SpaceX Starship Mk1 Will Be Fully Stacked By Elon’s Saturday Presentation

SpaceX Starship Mk1 Will Be Fully Stacked By Elon’s Saturday Presentation

Brian Wang |
September 23, 2019 |

The SpaceX Starship Mk1 in Boca Chica will be fully stacked when Elon Musk presents on Saturday. The STarship Mk1 has two rear moving fins. This is a new design.

Elon Musk has also tweeted a picture of the bottom half of Starship at night. Top half with forward fins & header tanks probably stacks on Wednesday. Three Raptor engines have already been installed.

Adding the rear moving fins to Starship Mk1 in Boca Chica, Texas

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 22, 2019

Bottom half of Starship at night. Top half with forward fins & header tanks probably stacks on Wednesday. Three Raptors already installed.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 23, 2019

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PGE Will Have Unreliable Power from Napa Through Santa Clara Til the End of 2019

PGE Will Have Unreliable Power from Napa Through Santa Clara Til the End of 2019

Brian Wang |
October 7, 2019 |

PG&E is considering implementing Public Safety Power Shutoffs that may impact portions of 30 northern, central, coastal and Bay Area counties: Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Mariposa, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tehama, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba.

Northern California fire season is from October through December. This is when there is the greatest fire potential as the Santa Ana winds pick up.

Almost everywhere from Napa through Santa Clara will be reliably unreliable from Wednesday through the end of 2019.

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Carnival of Space 629

Brian Wang |
September 17, 2019 |

The Carnival of Space 629 is up at Universe Today.

Universe Today – Europe and US are Going to Try and Deflect an Asteroid

The three-day International AIDA Workshop, which ran from Sept. 11th to 13th, focused on the development of the joint NASA-ESA Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission.

The purpose of this two-spacecraft system is to deflect the orbit of one of the bodies that make up the binary asteroid Didymos, which orbits between Earth and Mars. While one spacecraft will collide with a binary Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA), the other will observe the impact and survey the crash site in order to gather as much data as possible about this method of asteroid defense.

The target for this joint mission is Didymos, a near-Earth binary asteroid system that consists of a larger asteroid and an orbiting “moonlet”. The main body of this system measures about 780 meters (2,560 ft) in diameter while its moonlet measures about 160 m (525 ft) in diameter. It was selected as part of a careful decision process that sought a deflection target that could provide a maximum scientific return.

NASA’s contribution to AIDA is known as the Double Asteroid Impact Test (DART) spacecraft, which is currently under construction. The Italian-made miniature CubeSat known as the Light Italian CubeSat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIA) will be accompanying DART and deploying simultaneously to record the moment of impact.

The Hill -With SpaceX’s Starhopper, spaceflight opportunities open for Texas

The SpaceX Starship would serve at first as a compliment and then as an alternative to NASA’s plan to return to the moon, involving the Space Launch System that is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has suggested that vehicles like the Starship may be used to deliver cargo to the future moon base being planned for the late 2020s on a pay-on-delivery basis.

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Carnival of Space 631

Brian Wang |
October 1, 2019 |

The Carnival of Space 631 is up at Urban Astronomer.

Universe Today – Hayabusa 2 has one Last Lander it’s Going to Throw at Ryugu.

JAXA (Japan Space Agency) posted time-lapse photos of target markers falling towards the surface of the Ryugu asteroid. There was a slight parabolic arc to their descent. , also issued a statement about the agency’s success.

Professor Makoto Yoshikawa, Hayabusa 2’s mission manager at JAXA, said during a press briefing at the European Planetary Science Congress (which is still taking place in Geneva, Switzerland):

“We released two target markers from an altitude of about 1 kilometer, and these images were just released. The purpose of this release is a rehearsal of the release of the MINERVA-II-2 small rover next month… We can observe the target marker’s orbit around Ryugu and we can then determine the gravity field of Ryugu in detail, so this is a new operation.”

