Jump to content

A good near-future spaceship design?


RenegadeRad
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey there geeks!

Well, this is a serious thread. Over the years, I always searched for spaceship design (I always had an interest in building or designing stuff),  but the result was always disappointing.

See, the main point is that as a "designer" whenever I want to make something, I try to make it in a very utilizable and bold way. I really despise every single art work or "design" made by people in majority all over the Internet on spaceships. They just make whatever they want (which is totally impossible to function) or make it super sci fi and full of wierd fantasy designs. Then one day I stumbled across the "mark 2 ksp spaceplane" picture on the results of Google search, which had a legit "spaceship" design. I opened it and reached here. Then I bought KSP the next day and played it the whole day without sleep or eat. I still do. Help me.

Back to topic , the design I'm looking for has a little "spacestuff" aspect. The design which caught my eye (I know this must have been discussed for a million times here) is the Interstellar's endurance. The design of the ship shows "hey, it's made for space travel!" And is very idunnohowtoexplaininwordshelp. The design was such that it could be used dramatically. 

I don't like rocket like "long" ships. And also ships which look like planes, it doesn't have the vibe of space, it looks like it is made for the atmosphere. I want ships which cover an area in all directions is not too sci fi. Another ship I liked was the heart of gold from hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. So if anyone can show me a similar design, or is interested in making one, please post about it here. 

Another point, it can have aring  like design. Im not able to design a ship, so I need help...  

Thanks, and sorry for the trouble !

Don't you dare mention ixs enterprise. It's overrated.

Edited by RenegadeRad
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, RenegadeRad said:

Nope :(

What nope ?

When designing something, form should follow fonction. Start by defining requirements. This should give you a good idea of the components your vehicle will need to contain. Then you can come up with an architecture, and finally a layout.

Edited by Nibb31
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Bill Phil said:

ISV Venturestar is pretty good. The only issue is producing that antimatter.

Thats pretty far future for near future. They siad 2 centuries to develope antimatter containment. 

So it has a speed of 207,000,000 m/s almost 0.7c but it takes 6.8 years to get to alpha centauri. 

the problem is that almost all of the fuel is for accekeration, they hand wave declleration as fuel or photon sail. 

I did the calculations for optimal, perfectly efficient antimatter drive, i found that it would never get more than 0.4c if you allowed for deceleration. If we used their logic, they are overestimating time dilation at their speeds, it would take significantly longer than 5  years. 1.5 g is impractical for efficient acceleration, assuming even 80% conversion accekeration would take years, deceleration also. At 0.4 c would take at least 12 years, more likely 15 years. 

Alpha centauri is not a choice terraforming target star with planets, its simply the closest. If we start looking at practical terraforming targets, its on the order of 20 ly. Acceleration is not so much the issue but you aretalking at keast 50 years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One my my favorite spaceship designs is the Prometheus from the movie of the same name: Built in 2091, should be near future enough?

prometheus-ship.jpg


@PB666 In Avatar, there is an enormous array of lasers on the Moon, which accelerates ships leaving Earth, and decelerates ships arriving at Earth. The only reason they don't use Lasers for both ends, is because they haven't been able to build such a laser array at Alpha Centauri yet, thus, the ship uses its antimatter drives to brake at ACen, where it is refueled, and then to leave ACen again. So it needs exactly enough fuel for one 0.7c acceleration phase. The Venture Star uses a hybrid antimatter-fusion drive, possibly some sort of antimatter catalyzed fusion engine?

Edited by SargeRho
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, SargeRho said:

In Avatar, there is an enormous array of lasers on the Moon, which accelerates ships leaving Earth, and decelerates ships arriving at Earth. The only reason they don't use Lasers for both ends, is because they haven't been able to build such a laser array at Alpha Centauri yet, thus, the ship uses its antimatter drives to brake at ACen, where it is refueled, and then to leave ACen again. The Venture Star uses a hybrid antimatter-fusion drive, possibly some sort of antimatter catalyzed fusion engine?

Very powerful lasers indeed, reaching 0.7 c in 5 and 1/2 months and traveling 0.1 lasers from the moon is impractical and not a good choice. Its another sci-fi reach, no different than warp drives or wormholes. 

The moon rotates 1 time every 29 days or sonrelative to any point in distal space. for 15 days those lasers will be doing nothing, second the posiotion of the craft is moving away at d = 7.5 T^2. lets say we set the practical targeting of lasers at 7.5 thousand kilometers. This means it will be able to focus for 1000 seconds, at 15 m/sq.sec thats 15 km/sec, lets say 7.5 billion kilometers, thats 15000 km/sec. This is already well past the helioshock, and you still only have 7% of their stated velocity. Again this is focusing from a rotating moon orbiting the earth which is orbiting the sun.

