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Close-Hulled Ships

Decent Spacecraft
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We have the all the pieces of technology; we just haven't put them together yet. Ion engines- check. Nuclear power- check. Super Computers- check. Ability to now build things IN SPACE- double check. Now that the International Space Station is up and running, we need to use it for something really useful, like putting together a strong, close-hulled ship. Built in space, from the ISS. This would allow us to skip all the crap needed to get it out of the athmosphere, so it would be very energy effecient. Not only that but if built in space, it wouldnt have to be constrained by the fact that it needs to be brought up in sections that can fit in the space shuttle, so it wouldnt be fragile like all our previous space craft. Yea!
Yoji, Mar 29 2001

Remote Mining "MUD" http://www.halfbake...0Mining_20_22MUD_22
My own idea (I seem to have forgotton my password), this is still as far as it's gotten, unfortunately. The biggest issue I'm thinking about right now, is oxygen, and where to get it. [whatzabuzz, Mar 29 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       If you aren't building this ship from sections the space shuttle (or other craft) has lifted into orbit, from what are you building it? That's a little much to leave as an exercise for the reader.
centauri, Mar 29 2001

       Maybe "from the ISS" means "out of bits of the ISS". Or, more likely, that smaller bits and pieces -- nuts, bolts, staples, ingots of pig iron -- can be shot up and used to build one big ship from scratch rather than assembling it from preassembled modules built on Earth. Overestimating the fun and ease of assembling things from scratch in space, perhaps.   

       But that doesn't explain the claim to greater energy efficiency. Maybe some sort of asteroid-mining scheme is supposed to be implicit.
Monkfish, Mar 29 2001

       Maybe you could harvest satellites for raw materials - no-one would miss SKY, CNN, ABC or Astra (for example) if these stations' satellites were salvaged, scraped and reused.
Aristotle, Mar 29 2001

       This has been baked to a blackened, smoking crisp in SF...In 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress', Robert Heinlein proposed space tugs using electrically charged, powdered moon rock as reaction mass. It would be possible to do the same thing with non-useful space junk <the millions of chips of paint in orbit, frex> if it could be collected.   

       If a real idea had been proposed, it'd be halfbaked, but as is, it's just a 'wouldn't it be neat if this thing I saw in a book was real?'.
StarChaser, May 26 2001

       Currently, our only working space craft are the shuttle and various rockets that are capable of delivering satellites. If we were to undertake something like what yoji is proposing, we might want to modify the shuttle so that it was all payload and no shuttle. This could be possible since it would not be necessary to delivery & return people with each mission. If this were done, the cost of delivering cargo would be a lot less.
zephyr_prime, Mar 22 2002

       whatzabuzz = scottD should send an email to bakesperson@halfbakery.com explaining his problem. We would love to have you back, with your original moniker.
neelandan, Mar 23 2002

       You'll need a lot of mass for a decent spacecraft.   

       To make space really habitable, we need gravity and radiation shielding. Gravity is easy enough, we just spin the spacecraft. (it's actually centripetal force, but it feels much like gravity).   

       Radiation shielding is harder. Although we have reasonable shielding technology without too much effort, it costs weight (and therefore payload space) to launch and therefore it's very expensive.   

       We need to find another source.   

       While the moon has been mooted as a primary resource for collection of ores and propellants, its gravity well makes it a bad choice.   

       Far better, instead, to go to the asteroids which have a minimal gravity well.   

       We know how to get there, how to mine, how to refine the ores -- how to manufacture, and how to obtain manufactured products and return them to earth. We needn't spend a ridiculous fortune on it -- space access is really inexpensive when you know how, and when you have enough people involved.   

       Ion engines in their current incarnation are very low-thrust and bulky; in open space, a far more open design may be possible, so we can feed them as much power as we like and hopefully obtain several g's of thrust.   

       Despite their limitations, current designs are currently useful for low-speed orbit transfers.   

       Don't know what you mean about close-hulled ship. Multihulled? Small? I don't know. What would be perfect is to hollow out some of the asteroids (using the ore, of course), cutting a cylinder into them and closing the end. It then forms a perfect habitat -- just add earth, greenery, and people.   

       We could probably make 100,000 self-sustaining habitats from the asteroid belt, enough for every human. We can let the planet heal, and learn to deal with ourselves first.   

       We can get into space very cheaply using a railgun and liquid-breathing g-protection. It would just take somebody at the right time and place to make it happen. From there, the sky's the limit.
khurtiz, Aug 06 2002

       An old "World Of The Future" type book I had as a kid had halfbaked the asteroid conversion above. Use giant mirrors to focus the sun's heat on an asteroid, melt it, and inject with air. It inflates into a bubble, solidifies and then you move in. Tadaaa!
BunsenHoneydew, Nov 21 2002

       sounds like we need to send materials up for a shipyard like seen in star trek instead of up directly for a ship. why dont we skip a few steps....go find a suitably sized asteroid, drill holes for componets and coat the inside with whatever materials you want. now, you have hulls already built for you that could literally be many meters thick and you would simply insert your componets.
junkmail, Dec 22 2002

       //Maybe you could harvest satellites for raw materials - no-one would miss SKY, CNN, ABC or Astra (for example) if these stations' satellites were salvaged, scraped and reused//   

       Seriously, there is a very lage number of redundant s/c in geostationary orbit or similar. At end of life they do a 'graveyard burn' to raise the orbit 20 km or so to avoid the new ones hitting the old ones. With an eye to using this idea in the future we should,NOW:   

       a) require operators to move to the same graveyard orbit, so that after a few years ther's very little energy between the orbits of all the junk   

       b) require operators to file in a public data base complete technical info on the s/c, and what state it was at when retired- so that the parts, as well as the materials, can be re- used.
RusNash, Jun 21 2003

       Sounds like you want to build spaceships in space instead of on earth. this is an idea that's been around & has it's advanges & disadvantages. When we are able to build in space, we don't need to lanunch stuff up there (good) but there is nnot much bulding materials up there (bad) we will still need to ship stuff to space. GK O'Neil had the idea of bulding hugh space colonies with materials from the smaller gravwell moon.
the great unknown, Jun 06 2006


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