Universe Today – Venus Could Have Supported Life for Billions of Years

Universe Today – Enceladus Causes Snowfall On Other Moons of Saturn

Nextbigfuture – SpaceX Starship Will Be Fully Operational Tomorrow [Friday coverage].

Nextbigfuture – Roadmap to space warping experiments in the lab

Nextbigfuture – SpaceX installed battery packs equal to the batteries used in four Tesla Model X cars to power the movement of wings on the SpaceX Starship. Moving the wings will enable the Starship to generate lift during re-entry to lower the peak temperature. This along with lightweight reusable tile heatshields will prevent damage during re-entry. Elon Musk presented the new SpaceX orbital Starship design on September 28.

Nextbigfuture – The summary of Elon Musk’s super heavy starship presentation is here.

Nextbigfuture – The main constraint on the SpaceX Super-Heavy booster is ramping up the production of the Raptor engines. They will need 100 Raptor engines to get to the orbital test. They build one Raptor engine currently every eight days. In 2 months SpaceX wants to get to one Raptor engine every two days. By Q12020, they want to get to one engine every day. This means the orbital flight would not be until about March, 2020.

Nextbigfuture – SpaceX has new renderings of a Mars City using the new Starship design.

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Carnival of Space 630

Brian Wang |
September 23, 2019 |

1. Universe Today – Nothing Says Springtime on Mars Like Explosions of Sand.

CaSSIS is a high-resolution camera and in May 2019 it captured an image of the melting CO2 at Mars northern polar region. The ESA/RosCosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter arrived at Mars in October 2016 and has been studying the planet since then. Part of its instrument payload is the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) that, among other things, creates detailed digital elevation models of the surface of Mars.

The image shows different types of dunes that form on the planet. While the left side of the image looks like dunes as most people might picture them, the right side doesn’t. Those are called barchan dunes, or crescent dunes. Those dunes can grow larger and join with each other to from barchanoid ridges. Barchan dunes tell us which way the prevailing wind blows: the curved tips point downwind.

2a. Universe Today – Real Artificial Gravity for SpaceX’s Starship.

Youtuber smallstars has proposed a concept that he calls the Gravity Link Starship (GLS), a variation of SpaceX’s Starship that will be able to provide its own artificial gravity.

2b. Nextbigfuture – Three SpaceX Starships for a Space Station With Simulated Gravity

3. Universe Today – Images are Starting to Come in of the New Interstellar Comet

4. Universe Today – Oumuamua 2.0? It Looks Like There’s a New Interstellar Object Passing Through the Solar System

5. Universe Today – Here’s Hubble’s Newest Image of Saturn

6. The Hill – When you fail to soft-land on the moon, try, try again.

7. Urban Astronomer – Saturn’s rings might not be young after all

8. Nextbigfuture – SpaceX Starship Mk1 Will Be Fully Stacked By Elon’s Saturday Presentation

The SpaceX Starship Mk1 in Boca Chica will be fully stacked when Elon Musk presents on Saturday. The STarship Mk1 has two rear moving fins. This is a new design.

Elon Musk has also tweeted a picture of the bottom half of Starship at night. Top half with forward fins & header tanks probably stacks on Wednesday. Three Raptor engines have already been installed.

9. Nextbigfuture – Over $30 Billion and 33 Years to Turn Space Shuttle Components into a Super Heavy Lift Rocket

In August, 2019, SLS (Space Launch System) managers for Boeing and Northrop Grumman gave that timeline at an aerospace industry forum. Boeing is in charge of assembling the rocket’s core stage, and Northrop Grumman is building the big solid-rocket boosters that will provide most of SLS’s lift off the launch pad.

The SLS is a Space Shuttle rocket stack without the orbiter. It will have taken over $30 billion and 33 years to make an expendable Space Shuttle rocket stack without an orbiter.

We will spend another $6 to 8 billion over the next two to three years to get to the first unmanned test flight. This mission could be done with less than $1 billion and two SpaceX Heavy launches. The SpaceX Heavy has already flown three times.