Better focusing would require an array close to the helio pause, but short of a huge array of fresnel lenses there is no way to solar power it, that alternative is only nuclear,mwhich means you have a huge array of nuclear reactors fueling lasers and pointing and focusing 1.5 trillion kilometers into space. For a laser, lets say rubidium, to be that accurate it would need to be able to kill a flea on pluto from a ship orbiting the sun at 1AU. 

Then there is the logic, where does the antimatter come from in alpha centauri system? if the ship has to carry fuel for the return home, once again you are at 0.4c, and since the moon laser idea is bad sci-fi, it means the maximum speed you can achieve is 0.28c, it means that you have 18 to 22 years to get there. Best leave those whack aliens alone. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, PB666 said:

Very powerful lasers indeed, reaching 0.7 c in 5 and 1/2 months and traveling 0.1 lasers from the moon is impractical and not a good choice. Its another sci-fi reach, no different than warp drives or wormholes. 

The moon rotates 1 time every 29 days or sonrelative to any point in distal space. for 15 days those lasers will be doing nothing, second the posiotion of the craft is moving away at d = 7.5 T^2. lets say we set the practical targeting of lasers at 7.5 thousand kilometers. This means it will be able to focus for 1000 seconds, at 15 m/sq.sec thats 15 km/sec, lets say 7.5 billion kilometers, thats 15000 km/sec. This is already well past the helioshock, and you still only have 7% of their stated velocity. Again this is focusing from a rotating moon orbiting the earth which is orbiting the sun.

Better focusing would require an array close to the helio pause, but short of a huge array of fresnel lenses there is no way to solar power it, that alternative is only nuclear,mwhich means you have a huge array of nuclear reactors fueling lasers and pointing and focusing 1.5 trillion kilometers into space. For a laser, lets say rubidium, to be that accurate it would need to be able to kill a flea on pluto from a ship orbiting the sun at 1AU. 

Then there is the logic, where does the antimatter come from in alpha centauri system? if the ship has to carry fuel for the return home, once again you are at 0.4c, and since the moon laser idea is bad sci-fi, it means the maximum speed you can achieve is 0.28c, it means that you have 18 to 22 years to get there. Best leave those whack aliens alone. 

Impractical, but needed for the plot. It's a forgivable detail, imo.

You can constantly see Alpha Centauri from the South Pole, so you can probably see it from the Moon's south pole, too.

At alpha centauri, the antimatter is harvested from Polyphemus' magnetic field and upper atmosphere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, SargeRho said:

Impractical, but needed for the plot. It's a forgivable detail, imo.

You can constantly see Alpha Centauri from the South Pole, so you can probably see it from the Moon's south pole, too.

At alpha centauri, the antimatter is harvested from Polyphemus' magnetic field and upper atmosphere.

Right. . . . 

Just to point out the south pole of the moon is not known for its insolance. Nor is a magnetic feild a good place to capture antimatter, if there is one, in dense enough quantities to stockpile enough to go 0.7c

 

Edited by PB666
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Explorer from Gravity? :)

I kid, I kid.

 

What about the Endurance? I mean, we don't have a Wormhole, but it can get to Saturn.

3 hours ago, RenegadeRad said:

Don't you dare mention ixs enterprise. It's overrated.

What did you say? That design was awesome!

Not near term, hell no, but that design was the best, I really liked the Star trek feel to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, PB666 said:

Right. . . . 

Just to point out the south pole of the moon is not known for its insolance. Nor is a magnetic feild a good place to capture antimatter, if there is one, in dense enough quantities to stockpile enough to go 0.7c

 

If you don't want to make antimatter yourself, a gas giant's magnetic field is exactly the place to go to get some antimatter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, PB666 said:

Thats pretty far future for near future. They siad 2 centuries to develope antimatter containment. 

So it has a speed of 207,000,000 m/s almost 0.7c but it takes 6.8 years to get to alpha centauri. 

the problem is that almost all of the fuel is for accekeration, they hand wave declleration as fuel or photon sail. 

I did the calculations for optimal, perfectly efficient antimatter drive, i found that it would never get more than 0.4c if you allowed for deceleration. If we used their logic, they are overestimating time dilation at their speeds, it would take significantly longer than 5  years. 1.5 g is impractical for efficient acceleration, assuming even 80% conversion accekeration would take years, deceleration also. At 0.4 c would take at least 12 years, more likely 15 years. 

Alpha centauri is not a choice terraforming target star with planets, its simply the closest. If we start looking at practical terraforming targets, its on the order of 20 ly. Acceleration is not so much the issue but you aretalking at keast 50 years.

They use enormously efficient laser sails, which can, btw, impart large amounts of energy onto anything, if the laser is powerful enough. This is used for acceleration out of our solar system and deceleration into it as well, only using antimatter for decelerating into and accelerating away from the target solar system. 

