrifying words: "What if Whackjob gets ahold of this?"

Food for thought...

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Thank you for this! A thousand reps (well one,anyway) Ever since I heard of this IRL it thought "This is the REAL way to explore space!"

Only one question: Is there any way of steering the ship? I've got tons of reaction wheels but it porpoises along like a whale! I seem to remember that IRL there was going to be a way of offsetting the charges slightly. Could you incorporate a small gimbal effect?

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Great! It may be that there was some sort of gimbal effect IRL. Just flicking through George Dyson's 'Project Orion' book, there was a study done by Freeman Dyson on the effects of off-centre charges and a mechanism for guiding charges to correct the offset, but it looks like that was for the version which threw the charges around the side of the plate, not your later 'centre spike' design.

There was also a report on 'Stability and Control of Space Vehicle' which may have addressed the same problem.

There must have been some plans for guidance using the main engine. It seems daft to have to rely on chemical thrusters to make general course corrections on something so heavy.

I will have to re-read the book. Keep up the good work!

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