Saturday, April 13, 2013

Thoughts on ships, stars and science fiction

I've been trying to think of ways to combine maneuverability and fuel capacity in a single ship.  Here's a concept that might work.  It assumes that the only propulsion system that really does the job is some sort of very high exhaust velocity "atomic rocket".  Also, its clear that our travel system will need a lot of fuel; but size (length particularly) is opposed to maneuverability.  To be maneuverable, you want a sphere with no more in it than you need to fight.  To travel for long distances and maintain the craft you need a lot of impedimenta.

Here's my compromise:
The main propulsion is our probably-radioactive "rocket".  The combat module has the main engineering systems, significant fuel, main weapons, and enough habitat and life support for enough crew to fight the ship in minimal comfort.

The Fuel module is just what it says on the tin, and comes with rotating habitats, extended life support, and support and maintenance as well as reserve combat crew.  Landers, shuttles, expendable reloads, the "FTL space jump drive if it is a separate system"  and the like would also be part of that module.

The combat module would "park" the logistics module well away from the expected action, un-dock, and fight with in a low mass configuration with minimized moment of inertia.

I've also pulled down the All Sky catalog from Vizier; to save myself some time I decided to let the server calculate the galactic coordinates.

Now, if you can think back to reading SF in the 1970s, consider: in what decade you would have expected the above sentence to be written; perhaps what century?

Also in the realms of no longer SF, it looks like about three years from now I am going to need fibre-op and a couple of terrabytes of disk space. Cool or what?


  1. I remember being with my buddy Doug, the day we saw that a HD with a gig of RAM had dropped to only $1000.

    1. I cringe to think of how much I paid for my first personal computer. Or how much I would have had to pay if I had bought the Hipparcos catalog on CD when it first came out.

      I'm still wondering where Moore's Law will max out.