Tough SF

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Particle Beams in Space

Science fiction is missing a realistic and grounded look at particle beams. We plan to do just that now.  
After reading this, you might decide to give particle beams their rightful place alongside lasers as a means of transmitting power, propelling spacecraft or dealing damage at long distances.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Inter-Orbital Kinetic Energy Exchanges: Part I

Electrical power can be transferred between planets using high velocity masses. Kinetic Energy Exchanges are an efficient concept that can output more energy than it consumes and only gets better with distance.
Guest writer Zerraspace (Zach Hajj) works out the details and reveals just how impressive the concept is. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Lasers, Mirrors and Star Pyramids

Lasers can hit targets at extreme ranges, at the fastest speed possible. They are ideal weapons for space warfare. 
However, everyone knows that lasers bounce off mirrors... does this make lasers useless?

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Permanent and Perfect Stealth in Space

Despite the commonly accepted truth in Hard Science Fiction, spacecraft are able to evade detection in space in many circumstances. The Hydrogen Steamer was a design that used liquid hydrogen evaporative cooling to keep a non-reflective surface practically invisible. 
However, it was vulnerable to RADAR and had extremely poor manoeuverability, as it was meant to demonstrate how long it could stay cool. This time, we will design a more advanced, functional and performant stealth spacecraft.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Piracy in Space is Possible Part II: Armed Merchants and Pirate Patrols

There's more to piracy than just attacking a target and running away afterwards. 
Put yourself in the shoes of a pirate, a merchant or the authorities. What would you do?

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Piracy in Space is Possible Part I: Dastardly DeltaV and Stealth Steamers

Space Piracy is a common science fiction trope. It has been continuously derided in Hard Science Fiction as silly and a holdover of the 'Space is an Ocean' analogy. 
But is it really that unrealistic to have space pirates? Let's find out.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Advanced Solar Energy in Space: Part I

Solar Thermal Rockets can be efficient and have high performance. However, they remain temperature-limited to an exhaust velocity of 12km/s.
How do we surpass this limit?

Monday, 23 October 2017

Liquid Rhenium Solar Thermal Rocket

The maximum temperature concentrated sunlight can heat a material to is 5800K. How do we approach this limit?
We will describe existing and potential designs for solar thermal rockets. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

SpaceX SFR: Small Falcon Rocket

The Small Falcon Rocket is a scaled down alternative to SpaceX's Big Falcon Spaceship that fits on top of existing Falcon 9 boosters. 
We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such a design.