So it came to my attention late last week that NASA were launching a space ship called Orion on a test mission.
"FUCK YEAH!" I exclaimed, only to be vastly disappointed when I found out that it did not, in fact, have an Orion drive.
I think it's part of a plan to get there. If people get used to NASA launching Orion craft then they won't look as closely at a drive with the same name.
I love explaining the Orion drive to people who have never heard of it.
"So take a space ship. Put it in orbit. Throw away all the silly rockets and fuel tanks and stuff. You won't need it. Weld a bigass metal plate to the back. Chuck nuclear bombs out the back door and set them off for propulsion."
The looks of mixed intrigue and horror are endlessly pleasing.
And then you start talking about shaped nuclear charges, using the phrase 'like a more humane claymore mine'.
This pitiful Orion thing is just that. "Oh, look, we'll make one test launch every three years." They claim a Moon or Mars trip, I forget which, in the 2030s, but don't you believe it.
Meanwhile SpaceX has 5 launches a year or more planned for the next few.
SpaceX is working on mass production earth orbit rocketry. The Falcon Heavy being useful for intersystem work is entirely a function of delta v being delta v.
This is the correct division of labor. Commercial for the run of the mill stuff, and pure science programs assuming the risky moonshot type missions.
Who's building Moonbase Alpha?
(And don't forget the lucrative Eagle module contracts.)
Whoah - for a moment I thought you were using a green version of the Ilwrath Avenger avatar.
What about Moonbase Zappa?