There's actually little hand waving. Although what they mention may not be accurate. 

Heck, they're the only movie starship with a shield for the ship in interstellar space.

And "near term" has no meaning, since it depends on point of view. 

ISV venture star has certain design features that are really good. Being a puller design lowers the empty mass, gives added radiation protection, and the engines are even pointed slightly off center, so that the exhaust doesn't run into the payload or the people.

How about Discovery One? From 2001.

Edited by Bill Phil
Link to comment
Share on other sites

56 minutes ago, Bill Phil said:

They use enormously efficient laser sails, which can, btw, impart large amounts of energy onto anything, if the laser is powerful enough. This is used for acceleration out of our solar system and deceleration into it as well, only using antimatter for decelerating into and accelerating away from the target solar system. 

There's actually little hand waving. Although what they mention may not be accurate. 

Heck, they're the only movie starship with a shield for the ship in interstellar space.

And "near term" has no meaning, since it depends on point of view. 

ISV venture star has certain design features that are really good. Being a puller design lowers the empty mass, gives added radiation protection, and the engines are even pointed slightly off center, so that the exhaust doesn't run into the payload or the people.

How about Discovery One? From 2001.

Well if a parachute for braking adds too much mass a laser sail that still does its job 1.5 trillion km form the source focused enough to reach at again 1.5 trillion km, the we should be able to build parachutes with the same technology capable on Mars with a downy feathers lightness. 

You might has have said infinite improbability drive. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

31 minutes ago, PB666 said:

Well if a parachute for braking adds too much mass a laser sail that still does its job 1.5 trillion km form the source focused enough to reach at again 1.5 trillion km, the we should be able to build parachutes with the same technology capable on Mars with a downy feathers lightness. 

You might has have said infinite improbability drive. 

No. Infinite improbability drives have no basis in science. Laser sails can be built, and the lasers used can, if built in such a way, can do what you describe. 

The laser sail is literally measured in atoms of thickness. 

This is the future. They probably have parachutes that are pretty light. 

Do you think anyone in the 1800s, save maybe Tesla, predicted anything even close to the internet in 2016? If you told the Wright Brothers that hundreds of thousands of people were flying at any point in the present, they would call you crazy. Predicting the future with any certainty is impossible. 

Edited by Bill Phil
Link to comment
Share on other sites

50 minutes ago, Bill Phil said:

No. Infinite improbability drives have no basis in science. Laser sails can be built, and the lasers used can, if built in such a way, can do what you describe. 

The laser sail is literally measured in atoms of thickness. 

This is the future. They probably have parachutes that are pretty light. 

Do you think anyone in the 1800s, save maybe Tesla, predicted anything even close to the internet in 2016? If you told the Wright Brothers that hundreds of thousands of people were flying at any point in the present, they would call you crazy. Predicting the future with any certainty is impossible. 

I sorry, no, I had the same idea about using remote laser propulsion for a 1g drive system 2 decades ago, you simply cannot control light to that degree, it violates the uncertainty principle. The central issue is d = 1/2 a t^2.

By the time you are even 0.2 c, the debroglie wavelength, brownian motion of components in your laser are going to throw your beam of the target, even if you place the lasers in a solid block of lead with titanium mounts on a nuclear powered base at the heliopause, to take something, even  500 meter across at 1.5 trillion kms from the remote base.  Think about it its width 90 / pi * 1.5 e 15 .....100 x 10-12 degrees. You have two basic problewsvthat we do not know to solve.

1. how to target given you are several light days from the target, and the error tolerance is less than 10-9

2. How to prevent things like scattering, diffusion, etc from spreading the beam.

And I say this having studied the problem, we aren't even close to solving this problem. 

The type of foil you are talking about would have to be 100s of kilometers in diameter. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Expect major "near future" spaceships to look a lot like the ISS (long and thin, but instead of "rocket like" more like "things attached to a central spine").  I'm pretty sure all the examples in NASA's latest "mars trip architecture" work that way.  It is a proven means of assembly in space, even by groups NASA/Russian groups/ESA that are unlikely to coordinate between each other all that well.

For not "long and thin", another guess is "hollowed out of an asteroid".  Although that would likely be strictly limited to the interplanetary superhighway due to the extreme mass penalty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, G'th said:

Why not the real Hermes?

hermes_from__the_martian__by_francisdrak

I mentioned I don't like "long" designs, but a design which covers all directions. Kinda like a star shaped ship. Or ring.

Also where the hell is this discussion heading towards? :D

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, RenegadeRad said:

covers all directions

 

48 minutes ago, RenegadeRad said:

a star

240px-Death_star1.png

P.S.
By adding a long tail with nukes can be easily converted into Discovery.

P.P.S.
The topic starter should first define: whether he means a ship with landing capabilities or no.

