Mike Okuda and the physics of Virtuality

Over at The Drex Files, the one and only Mike Okuda has penned an article detailing the physics behind the Phaeton’s nuclear pulse propulsion system. Here’s a snip…

Nuclear pulse propulsion was a real concept that was developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  It would have used nuclear bombs as propellant.   At the back of the spacecraft would have been a large, flat “pusher plate,” mounted on a series of beefy shock absorbers.  There’d be a small hole in the middle of the pusher plate, through which a series of small nuclear bombs would be ejected.  Each bomb would explode, pushing the ship forward.  A typical ship design would require some 800 small nuclear charges to be detonated in rapid succession in order to boost a ship into orbit.  Additional charges could have sent it to the Moon, the planets, or even further. The power of this proposed system would have been amazing.  They figured they could launch spaceships weighing many hundreds – even thousands – of tons much more easily than using NASA’s chemical rockets.

It’s a great read. Head on over and check it out.

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1 Response to “Mike Okuda and the physics of Virtuality”


  1. 1 Adam July 16, 2009 at 6:33 am

    One ‘Orion’ design they explored massed 8 MILLION tons at lift-off. Basically a whole city flung into space…


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