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Discarding Stages

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Concept Nuclear Pulse Propulsion Deep Space Mission Spacecraft.

Artwork featured in Issue 34 of 3D Art Direct Magazine Link here

A Callisto mission spacecraft, launched on an ice mining terraforming resource recovery mission, discarding spent impulse-magazine stages after completing an Oberth braking maneuver. The Oberth maneuver is accomplished by diving deep into Jupiter’s gravity well, performing a tight orbital pass around Jupiter while firing the Orion pulsed plasma rocket against the vehicles orbital direction.

Imaged here is the post-firing stage of the maneuver, the Crew-Vehicle (Image Left) and the Orion Propulsion Bus (Image Right) have separated, the reaction control jets can be seen firing to maintain station-keeping as depleted impulse-charge magazine-stages (in between the Crew Vehicle and the Orion Propulsion Bus) are discarded to fall harmlessly into Jupiter’s atmosphere for disposal.

The terraforming resource-recovery missions in my future history are by necessity self-reliant ventures. The crewed vessels provide bubbles of shelter, heat, light, warmth, they are self sufficient isolated space faring communities generally with mission crews of fifty members, accompanied by two and three uncrewed support vessels baring all of the machinery tools and supplies required to conduct their 3 year missions. Note: The habitat portion of the spacecraft, embedded deep within the vehicle, enclosed within the physical mass of the surrounding structure, and protected by hydrogen and water tanks, provides the necessary protection to permit the crew to survive deep penetration of Jupiter's lethal radiation belt.

Image is part of a future historical setting, see my journal entry Orion’s Arm Future History, A Synopsis. A Timeline is to be found here: Timeline.

On my Orion's Arm timeline the image would fall during the Outer Solar System Frontier Era.

Backdrop is Voyager 1 mosaic of Jupiter’s great red spot courtesy NASA/JPL

Journal Entries:

For contextual information on the purpose of the Callisto Resource Recovery missions see my essay on Terraforming Mars.

An essay on Nuclear Pulse Propulsion is available here: Orion: Nuclear Pulse Propulsion.

Callisto Mission Images:

Callisto Mission Crew Vehicle Launch

Outward Bound

Falling Toward Periapsis

Discarding Stages

Callisto-Mission Spacecraft Flight Control Station

Callisto Mission Spacecraft Command Deck Overhead

Callisto Mission Spacecraft Crew Quarters

Prospecting Callisto

Mining The Ice

Periapsis: Racing the Clouds of Jove

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© 2013 - 2022 William-Black
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hhemken's avatar
Are the models available for download or purchase?
ianvicknair's avatar
how did you do the planet
William-Black's avatar
Backdrop is Voyager 1 mosaic of Jupiter’s great red spot courtesy NASA/JPL
LordOmegaZ's avatar
so it jettisons the slices away that are depleted and then re-attaches but now shorter?

man, that is some good ship designing x3
William-Black's avatar
Yes it drops the useless mass of depleted magazine stages, this reduces the number of pulse units required to brake the craft into orbit at Callisto. The NASA 10-meter nuclear pulse propulsion spacecraft employed the same mass reduction technique, see Nuclear Pulse Space Vehicle Study GA-5009, Vol. III – Conceptual Vehicle Designs and Operational Systems, PDF here: GA-5009 vol III (PDF)
LordOmegaZ's avatar
ah! so by reducing its own mass it requires even less bomb power to move/decelerate.

awesome logic :D

kinda reminds me of Asparagus staging in KSP (btw there is now a new Orion mod for it released WITH the medusa variant) 
LordOmegaZ's avatar
wow o3o!

when was this written? looks very old. o3o
William-Black's avatar
GA-5009 is the 1964 design study for NASA, prepared at General Atomics John Jay Hopkins Laboratory for Pure and Applied Science for George C. Marshall Space Flight Center’s Future Projects Office.

The NASA Exploration Orion's were 10 and 20 meter designs (nuclear pulse systems are classed by pusher plate diameter). The 10-meter designs could be lofted on a Saturn V to 60 miles altitude, where the nuclear pulse propulsion system could safely take over boosting the Orion on its way, or, for larger mission assemblies, the Saturn V would place the propulsion module in LEO to await additional mission modules to be launched either on Saturn V or Saturn 1b boosters and the complete mission vehicle would then be assembled in orbit.

The 20-meter Orion's for the 50 man Mars mission, the large logistics Mars mission vehicle, or the Callisto mission vehicle described in the report would require one of the large post-Saturn  boosters, options were the Convair Nexus SSTO, which was designed to loft large nuclear upper stages, or the Nova.

The USAF had its own set of designs, distinct from the NASA Exploration program, and these included 10- meter and larger vehicles, you can read more about these here Hard SF Feature 04: Scott Lowther and the links at the bottom of that page will direct you to the Aerospace Projects Review issues that give the definitive and full overview of Orion, everything from the early large General Atomics Orion's through the NASA Exploration program designs.
kuzy62's avatar
Chofni1996's avatar
Great work,I like it.
sincebecomeswhy's avatar
Amazingly convincing work! It's a pleasure to see some realistic visions of the future. :)
nilsxys's avatar
Really, really cool!
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