Two SpaceX Falcon Heavies could launch the Orion capsule in 2020 and complete the mission for $5 billion lower cost and probably one year sooner.

Robert Zubrin described his work on the Ares team in 1988 that made the design for what became the SLS (Space Launch System). The thinking was that the Ares would be flying by 1994 as it was only the Space Shuttle stack without the orbiter.

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Material Separation Will be Key for Long Term Space Travel

Material Separation Will be Key for Long Term Space Travel

Brian Wang |
September 16, 2019 |

Many manufacturing industries currently use material separation due to the need to recycle and reuse materials, both from a commercial and environmental need. The material separation process has become so in demand that a whole industry has grown around it.

It is not just on Earth where the manufacturing sector looks to separate materials for reuse. Space agencies such as NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) look to recycle and reuse materials as much as possible. This extends beyond air and water to structural components.

With this in mind, let’s look at how material separation may be both a driver for space travel development and to make the process more efficient and produce better results.

Research and Mining

In 2015, NASA published an online article talking about using to fabricate space parts for repairs to space vehicles. Dylan Carter, the author of the article, talked about using regolith (planetary body bedrock) handling devices. Here, after the regolith is collected, Carter’s theory is that useful materials could be sorted and grouped using a tribocharging technique.

Although the technology was in 2015 relatively new, Carter believes that his experiments prove that this could be an invaluable way of separating materials in space.

If this works, then humanity as a species is a step closer to mining and harvesting resources from celestial bodies.

Driving Investment

Being able to separate materials on an industrial scale has always been vital to the manufacturing sector. Given the infinite resources of space, being able to harvest these resources represent a big draw for investment. This can be seen with the rise of Space X, whose goal is to make space profitable and create a Mars colony. It has undertaken a lot of work in developing space vehicles that can be reused.

Humanity is not at the point where deep space mining is possible. Commercial space flight developments, however, could be the key to making it possible.

Commercial entities are freer to focus on singular goals, greatly speeding up the process and allocating all resources to hitting said goal. Should companies like Space X focus on this endeavor, we may see space mining a reality in the not too distant future.

Material separation processes will be an invaluable part of this process.

Space Vehicle Repairs

Collisions with debris are a real danger when traveling in space. Small punctures up until a millimeter in diameter cause problems, 10 milometers or greater can cause potentially catastrophic damage to space vehicles according to the ESA.

This is mostly due to the high velocities space debris and particles travel. What would be considered harmless on Earth is potentially lethal when in space.

Currently, vehicles such as the International Space Station uses passive techniques to avoid smaller particles.

Nonetheless, if the dream of Mars colonies and beyond are going to become a reality, then the ability of a crew to fabricate raw materials for essential repairs is mission-critical. As such, material separation technology is going to be essential to bring long-range manned space flight within humanities reach.

Currently, on Earth, material separation and recycling are possible and are being improved year on year. Soon, we may be able to do this in space, and that’s when things become really exciting.

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Giant Moon Based Telescopes Will Detect Alien Life and Measure Mountains in Other Solar Systems

Giant Moon Based Telescopes Will Detect Alien Life and Measure Mountains in Other Solar Systems

Brian Wang |
October 12, 2019 |

Fraser Cain at Universe Today reviews the giant space telescopes that will become possible. Space capabilities from SpaceX Super Heavy Starship and being able to build in space will enable 1000 to 1 million times larger projects on the moon and in cis-lunar orbits.


OWL-MOON: Very high resolution spectro-polarimetric interferometry and imaging

from the Moon: exoplanets to cosmology

A 100-meter space telescope on the moon will let us directly observe the height of mountains on exoplanets.

A giant moon telescope will let us answer three major questions in astronomy.

1) the detection of biosignatures on habitable exoplanets,

2) the geophysics of exoplanets and

3) cosmology.

