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How would a spaceship made in space and for space only look like?

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Lots of trusses. The only reason we have cylinders is due to the need for pressure-holding. Or times where a truss is too complicated for the tiny size. But massive ones ? People knew it already.

Also, I guess less connections. Welded ones would be a boon.

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1 hour ago, YNM said:

Also, I guess less connections. Welded ones would be a boon.

I wonder how well thermite welding would work in space?

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It would look like any spacecraft, just with the areodynamic casing ripped off.

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On 12.11.2016 at 2:29 PM, Nuke said:

lots of exterior structure. a lot of space craft designs seem to have exterior panels and i think thats kind of backwards. if you have a pressure hull its better to have your skin inside the structural bits since the pressure forces are pushing outward rather than inward. this applies to both fuel tanks and habitable spaces.

spherical pressure hulls are certainly desired. i also imagine double hull spacecraft with an outer fuel hull and an inner habitation hull. you can use fuel as radiation shielding.

on ships with reactors you might see a long boom with a reactor module at the end, this geometry allows for less shielding to be used and provides a good safety margin for the crew. think event horizon.

 

Outside structural panels have some uses, it can be armor against not only weapons but also micrometeorites. it protect the part behind from direct sunlight and might be an idea for an lander or something operating near an asteroid there you mine. Can easy seen it being used many places but it would not be used all over the ship. 

Spherical hulls has downsides, they are nice for tanks if you want pressure or minimize surface area, for crew quarters its hard to use the inside effective and everything has to be designed for its deck. An cylinder is much easier here.
The one bar over-pressure is less than the pressure in an car tire. its no issue at all, the structural demands for micrometeorite protections require an far stronger hull anyway.
See some niche uses, an 0-g gym or an orbital dry dock can be spherical, it would be an structure who is mostly empty inside and don't need much structural strength nor protection. 

 

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Attach some external drop tanks and engine pods to one end of ISS. That's what I'd expect from pure space ship.

I do think aerobraking is going to be important in interplanetary travel to save some fuel so my ships are more conventional sci-fi bricks in line with In Amber Clad and Roger Young. Drifting in atmosphere is cool.

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How would a spaceship made in space and for space only look like?

Literally: how would look like a spacecraft built in KSP by the ISS crew (i.e. made in space)?
Better not to try, otherwise they could get bad habits...

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On 10/11/2016 at 1:13 AM, parameciumkid said:

Also have a look at the plans for NASA's Orion MTV:

Orion_docked_to_Mars_Transfer_Vehicle.jp

I can imagine there will be a strict no-smoking policy when in the corridor above the lower Orion? :) 

Edited by Matuchkin

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8 hours ago, Matuchkin said:

I can imagine there will be a strict no-smoking policy when in the corridor above the lower Orion?

Why? The hydrogen will leak in a week or two and they will get a whole smoke room hall.

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maybe there are parts like balloons.

then cilindrical parts -> more easy to build.

and every part has docking ports, and slots for struts/cables (to prevent this thing from wobling) - so this whole thing can be modular

(btw: i miss that i can strut docket  things in orbit, -> to prevent space-stations from wobling)

a lot of solar arays (better weight/energy ratio than a heavy fision reaktor)

A lot of smaler ships are docking on this thing  - > like the skylon to land/lift things to orbit

Big electrical based engines -> safe a lot of working mass.


Welding: you can clean the parts, and then you can heat the tings if you let flown a lot of ampere between the parts.

thats a good thing about the vakuum in space, you dont need an inert-gas ore something else.

You don't need anything - just clean them off.

Edited by Sereneti

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On 11/17/2016 at 0:16 PM, Matuchkin said:

I can imagine there will be a strict no-smoking policy when in the corridor above the lower Orion? :) 

The day we can waste breathable air in order to smoke (on a station/ship/etc) is the day we have truly conquered space :)

For the topic: I agree with what others have said - they will be efficient, ugly ships with lots of exposed trusses and a few spheres for pressurized tanks.

Edited by Slam_Jones

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While there won't be a need for any aerodynamics, won't the g forces experienced eventually come into play? Can you accelerate the ISS very hard without something snapping somewhere? And tidal forces will limit you depending on size, I believe the ISS has to take them into account to avoid tumbling. I guess a space only transport would be using low thrust engines for most things though.

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On 11/18/2016 at 3:17 AM, Sereneti said:


(btw: i miss that i can strut docket  things in orbit, -> to prevent space-stations from wobling)

Take a look at Quantum Struts

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8 hours ago, todofwar said:

While there won't be a need for any aerodynamics, won't the g forces experienced eventually come into play? Can you accelerate the ISS very hard without something snapping somewhere? And tidal forces will limit you depending on size, I believe the ISS has to take them into account to avoid tumbling. I guess a space only transport would be using low thrust engines for most things though.

yes, g forces..

and from this point, -> the whole thing has struts/caples to avoid wobling...

Electrical engines (like vashmir, Hal and (maybe) the EM drive )could save a lot of working mass  ... - but they have low thrust..

so thats fine from 2 points -> low working mass and low forces...


and because inflatable:

You can inflate it first, and thenn add layers to that..

like a foam -spray...


 

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55 minutes ago, Sereneti said:

and because inflatable:

You can inflate it first, and thenn add layers to that..

like a foam -spray...

Spoiler

15279535-3D-illustration-of-an-organic-f

 

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I think like the ISS but more compact and has a fuel tank and engine module. And possibly an extra storage module.

Fire

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The Hermes from the Martian is a prime example. Little aerodynamic qualities, lots of exposed innards and practically no shell

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I think there are two main design dimensions for 'space only' craft;

  1. can/cannot aerocapture - it's a huge propellant saving once you figure it out and make it safe, but it's also an 'intrusive' design requirement.
  2. 'high' (low) / very low thrust - if it has to get into a low orbit of a deep gravity well in a reasonable time it has to Pe kick with 'reasonable thrust' - maybe 0.1 g but if the vessel is large that still adds up. If it never goes near a gravity well or doesn't care how long it take to spiral up/down then it can be 'even more flimsy'.

For the non aerocapture vessels I agree they'd start out ISS / NautilusX  like; modular and bolted/docked together, trusses etc. When we started constructing in space it might get more interesting; using large temporary inflatable structures as a scaffolding / mould, layering materials inside and outside, additive and subtractive processes, inflating things within frameworks etc - ending up with some kind of 'foamy' structure.

Also I think the idea that it's 'a' vessel will go away - it will be a pod / school / fleet of craft. ISS already has a couple of arms that can crawl all over it and specialist crew/cargo vehicles docked. If something is going to be operational for years / decades like an asteroid 'processing' factory ship would be then it's going to have lots of these robo arm 'creatures' crawling all over it, some of them will be space manoeuvrable (e.g. running out tethers etc). To plan it's operation on approach it will have a vanguard of pods of mapping and surface exploration drones/probes. To carry out operations it would have a variety of crawling and flying heavy bot/drones for setting up, moving, and maintaing machinery and materials.

Also I think there would be a lot (1000s * regular ships) of very small dumb ships / smart projectiles. In a lot of places it will be easiest to 'fire' chunks of product wrapped in an aerocapture shell at/to a planet. These cargos would spend years in transit on low energy orbits, aerocapture and then be collected.

Edited by DBowman
forgot something

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