Edited by kerbiloid
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, RenegadeRad said:

Also where the hell is this discussion heading towards?

Well, you didn't exactly provide much in the way of guidance for the discussion. You said "show me near future spacecraft designs", without specifying clearly how you define that, or whether you are even talking about real spacecraft (as the science subforum would suggest) or just anything/fantasy. Then people make a wide variety of suggestions to try and guess what you meant, and then people start disagreeing with each other about their own interpretations of what you might have meant. :P

If you want a realistic design, the Hermes study above is probably as close as you're going to get, although it doesn't look like we'll have nuclear power in space anytime soon. A solar variant would be more likely. As far as shape goes - ring or star designs are impractical IRL because a.) they're more difficult/tedious to assemble in orbit and b.) you destabilize the spacecraft if you remove mass unevenly from the outer sections. Both of which makes real engineers wonder why the heck anyone would build such a thing.

If you want an imaginary design - well, there's the hard sci-fi types, like the "The Martian" variant of the Hermes (which has a ring section for habitation but is still built long and spindly because that's literally how realistic spacecraft are built), or The Messiah from Deep Impact (which doesn't have a ring, because it's a hilarious Frankenstein creation of various existing rocket parts assembled under time pressure).

And then there's the moderate types, like the Endurance from Interstellar or the Wernher von Braun from Planetes, which make an attempt to look believable but take some artistic license when it comes to technology and function for the purpose of storytelling.

Finally, there are the soft sci-fi / fantasy types, for which it is hard to find good examples that fit a near future setting because those usually go way off the charts as far as realism goes, and near future is honestly "too boring" and "not creative enough" for that kind of stuff. :P It's much easier to find far-future examples, like Star Wars.

Edited by Streetwind
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, RenegadeRad said:

I mentioned I don't like "long" designs, but a design which covers all directions. Kinda like a star shaped ship. Or ring.

So what is it about? aesthetics? If that's all that matters, then why bother asking for something realistic? If this is just for some science fiction fantasy, then you can just pick an empirical shape and then try to fit whatever technobabble you need to justify the shape, like for the Endurance or the USS Enterprise.

If on the other hand you want something semi-realistic, then give an outline of the requirements. Where is this vehicle supposed to go? What does it do? How many people does it carry? For how long? How is it built? And most importantly, what makes it move?

The long spindly design makes a lot of sense, especially in designs with nuclear propulsion. You want to have the crew compartment as far as possible. Any "near future" spacecraft is likely to be assembled in orbit by shipping up modules, which are going to be designed to fit inside a cylindrical fairing or payload bay and docked together by some sort of tug.

 

Edited by Nibb31
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Streetwind

Well, yes that's what I said :P I want to see designs because finding them is a real pain in the back. 

Well, by near future I ment like between 2040 - 2100 era, and not completely realistic, something which is semi realistic. But possible with effort. The design I want is you know, compact. Everything useful in a compact area, and the ship is a centrifuge. Not long horizontally, but as I said , all the things arranged in the most compact way. For example, people usually line up fuel tanks to create a hell long spaceship. If you could divide the fuel tanks, and attach them from a hub vertically opposite making it like wheel, or use Spherical fuel tanks. Or use some other propulsion method. It's also about aesthetics, but mainly about utility in the smallest area. If someone could take a shot at it , and try to make it in KsP, it'll be awesome. Or if such a design exists, I wanna see it.   

    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, RenegadeRad said:

@Streetwind

Well, yes that's what I said :P I want to see designs because finding them is a real pain in the back. 

Well, by near future I ment like between 2040 - 2100 era, and not completely realistic, something which is semi realistic. But possible with effort. The design I want is you know, compact. Everything useful in a compact area, and the ship is a centrifuge.

A ring-based centrifuge makes no sense, as explained above. Any imbalance in the ring will induce vibrations. The joints are going to be problematic. The whole thing is much more complicated than it needs to be.

The simplest design for centrifugal artificial gravity is going to have the whole ship rotate, like a tethered design or a rotating spine like the "original" Hermes as posted above (that is a rotating design where the CoG is where the ION thrusters are). 

So, if you want a ring-shaped spaceship, then go and design one, but don't go around claiming that it has a realistic design.

11 minutes ago, RenegadeRad said:

Not long horizontally, but as I said , all the things arranged in the most compact way. For example, people usually line up fuel tanks to create a hell long spaceship.

Yes, because it's the easiest way to build a spaceship.

11 minutes ago, RenegadeRad said:

If you could divide the fuel tanks, and attach them from a hub vertically opposite making it like wheel, or use Spherical fuel tanks. Or use some other propulsion method. It's also about aesthetics, but mainly about utility in the smallest area. If someone could take a shot at it , and try to make it in KsP, it'll be awesome. Or if such a design exists, I wanna see it.

Who cares about the smallest area? Space is freaking big ! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...