Detecting Alien Life in Other Solar Systems

One of our main science objectives is the characterization of exoplanets and biosignatures. There are about ten potentially habitable planet candidates up to 10 pc. But there is no guarantee that even a single one will present biosignatures. We must enlarge the sample and go up to say 40 pc. An Earth-sized planet at 1 AU from a G star has a planet/star brightness ratio of 3.10^−9 for an albedo of 0.3. Thus, for a 8th magnitude star, it means a 32nd magnitude target. For 1 nm spectral resolution spectroscopy needed to detect atomic and molecular emission lines, consider the goal of 1000 photons detected in 3 hours. This needs a 50-meter telescope. To detect 500 photons in the bottom of absorption lines having a depth 10 times the continuum in 3 hours, one would need a 100-meter telescope.

To achieve this goal, two requirements are needed : 1/ a very large aperture to detect spectro-polarimetric and spatial features of faint objects such as exoplanets, 2/ continuous monitoring to characterize the temporal behavior of exoplanets such as rotation period, meteorology and seasons. An Earth-based telescope is not suited for continuous monitoring and the atmosphere limits the ultimate angular resolution and spectro-polarimetrical domain. Moreover, a space telescope in orbit is limited in aperture, to perhaps 15 meters over the next several decades (until we get on orbit space construction capabilities). Researchers propose an OWL-class lunar telescope with a 50-100 meter aperture for visible and infrared (IR) astronomy, based on ESO’s Overwhelmingly Large Telescope concept, unachievable on Earth for technical issues such as wind stress that are not relevant for a lunar platform. It will be installed near the south pole of the Moon to allow continuous target monitoring. The low gravity of the Moon will facilitate its building and manoeuvring, compared to Earth-based telescopes. As a guaranteed by-product, such a large lunar telescope will allow Intensity Interferometric measurements when coupled with large Earth-based telescopes, leading to pico-second angular resolution.

The Earth is 10 billion times fainter than the Sun and orbits close to its host star : viewed from 100 parsecs, the separation is only 0.01 arcsec. But this is well above the diffraction limit of a very large lunar telescope. We can study exoplanet atmospheres from a lunar platform, where there is no atmosphere to confuse our signal. Telescope size simultaneously guarantees a large number of earth-like targets. We cannot fail, if the will is there to develop known technology, with the aid of robotic resources in deep icy craters near the south pole, in permanent darkness and where temperatures approach 30K, with adjacent crater rims in perpetual sunlight to provide solar power.

Mountains and volcanos on planets

Some astronomy questions require the extremely high angular resolution from an Earth-Moon Intensity Interferometer. Telescopes on the Earth and Moon can work together to create a 380,000 kilometer telescope array.

Once an OWL-type telescope is installed on the Moon, or even a 10 meter lunar precursor, one could readily address optical Intensity Interferometry with unprecedented baselines and angular resolution. For instance it could measure the heights of mountains on transiting exoplanets. This is an important problem for the geophysics of planets. Weisskopf (1975) has shown that there is a relationship between the maximum height of mountains on a planet and its mass and the mechanical characteristics of

its crust.

The issue of mountain detectability has already been addressed for transiting planets (McTier & Kipping 2018). Researchers propose a significant improvement, Based on the principle of the detection of the silhouette of ringed planets by Intensity Interferometry as developed by Dravins (2016). With a 60 meter resolution at the 1.4 parsec distance of alpha Cen, for transiting planets, mountains will appear at the border of the planet silhouette during the transit. These observations will require very long exposures. During the exposure, the planet is rotating around its axis, leading to a washing-out of the features on the exoplanet.

The planet rotation period will be well known from the periodicity of its photometric data. Therefore, the mountain silhouette will appear in a 2D Fourier transform of long series of short exposure images at the planet rotation frequency. Moreover, volcanos can be detected as a temporary excess of red emission of the planet.

Oceans and Continents

The flux received from the glint of the ocean of an Earth-sized planet around a solar-type star at 10 pc and for an ocean albedo 6 %, 7 photons/sec with 30 m telescopes. The monitoring of this image would reveal the contours of the continents.

