About Project Orion Renaissance

My name is Timothy Michael McHugh and I was born on Tuesday, October 25, 1983 in San Diego, CA.  I got into space and astronomy when I was seven and eight years old when someone exposed me to the subject and I have been a space enthusiast ever since.  I got into Star Trek at that time by watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG).  I also got a copy of The Golden Book of Stars and Planets written by Judith Herbert and illustrated by Tom LaPadula in the early 1990s as a present.


It is on pages 42 and 43 of The Golden Book of Stars and Planets under Rocket Wings And Speedy Things that I saw realistic starship designs and an image of Project Orion for the first time in my life but did not realize it until March 1997 while looking at a Discover Space computer program.  Since then, my interest in starships designed according to realistic scientific principles grew stronger and stronger.  Finally on Monday, August 17, 1998, I got hooked on Project Orion and due to comprehension issues that I had at the time, believed it to be a project of the future and I used the Orion design featured in Carl Sagan's Cosmos.  That's right, I believed that the nuclear explosive-propelled Orion would be in the future.  In October 1998, I bought a copy of The Starflight Handbook which had a different Orion design that was similar to the Orion in The Golden Book of Stars and Planets and I switched to that design in November 1998.  It was not until the morning of Thursday, February 18, 1999 that someone was able to convince me that Orion was dead due to factors such as the signing of the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and that Orion as an attempt to develop a nuclear explosive-propelled spaceship lasted from 1958 until 1965.  And in response to that I totally revamped the propulsion of Orion to use the same D-He3 fusion pulse propulsion that Project Daedalus was designed to use and called it "Orion II" or "Project Orion II" for many years.  Now I just call the D-He3 Orion an extension of Project Orion.


At present, I am a college student studying to be an aerospace engineer.  So I am an amateur space scientist who is still learning and I do not yet know everything there is to know about the refit Project Orion.  Currently, there is a Project Icarus study continuing from where Daedalus left off which will give me great insight on how to redesigning Project Orion to be both safer and to fulfill its ultimate object of going to the stars and truly live up to its name.  Daedalus is too massive.  Unlike Daedalus and like Icarus, Orion will decelerate to its destination and use a secondary propulsion systems like a solar sail or a magsail to save propellant and decelerate.


The holy grail of space exploration and astronomy alike is to find a habitable planet with life, especially one with complex life or intelligent life.  This website is a non-profit website devoted to the rebirth of Project Orion via a Daedalus/Icarus-style fusion pulse refit to get humanity going to the stars.


Sadly, our culture of pushing the envelope, choosing innovation of emulation and empiricism over revelation, has been overwhelmed by a lazy culture of "why bother" following the Apollo era which forces great scientists to shelve their "absurd" ideas for more "practical" pursuits.  The only reason we ever went to the moon was to beat the Soviets and the public soon lost interest after their objective was achieved.  It is a shame that we as a civilization allowed for this to happen and how long must we stand by and watch brave scientific proposals collect dust?  I have had it with this current pernicious culture of impotence, ignorance and fear and want to do my part to make a difference.  It is time to be bold and to seize greatness.  If we are content living in the past, we have no future and I say that today is the past.  I am saying this as inspired by the Velvet Rocket page on Project Daedalus.


There is hope to end the current lazy "why bother" sentiment as in SpaceX's Falcon rockets and Dragon capsules and the Skylon Spaceplane which aim to make space travel much cheaper and have totally reusable launch vehicles which is the holy grail of rocketry.  The space shuttle and expendable launch vehicles are expensive; the shuttle was reusable except for the external fuel tank and expendable rockets are not at all reusable so what a waste.  I am glad that companies like SpaceX and Reaction Engines Ltd are working on cheaper ways of surface to orbit and on total reusable spacecraft.  I will write one page on each facet relating to the Project Orion Renaissance to go into far more detail on the subject than either my homepage and about page could ever do put together.


Also this website will also counter an infamous Star Wars fan website called "StarDestroyer.Net".  SD.net is nothing more than an anti-Star Trek smear campaign designed to destroy all respect for Star Trek and its fanbase.  A website whose namesake is the Star Destroyer (a Star Wars ship) spends much more time insulting Star Trek than talking about what Star Destroyers do.  A bad apple Star Wars fan known as Michael Wong is the head of SD.net which he has as a hobby website but that does not nullify the fact that his website is a very drastic problem.  SD.net is responsible for coining the epithet "Trektard" as in an "English to Trektard Dictionary" on ImperialWiki.  You can go to SD.net's ImperialWiki and look up "Trektard" and you will see that there is a page devoted to the hurtful word and its usage!  I will have a chunk of this website dedicated to exposing Mike Wong and his SD.net for how stupid and cruel he and his followers really are.  SD.net is not unlike Confused Matthew's brain-damaged review of The Lion King.

"Then through the vast and gloomy dark,

There moves what seems a fiery spark,

A lonely spark with silvery rays

Piercing the coal-black night." - Edward Lear

Project Orion D-He3 fusion pulse starship