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Best Spaceship We Could Build Now


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The best solution I could see is having space-based FTL capable superships with a fleet of surface-to-orbit shuttles and a few interplanetary shuttles.

These supership would have to be constructed in orbit or on a small moon or asteroid, mass hundreds of kilotons to over a gigaton, and be up to several kilometers long. This lines up well with what you were originally looking for in terms of size (or many times larger) but be limited to space. They would be able to land on the smallest rounded objects like Ceres, but anything larger would be a one way trip down and cause significant damage to the ship and surface. The largest of these ships might even carry small space elevators (one megaton for a 100,000 km long carbon tube 5 cm wide) and 'lay anchor' to planets and moons from stationary orbit or their L1 point.

As they can FTL between planets, their conventional propulsion should be optimized to facilitate quick travel within a planet's SOI. As both thrust and isp are important for high speed transit, a system that can vary between speed and efficiency would be desirable. Fortunately most AM and Fusion systems can facilitate multiple "gears", so this won't be an issue. This would also allow for the supership to travel interplanetary on conventional engines in a pinch. I'd go with an AM pion-beam core that gives 0.01 gee of acceleration and 3,000,000s ISP with a 1:10 AM:H2 fuel mix at high gear and 0.15 gee, 200,000s ISP, and a 1:2,250 AM:H2 fuel mix at low gear.

This would on a continuous burn on low gear (high accel), go from LEO to the moon in ~10 hours using 54km/s dV, from ganymede to callisto (max sep) in a day with 130km/s dV, or Earth to Mars (min sep) in a week with 686 km/s dV (probably not enough fuel for this on low gear, but you get the picture)

Depending on the limitations of their FTL drive, they could do a lot of work within a planets SOI on FTL alone.

Edited by wafflemoder
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd say our current best is probably a Nuclear Salt Water Drive assembled with ISRU from asteroids. Everyone hypes about Orion, but realistically, nuclear devices can't be cheap enough to chuck out the back of a ship. Just a few missions would deplete our arsenal, and we need that. :lol: Even better, we should just build huge transfer vehicles and dock with them in orbit. Build them with ISRU, drop the NSWR and use chemical engines clustered all over.

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