Earth Atmosphere as a Lens to Map the Surface of Pulsars – Terrascope » detector

It has recently been proposed to use the Earth atmosphere as a gigantic annular chromatic lens (Kipping 2019). It happens that the focal length of this lens is approximately the Earth-Moon distance, depending on the wavelength. Given the size of this lense, the amplification of the source flux is 20,000 compared to a 1 m telescope meter. With a 100 meter telescope on the Moon, the amplification would thus be 200,000 compared to a 30 meter telescope. Of course the images are of very poor quality, but this terrascope would be suited for very high spectral resolution or extremely high speed photometry of extremely faint sources (e.g.

very faint, yet undetected, optical pulsars). Given the 5° inclination of the lunar orbit with the ecliptic, this terrascope could explore a ± 5° band on the sky above and below the ecliptic, depending on the season.

An array telescopes on the Moon and earth (baseline of 380.000 km on average) corresponds to an angular resolution of 200 picoarcsecond at 600 nanometers. An Earth-Moon intensity interferometer would partially resolve the Crab pulsar.

New Telescope Technology

The Nautilus project or the WAET project should soon begin. The Nautilus project has designed new technology for cheap and light 8-

meter-class telescopes. This is based on a modified version of Fresnel lenses, made in light plastic. The WAET project is a very large 10 meter x 100 meter rectangular aperture. The optical quality of these two projects would not be suited for standard interferometry, but suffices for Intensity Interferometry and high resolution spectroposcopy.

A 100-meter diameter will allow statistical searches for life on the nearest 100 or so exoplanets (many of them Earth-like).

SOURCES- Universe Today, ESA, ESA Voyage 2050 White Paper- OWL-MOON: Very high resolution spectro-polarimetric interferometry and imaging from the Moon: exoplanets to cosmology

Written By Brian Wang,

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Space Elevator From the Moon to Geostationary Earth Orbit

The new lunar space elevator study differs from previous proposal would be anchored on the moon and stretch 200,000 miles toward Earth until hitting the geostationary orbit height (about 22,236 miles above sea level). We do not have materials for a space elevator from the Earth to Geostationary orbit. The moon spaceline would be longer but would only have to overcome the moon’s gravity.

The biggest hurdle to mankind’s expansion throughout the Solar System is the prohibitive cost of escaping Earth’s gravitational pull. In its many forms the space elevator provides a way to circumvent this cost, allowing payloads to traverse along a cable extending from Earth to orbit. However, modern materials are not strong enough to build a cable capable of supporting its own weight.

The Spaceline is a new analysis of lunar space elevators. By extending a line, anchored on the moon, to deep within Earth’s gravity well, we can construct a stable, traversable cable allowing free movement from the vicinity of Earth to the Moon’s surface. With current materials, it is feasible to build a cable extending to close to the height of geostationary orbit, allowing easy traversal and construction between the Earth and the Moon.

The most efficient solution is one in which we start at the Earth-end of the Spaceline with a constant area cable, as thin as is practical, which extends until the point at which it reaches its breaking stress, then tapers outwards from that point to avoid breaking. Past the Lagrange point, close to the Moon, where the tension (and therefore the allowable area) reduces again, there may be another section of uniform cable reaching down to the anchor point on the Moon’s surface, though whether this second uniform-area section is possible depends on the value of h.

For sufficiently high α, or large h, the cable may never reach its breaking stress, and the most efficient solution is just that of a uniform-area cable. This hybrid cable, by construction, cannot break but can collapse. In fact the same constraints (and solutions) apply here as did for the uniform-area cable. As long as h is less than ∼ 0.24, the cable will not collapse; for larger h, other solutions such as an anchor weight can similarly be implemented.

