Monday, 11 September 2017

Low Earth Orbit Atmospheric Scoops

The rocket equation is often described as tyrannical. Low exhaust velocity chemical rockets that are used today need payloads to be mounted on towers of propellant to reach extraterrestrial destinations. 
Re-fueling a rocket in orbit has been floated as a solution to drastically reduce rocket sizes. The best source of propellant for this purpose is much closer than is generally thought... 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

How to Live on Other Planets: Saturn

So far away, yet arguably the most beautiful of celestial bodies. The Sun is a pale star and the Earth practically invisible from where it orbits... 

...can we live in the Saturnian system?

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Liquid Droplet Radiator Inter-Reflection

We follow up 'All the Radiators' with two questions on Liquid Droplet Radiators: How do we take into account inter-reflection in a droplet sheet? How does it affect the radiative efficiency?

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

All the Radiators

Every spaceship will have radiators. Energy such as sunlight, reactors, habitats and rocket engines accumulates as heat unless it is removed through radiation. 
We will look at how this critical component works and then at existing, future and possible designs. 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Physical Data Security

Why a complete loss of trust in online security is the best thing that can happen to the modern world.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

What's it made of? Part II: Supra-local Supermaterials

If more advanced technologies are available to reduce the cost of transport compared to the cost of extracting resources in the Solar System, it would be wise to consider a more general distribution of resources. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Nuclear EFP and HEAT

A follow-up to the popular Casaba Howitzer post, we now look more closely at the concept of nuclear shaped charges in both Explosively Formed Projectile and High-Explosive Anti-Tank (Monroe effect) forms. 

Friday, 12 May 2017

What's it made of? Part I: Locally available materials

Little thought is given to the materials spaceships are made out of. In this post, we'll try to find out what are the likely materials being used, how the would affect the spaceship's design and extrapolate the effects of more advanced materials. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Interstellar Trade is Possible Part III: Threats, Strategy and Evolution

Interstellar trade does not happen in a vacuum.
The colony will be face multiple threats, to be defended against as it evolves into a more and more significant part of human civilization.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Interstellar Trade Is Possible Part II: Travel

This is Part 2 of the series focusing on realistic Interstellar Trade. Here we will look at the various propulsion systems available and discuss which are appropriate in different settings and futures. Summary at the end.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Interstellar Trade Is Possible

In this post, we will detail a method for developing interstellar trade using near-future technologies and commercially realistic requirements. We will then look at the various outcomes, challenges and development models that will follow the first interstellar operation.

There is now a Summary at the end of the post.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Laser Launch into Orbit

In this post, we will look at laser launch systems, how they would look like and perform, and how they might be applied to reach orbit and beyond.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

How to Live on Other Planets: Jupiter

A look at how we could colonize Jupiter and its Moon. Fittingly long for our largest planet!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Boosted Orbital Tether - a fishing line in space!

The Boosted Orbital Tether is a less extreme version of the space elevator. A rocket is launched on a vertical trajectory to an altitude of several hundred kilometres. An orbiting mass drags a line and hook to catch the rocket and spends momentum to bring the rocket into orbit.
Let's look at the concept in more detail.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Expansion-cooled, Curved-nozzle stealth rocket

Here, we will look at a design for engines that can accelerate a spacecraft without producing detectable emissions. It is best fitted to a stealth spaceship described in 'The Hydrogen Steamer: Stealth Spaceship Concept'.