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spacenginesimulator
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I designed a crewed interstellar spacecraft

04 Jul 2020 19:55

Hi everybody,

I would like to share with you a crewed interstellar spacecraft which I have designed and called Solar One.

It employs a combination of 3 propulsion methods: nuclear fusion, beam-powered propulsion , and photon propulsion.

Basically, several compact fusion reactors power a laser system that propels a huge light sail.

Physicist Robert Forward already proposed in 1983 to use a 26-TW laser system to propel a 100-km light sail, a fresnel lens to focus the beam of the laser, and decelerate the spacecraft with a secondary light sail.

I propose something a bit different, which is to use to use for example a 60 TW-laser to propel a 5-km light sail that would deploy from the spacecraft after the acceleration stage, use parabolic mirrors that gradually change their orientation in order to focus the laser beam, and finally use a photon rocket to decelerate the spacecraft.

In theory, it could be possible to achieve 25% the speed of light, reaching the closest potentially habitable exoplanet in less than 20 years.

There are of course many challenges, like building high-energy continuous-wave lasers, reducing the weight of the nuclear fusion reactors (and of course achieving effective nuclear fusion first), and minimizing the effects of zero gravity during such a long trip.

What do you guys suggest to overcome these challenges?

This is my paper and a short video that summarizes all:

Last edited by spacenginesimulator on 06 Jul 2020 06:08, edited 1 time in total.
 
A-L-E-X
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I designed a crewed interstellar spacecraft

06 Jul 2020 01:11

Were one or more of these methods supposed to be used in the Icarus Project and Project Orion?  I believe we could get to the Alpha Centauri system in less than 50 years in a generation ship using those methods.
 
spacenginesimulator
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I designed a crewed interstellar spacecraft

06 Jul 2020 06:09

A-L-E-X wrote:
Were one or more of these methods supposed to be used in the Icarus Project and Project Orion?  I believe we could get to the Alpha Centauri system in less than 50 years in a generation ship using those methods.

Yes, Icarus would use nuclear fusion.
 
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I designed a crewed interstellar spacecraft

17 Jul 2020 15:56

Some criticizm here.

1) 120 tons is extremely small payload even for robotic mission. ISS has a mass of 400 tons, and it is not a very convenient habitat for 4 astronauts. Relativistic starship must have extreme radiatin protection shield, rotational gravity hab, closed ecosystem for 20-years flight (or you planning to take food for 20 years?). More realistic value is 120,000 tons, end even this is just a large naval ship.

2) Where are heat radiators for the 1 TW reactor? If 1 TW is an electric power, this mean something like 10-100 TW of thermal power what you must remove from the ship structure. Mass of such radiators will be enormous, effectively killing the whole idea. The point of a laser beam sail is that energy source (the laser array) stays in the home planetary system - it may have any mass and power, we are no limited here.

3) I don't see where is the photon propulsion in your concept. Do you confuesd it with the light pressure repulsion? The point of detaching the mirror in Forward's concept is to reflect the laser beam from the Solar system back to the ship's main mirror from the opposite direction to decelerate the ship.

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