A line was made of a cable with a0 = 10^−7m2 : its total mass would then be around 40,000 kg. This is about twice the mass of the original lunar lander, and would make transporting and constructing such a cable completely plausible. The raw cost of the materials and transport could be numbered in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

40,000 kg could be transported to the moon with about four launches of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy. However, a lunar lander would need to be developed. A single mission with a SpaceX Super Heavy Starship could also transport the spaceline. There would need to be work done on the deployment.

Many technological and sociological challenges stand between the idea and it’s execution. However, this is a doable project. It would provide benefits for industrializing the Earth-Moon system.

Building a base-camp at the Lagrange3 point is one of the most immediately useful and exciting utilities of the spaceline. A small habitat there could house many scientists and engineers, much like the Antarctic base camp. This would allow experimentation and construction in a near-pristine, gravity-free environment.

There are two huge advantages of fabricating and assembling structures at the Lagrange point rather than any other stable orbit:

• No debris – The region of space between Earth and geostationary orbit is filled with the remnants of past missions and abandoned satellites. Also, stable (and thus long-lived) fast moving orbits can exist here, raising the fear of bombardment with naturally occurring meteoroids. The Lagrange point has been mostly untouched by previous missions, and orbits passing through here are chaotic, greatly reducing the amount of meteoroids.

• Non-dispersive – If you drop a tool from the ISS it will seem to rapidly accelerate away from you. This is because of the slight difference in the gravitational force felt at different distances from the Earth, leading to orbits that quickly diverge. This makes it a difficult and dangerous place for construction. The Lagrange point has an almost negligible gradient in gravitational force, the dropped tool will stay close at hand for a much longer period. With small corrective thrusters or a minimal system of tethers, many objects (habitats, science equipment or spacecraft) can be held in a stable configuration indefinitely. Space now has a ”next-door”.

Manned large-scale construction projects would become much easier to build and maintain. These could include a new generation of significantly larger space telescopes, a network of isolated gravitational wave detectors and particle accelerators on scales much surpassing what can feasibly be built upon Earth’s surface.

Similarly, the base camp itself can be extended, with prefabricated panels added to allow increased space for habitation and experimentation. Scientific and industrial testing in vacuum or zero-gravity environments can be undertaken over longer periods and bigger scales than previously imaginable.

There is one caveat though, the nature of the Lagrange point between the Earth is unstable. The effective potential (in the corotating frame) is a saddle point. If an object undergoes small displacements in the tangential direction (constant radius) the will feel a restoring force back to the Lagrange point. However, if the object wanders in the radial direction (towards the Moon or Earth) it will be pulled more and more strongly in that direction. Thus to keep an object at the Lagrange point indefinitely there needs to be a corrective force in the radial direction.

The spaceline naturally provides this force, and this is one of the two major reasons why constructing a spaceline makes a Lagrange point base camp significantly easier to use and maintain. The other being that it allows material transport easily to and from the base camp (via a spaceship carrying material from Earth, or directly from the surface of the moon), without the need for coordinating rocket flight through a region of space that may quickly fill with delicate habitats and scientific equipment.

In the simplest version of the safeline there can be a force of up to 100N either towards Earth or the Moon before there is any danger of the cable breaking or collapsing.

Arxiv – The Spaceline: A Practical Space Elevator Alternative Achievable With Current Technology.

SOURCES – Arxiv The Spaceline: A Practical Space Elevator Alternative Achievable With Current Technology

Written By Brian Wang,

NASA Inertial Drive With a Helical Engine Using a Particle Accelerator

David Burns, Manager, Science and Technology Office

Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA has proposed a Helical Engine.
It is a propellantless engine design similar to the Mach Effect propulsion system by Woodward.

Burns goal is to use proven physics and technology

• Focus on extreme duration

• Current state-of-the-art is not sufficient, but has potential to scale

Megawatts of power + space-rated synchrotron = 1 N of thrust

• Not a compelling reason to build this engine

• However

• Equivalent Specific Impulse over 10^17

• “Net” power less than 10 watts

• Options for increasing thrust and efficiency

• Technology is extension of space flown hardware

• Many technical challenges ahead

• Basic concept is unproven

• Has not been reviewed by subject matter experts

• Math errors may exist!

