Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Michael (Orion Ship)  
  A spacecraft using nuclear bombs for propulsion.  

The Earth is attacked from space; all military forces and spaceports are destroyed. How can humanity get back into space with what they have, and destroy the invaders?

The screens hadn't changed in several minutes. One, from a camera on the dome wall, showed Michael in full. Two great towers stood on the curve of the hemispherical shell, with cannon showing beneath the lip, aimed inward. Four smaller towers flanked them. A brick-shaped structure rose above them. The Brick was much less massive than the Shell, but its sides were covered with spacecraft: tiny gunships, and four Shuttles with tanks but no boosters. The Brick's massive roof ran beyond the flanks to shield the Shuttles and gunships.
From Footfall, by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle).
Published by Ballantine in 1985
Additional resources -

There was a real Project Orion; it originated at General Atomics in San Diego. Physicist Theodore Taylor and others examined the feasibility of a nuclear-pulse rocket powered by nuclear fission. The original idea was put forward by Stanislaw Ulam and Cornelius Everett in 1955. Bombs set off on one side of a pusher plate with some solid propellant material would push on the plate, moving the craft forward.

Aldo Spadoni of Aerospace Imagnineering has created detailed technical drawings of Michael, working with Larry Niven.


(Michael [Drawing by Aldo Spadoni])

Read more about the real Orion Project.

Here's another example of the same idea, the Atomic Pulse Rocket. I believe the cool picture is part of an ad campaign for American Bosch Arma (a defense contractor) in 1958-59.


(Atomic Pulse Rocket [American Bosch Arma])

Weighing in at about 75,000 tons, and roughly the size of the Empire State Building, this behemoth would leave the atmosphere under the influence of about a thousand atomic blasts.

Each atom bomb is fired from a low-velocity gun into a heavy steel rocket engine at the rate of one per second. Steam and vaporized steel from the combustion chamber maintain thrust. Living quarters are housed in the wheel-like cabin, which can of course be spun for artificial gravity.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 3 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Footfall
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)
  Tech news articles related to Footfall
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)

Articles related to Spacecraft
Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
Europe's Cheops To Look For Habitable Planets
SpaceX Dragon First Private Craft To Dock With ISS

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.