Wow! There is real development activity with regards to the orion drive! I've blogged on this before but it looks like Andrews Space is doing actual work for NASA on a development of the atomic pogostick.
Short version: the USAF and to a limited extent NASA worked in the 50s and sixties on a rocket that used little atom bombs a pusher plate and the mother of all shock absorbers to produce a vehicle that could attain incredible speeds with payloads on the order of a WW2 cruiser!
The new system has several improvements over the original version as it disposes of the actual atom bombs in favor of using a magnetic system to pinch the fuel into critical mass....this allows far more controlability!. This is much closer to the classic science fiction view of a spaceship engine. It also doesn't require having lots of atom bombs lying around for your spaceship (and what space entrepanuer wants the ATF hassles THAT would bring?)
Andrews is talking about 60-90 day transit times to Mars and a year to Jupiter using just the MMO (no ion sustainer). Of course such a craft is best built on the moon or at least well beyond the Van Allen Belts and the no EMP zone that is Geostationary orbit.
Certainly is a good thing NASA is building that HLV so many people are pissed about.
I really hope this gets traction!
This should be in history textbooks not speculative fiction......
Video of the old pusher design (Updated with SRBs) here......really cool until they decide to land the main ship (which Orion could not do)
Hat Tip: HobbySpace
Hat Tip Video: Nuclear Space