In the late 1950's, the U.S. government began research into an interplanterary spacecraft that relied on nuclear detonations for propulsion. The effort, dubbed "Project Orion," died quietly ater a few years. But many of the documents surrounding the atomic spaceship have remained hidden or classified for more than four decades.Boing Boing has a bunch of 'em up, now -- as well as an interview with tech historian George Dyson, who's dad worked on Orion. Check it out.UPDATE 11:15 AM: "Orion is interesting from a military technology point of view, partly because it was literally a 'space battleship' with a large stock of nuclear warheads it could deliver anywhere on the planet," says David Hambling. "In particular, there is a program mentioned in [Dyson's] book called 'Casaba Howitzer' which is a nuke with highly directional blast, suitable for attacking buried installations etc. Casaba Howitzer is still, as far as I know, highly classified with no details anywhere."
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