A new concept for in-space propulsion is proposed in which propellant is not ejected from the engine, but instead is captured to create a nearly infinite specific impulse. The engine accelerates ions confined in a loop to moderate relativistic speeds, and then varies their velocity to make slight changes to their mass. The engine then moves ions back and forth along the direction of travel to produce thrust. This in-space engine could be used for long-term satellite station-keeping without refueling. It could also propel spacecraft across interstellar distances, reaching close to the speed of light. The engine has no moving parts other than ions traveling in a vacuum line, trapped inside electric and magnetic fields.

The existing technology would be to try to make a mobile version of the large hadron collider. It would be 200 meters long and 12 meters in diameter – and powerful, requiring 165 megawatts of power to generate just 1 newton of thrust, which is about the same force you use to type on a keyboard. For that reason, the engine would only be able to reach meaningful speeds in the frictionless environment of space.

Below is the large hadron collider.

Nextbigfuture Reader Goatguy Provides Analysis

The ‘nut that isn’t being cracked’ is that it takes 165,000,000 Watts of power to generate 1 Newton of force.

If I shoot a LASER beam of power P out the back of an orbiter, I’ll get a force (from good ol’ Physics)

F = P / c

F = 165,000,000 W ÷ 299,792,458 m/s

F = 0.55 N

Likewise, if we reflect a laser beam with a ‘perfect reflector’ (having 100% reflectivity, no absorption) then

F = 2P / c

F = 2 * 165,000,000 ÷ 299,792,458

F = 1.10 N

Which is almost exactly what the article’s authors cite.

What would make this invention ‘special’ (if it works, of course) is that the 2P/c thrust seems possible without needing anything at all to leave the spacecraft. On the other hand, it requires the humungous power supply to be onboard, which of course carries its own mass … for the fuel, for the machinery turning fuel into power, and for getting rid of the heat and byproducts because it wouldn’t be 100% efficient. Maybe fuel-to-electricity conversions of only 20%. 80% waste heat. More likely only 10%

A real World space-ship, trying to attain relativistic velocities would definitely need WAY more power than 165 MW. Question is … how much? Unfortunately, no matter how much science fiction wishfulness I employ to find a solution, I find it really hard to envision a fusion energy system having a specific energy over 20 kW/kg. Much of that would go into heat-sinking. Unfortunately, it also defines the specific acceleration, absolute.

20 kW × 2 ÷ 299,792,458 m/s = 133 µN/kg.


F = ma, a = F/m … = 0.000133 ÷ 1.0

a = 0.000133 m/s² per kilogram.

Putting that into a PER-DAY perspective

ΔV/day = a × 24 × 60 × 60 = 11.53 m/s per day or 996,000 m/day² … perhaps it would be better expressed in years?

a = 132.7 billion m per year² … and with normalizing that to AU

a = 0.888 AU/y²

Not all that impressive. But let’s use it.

Since the distance to Alpha Centauri is 4.1 LY × 60 × 60 × 24 × 365.25 × 299,792,458 m/s = 3.88×10¹⁶ m … ÷ 149.5×10⁹ m/AU = 259,000 AU

Then with

d = ½at²

d = ½ 0.888 AU/y² t²

t = √( 2 × 259,000 ÷ 0.888 )

t = 764 years.

And that’s for a flyby without slowing down to take a look-see.

And assuming nearly-infinite fuel energy density. And very low overhead for the vehicle’s infrastructure mass.

And all that.

The time to get there and slow down would be

t = 2 √( (2 × ½) D ÷ 0.888 )

t = 2 √( 259,000 ÷ 0.888 )

t = 1,081 years.

Now, I don’t know about your thinking dear reader, but this doesn’t sound promising.

