Project Orion: "Typical Acceleration Profile."

From the collection of author and tech historian George Dyson.


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  • Sam Penny 9y

    What's the deal with the *negative* acceleration in a misfire condition?

    Cheers & God bless
    Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny
  • bugmenot_34549 9y

    Yeah, I would not want to be in a ship that somehow just had enough radiation shot through it to accelerate it twice as fast in the opposite direction.

    Unless maybe that's acceleration w/r/t the destination, in which case I guess it could just be turning or something.
  • csh 9y

    Mmmm, correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't "negative acceleration" just mean the device is slowing down. It's not accelerating, it's deaccelerating. That would make sense if the engines failed.
  • Sam Penny 9y

    Yes, negative acceleration is deceleration, but there's nothing in space to slow you down, unless you hit something! (Newton's first law, baby!) Intuitiion is based on our every day experience where there is a superabundance of friction and air resistance to slow things down. In space, there's no air, there's no need for moving parts with friction. If there were, the earth would've slowed down its orbit until it plummeted into the sun (quite some time ago!)

    Also, acceleration needn't be measured w/r/t anything. Velocity must be, but I can accelerate without knowing or caring whether my point of reference is moving.

    Meh, all this physics is making me hungry, I'm off to make a pbj sarnie.

    Cheers & God bless
    Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny
  • vandemir2 7y

    The negative acceleration is the rebound of the pusher plate (which is up to half the mass of the ship) flying back without getting hit by the next blast.
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