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

"Conspiracy theories are big because they're comforting. Any conspiracy is infinitely less multiplex than the real deal, which is multiplex to the point of being unknowable."
- William Gibson

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
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Used Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Will Fly Again
Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost

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

Superstrong Multilayer Metal-Graphene Composite Material
Negligible increase in weight increased material strength by hundreds of times.

Deepfakes Imperil Democracy (George Orwell, Right Again)
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'

String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.

Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'

World's First Autonomous Tram In Germany
What's it like for autonomous trams when they're turned off at night?

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

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.