The only way it could work would be to beam hundreds of gigawatts of power from Earth or the Solar System in generation to the craft, where the power would be picked up efficiently out to, oh, maybe 20 AU? or so. You’d get the P/c acceleration for free, just receiving the power. Then the power could go at nearly 80% efficiency to electricity, which then converts to about 1.8 P/c extra thrust. Moreover, the mass of the ship is markedly reduced. Maybe by 1000 times! (Talk about ‘wishful thinking! ‘)

a = 0.133 m/s² (with some conversion yields…)

a = 0.014 LY/y²

t = 2 √( d / a )

t = 2 √( 4.1 ÷ 0.014 )

t = 34 years.

Unfortunately that is also bogus, because there’s no power source at the far end to beam power to decelerate the craft to local vectoring ambient conditions. And, if the power is only reasonably beam-able out to 20 AU, …

a = 0.014 LY/y² (with more conversion calculations)

a = 886 AU/y²

d = ½ at²

t = √( 2 d / a )

t = √( 2 × 20 ÷ 886 )

t = 0.212 year and

v = at

v = 886 AU/y² × 0.212 y

v = 188 AU/y …

Which turns the 259,000 AU Earth-to-Alpha-Cen distance into a 1,375 year adventure.

Which is NO WIN, obviously. The only real win is when Earth power can be received at high fidelity over a 5,000 AU or greater distance. And good luck to that.

d = ½ at²

t = √( 2 d / a )

t = √( 2 × 5000 AU ÷ 886 )

t = 3.36 year and

v = at

v = 886 AU/y² × 3.36 y

v = 2977 AU/y about 4.7% of c!

t = 259,000 / 2,977 AU/y

t = 87 years plus 3.3y

t = 90 years or so.

This is much MUCH better. Hibernation, metabolic slow-down, advance biomechanics and drugs to allow for a nominal 250 year lifetime (even if not hibernating), radiation repair, collision avoidance, all the InterStellar movie stuff.

Still … 5,000 AU beaming power?

We can’t even image the surface of Pluto at 40 AU worth a blip, with our largest Earth based telescopes.

Imagine trying to focus on a rapidly fleeing spacecraft far, far, far tinier than Pluto, at 100x its distance!

So we’re back in the ‘’OK, NASA fly-boys, the theory is great, and how again are we getting to Alpha Centauri?’’ questioning.

Because that’s the question needing answering.

Not the magic tech.

Blue Origin Upgrades to Kennedy Space Center Site 36 for Reusable New Glenn Launches

Blue Origin Upgrades to Kennedy Space Center Site 36 for Reusable New Glenn Launches

Brian Wang |
September 20, 2019 |

Blue Origin has made major investments and upgrades to facilities at the Kennedy Space Center site 36. Blue Origin is clearly preparing for major New Glenn reusable rocket launches.

The launch site and reusable rocket refurbishment facilities are getting prepared for a major rocket testing and launching program.

In 2018, Jeff Bezos started increased the staff of his rocket company Blue Origin to 3000 people over the next two or three years. Blue Origin staff was at 1500 people in 2018. SpaceX has 6000 people. Blue Origin has not yet reached orbit with any rocket and is developing the New Glenn reusable heavy launch rocket. New Glenn’s first-stage booster will be reusable like the SpaceX Falcon 9. Blue Origin has said there will be test flights in 2020 or 2021. The New Glenn capabilities will be close to the SpaceX Falcon Heavy.

Blue Origin is finalizing details on New Glenn’s design and are building model components that must be put through extreme testing.

French satellite firm Eutelsat SA is the first New Glenn customer.

Blue Origin released animations a few months ago of their proposed New Glenn rocket which will use seven BE-4 rockets for the first stage and will have two BE-3 engines for the second stage.

The New Glenn Rocket and the BE-4 engine are getting substantial funding from the US government.

SpaceX Continues to Make Rapid Progress with Starship and Ground Facility Construction

Droid Junkyard, Tatooine

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2019

SOURCES- Youtube What About it, SpaceX, Blue Origin

Written By Brian Wang,

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