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USS ORION History:

20th Century:

US Naval vessel AS 18

USS ORION was laid down 31 July 1941 at the Moore Dry Dock Co., Oakland, Calif.; launched 24 June 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Robert A. White; and commissioned 30 September 1943, Capt. C. S. Isgrig in command.

Following shakedown off southern California, ORION got underway for Pearl Harbor 23 November 1943. Arriving there on the 28th, she received her first submarine, GAR (SS 206) alongside for repairs two days later. On 10 December she steamed for Australia, arriving at Fremantle 5 January 1944 to begin her mission of maintaining the material readiness of, and an adequate stock of supplies for, submarines operating in the southwest Pacific. She remained in Western Australia until 6 August when she proceeded to Mios Woendi to establish Advanced Submarine Base Able. Arriving 26 August, she serviced 24 submarines, and 466 surface vessels, before being relieved, 9 December, by GRIFFIN (AS 13).

The next day ORION headed back to Hawaii for overhaul. On 8 April 1945 she sailed west again. At Saipan between 23 April and 1 September, she served as CTG 17.7 and as SOPA (Admin) for Tanapag Harbor in addition to her tender and repair activities which were performed for over 300 ships.

As the formal surrender documents were being signed in Tokyo Bay, ORION was en route to the United States. Assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, she operated off the east coast for four months, then sailed south to Balboa, C.Z. Taking up duties with SubRon 6, 24 January 1946, she remained in the Canal Zone, with one interruption for overhaul, until 11 May 1949. Then, with SubRon 6, she steamed to Norfolk, her new homeport.

After that change of homeport, ORION continued to service SubRon 6 at Norfolk and, during fleet exercises, in the Caribbean. A FRAM II overhaul and conversion to nuclear support, 6 September 1960 - 25 February 1961, was followed by refresher training off Cuba. In June; her first nuclear submarine job came alongside in the form of SHARK (SSN 591). Three years later she added foreign nuclear submarines to her long list of services performed after completing work on HMS DREADNOUGHT. Support of SubRon 6, however, has continued to be ORION’s primary mission. She services the conventional and nuclear powered ships of that squadron from the Destroyer/Submarine Piers at Norfolk into October 1970, when ORION changed homeport to Charleston, SC. This change of homeport also brought along her new assignment to SubRon 4.

After a shipyard period at the Charleston Naval Shipyard, the ORION again changed homeport to La Maddalena, Italy, now servicing ships of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. She continued in this role until 1993, when she was relieved by the USS SIMON LAKE (AS 33). ORION subsequently returned to the United States for decommissioning, and was brought to the Maritime Administration for storage 1 May 1999 and then sold to North American Ship Recycling, Baltimore, Maryland to be dismantled on 27 July 2006.

At the time of her decommissioning in 1993, Orion was the oldest active ship in the US Navy's fleet. Accordingly, she flew the 'Don't Tread On Me' flag toward the end of her service.

Project Orion

Project Orion was the first engineering design study of a spacecraft powered by nuclear pulse propulsion, an idea proposed first by Stanisław Ulamduring 1947. The project, initiated in 1958, envisioned the explosion of atomic bombs behind the craft and was led by Ted Taylor at General Atomics and physicist Freeman Dyson, who at Taylor's request took a year away from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton to work on the project.

By using energetic nuclear power, the Orion concept offered high thrust and specific impulse at the same time; the optimum combination for spacecraft propulsion. As a qualitative comparison, traditional chemical rockets (the Moon-class Saturn V or the Space Shuttle being prime examples) provide (rather) high thrust, but low specific impulse, whereas ion engines do the opposite. Orion would have offered performance greater than the most advanced conventional or nuclear rocket engines now being studied. Cheap interplanetary travel was the goal of the Orion Project. Its supporters felt that it had potential for space travel, but it lost political approval over concerns with fallout from its propulsion.The Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 is generally acknowledged to have ended the project.

21st Century:


Orion is a spacecraft design currently under development by the United States space agency NASA. Each Orion spacecraft will carry a crew of four to six astronauts. The spacecraft is designed to be launched by the Ares I, a launch vehicle, also currently under development. Both Orion and Ares I are elements of NASA's Project Constellation, which plans to send human explorers back to the Moon by 2020, and then onward to Mars and other destinations in the Solar System. On August 31, 2006, NASA awarded Lockheed Martin (LM) the contract to design, develop, and build Orion.

Orion will launch from Launch Complex 39 at Kennedy Space Center, the same launch complex that currently launches the space shuttle. While shuttle operations continue from launch pad 39A, 39B is being readied for Ares launches. NASA will use Orion spacecraft for itshuman spaceflight missions after the last shuttle orbiter is retired in 2010. The first crewed Orion flight is anticipated in 2015. Subsequent flights will visit the International Space Station. If commercial orbital transportation services are unavailable, Orion will handle logistic flights to the Station. After that, Orion is to become a key component of human missions to the Moon and Mars.

22nd Century:

The NX class USS Orion assisted the other NX vessels of the period with the beginning explorations of what is now known as Federation territory. It was decommissioned in 2161 along with the Enterprise, Columbia, and Intrepid, making way for the Constitution class.

23rd Century:

The Constitution class USS Orion was in service in the early to mid 23rd century along with other notable ships including the USS Enterprise under James T. Kirk. The Orion's mission was top secret and is therefore not listed in other documents. It is mentioned here for historic purposes only. Its true mission was never revealed.

24th Century:

The USS Orion was a Constellation-class Federation starship in service in the early to mid 24th century.

The USS Orion was a Steamrunner-class vessel in service to Starfleet in the 2376.
That year, the Orion was testing the prototype of the Wildfire device -- a protomatter warhead that can ignite gas giants into stars -- in the atmosphere of the gas gaint Galvan VI. During the test the Orion was attacked by the Ovanim, a non-corporeal race made of light energy, who lived in the atmosphere of Galvan VI. The attacked killed the entire crew and severely damaged the ship. During a recovery effort by the USS da Vinci, the Orion was destroyed, but the Wildfire device was recovered.

The USS Orion currently in service is a Sovereign class vessel of the United Federation of Planets Starfleet. Captain Dan Zimmerli is her commanding officer. After 5 years in service, the Orion has been on 2 extensive charting missions to the outer reaches of Federation territory. She is slated for refit in the coming year and is expected to have a complete engine/nacelle overhaul and saucer modifications. Thanks to technology from the Voyager mission, she already has ablative armor, metaphasic shielding, and quantum torpedos.