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And if the devs like it enough, they might grant a +15% speed buff. We better get practicing!

 

Another good one, EM drive. Star Trek uses impulse engines in which a fusion reaction generates plasma, then used in conjunction with nozzles to generate thrust.

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And if the devs like it enough, they might grant a +15% speed buff. We better get practicing!

 

Another good one, EM drive. Star Trek uses impulse engines in which a fusion reaction generates plasma, then used in conjunction with nozzles to generate thrust.

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You can get a much greater variety of power plants and propulsion systems than you need even if you stick to relatively plausible systems.  Personally I would pick anywhere from 1-3 representatives from each broad category, aiming for opposites (or two opposites and a middle-ground option) on whatever scale is applicable, and stick to them.  Examples:

 

There are dozens of chemical fuel combinations.  I would just use a liquid fuel/oxidizer pair, monopropellant fuel and solid fuel.  The fuel/oxy pair would give the best efficiency but also be the most complex, requiring two different feed systems.  The monopropellant fuel has only one feed, ideal for RCS rockets and cheap spacecraft, but is less efficient.  Solid fuel provides the greatest thrust but once you light the rocket there is no shutdown or throttle control until it either runs out of fuel or explodes.  To assign real world names the fuel/ox pair could be methane-oxygen, kerosene-oxygen or hydrogen-oxygen, the monopropellant could be hydrazine or hydroxylammonium nitrate (HAN) and the solid fuel would be ammonium perchlorate composite propellant (APCP).

 

Nuclear thermal rockets can come in solid core or gas core varieties.  Both require nuclear fuel as well as propellant, though the propellant can be just about any liquid or gas as long as it doesn't react with any part of the engine.  Gas core rockets run much hotter and give better performance but also tend to waste the fissionable fuel since some of it will inevitably find its way into the exhaust without burning.  The closed cycle gas core nuclear rocket, AKA nuclear lightbulb, might be available as a tradeoff.  It keeps the fissionables isolated from the propellant with its performance falling somewhere in between the other two extremes.  It also conveniently avoids spraying radioactive death everywhere.

 

Fusion fuels have several different possible reactions including tritium, helium-3, boron, etc with deuterium.  Since they all lead back to a hydrogen isotope it's probably best to just regard fusion fuel as being extracted from raw hydrogen.  Fusion rockets can be geared for high thrust or high efficiency depending on the needs of the spacecraft, though either way the craft is likely to be largely dominated by the magnetic confinement system.

 

Antimatter drives would be visually and mechanically similar to fusion drives (and a single engine might be able to accept both deuterium and antimatter as fuel) but require something to use as propellant, similar to NTRs.  Of course effective antimatter production or mining would be a huge project.  They might also require constant power to the containers.  Also, don't shake them.  Ever.

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You forgot nuclear salt water rockets.

Performance without end and hot radioactive death for everyone :D

Can't we keep the salt for me and just nuke everything? :( 

 

 

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You forgot nuclear salt water rockets.

Performance without end and hot radioactive death for everyone :D

Ah of course, that and the good old Orion drive.

 

Though technically a nuclear saltwater rocket could be considered an extreme form of gas core nuclear rocket...  Plasma core nuclear rocket?

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No, orion and plasma core rockets are different from nswr's.

 

Gas/plasma core rockets typically arent intended to expell their nuclear fuel and the fuel doesnt come in direct contact with the reaction mass.

 

Orion drives directly throw out nukes and have no/very small amounts of propellant.

They also dont work or look in any way like a normal rocket.

 

An NSWR superficially looks like a normal chemical rocket (fuel injection, reaction chamber, somewhat normal nozzle) and just directly dumps the fission fuel into its propellant and has it undergo fast, nuke-like fission.

because it doesnt directly have to contain the reaction it can reach far higher temperatures than a solid or gas core rocket, leading to higher exhaust velocity and efficiency.

Its a kind of gas core rocket where they went past reasonable and just went straight to meltdown with the "containment vessel" being the propellant

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No, orion and plasma core rockets are different from nswr's.

 

Gas/plasma core rockets typically arent intended to expell their nuclear fuel and the fuel doesnt come in direct contact with the reaction mass.

 

Orion drives directly throw out nukes and have no/very small amounts of propellant.

They also dont work or look in any way like a normal rocket.

 

An NSWR superficially looks like a normal chemical rocket (fuel injection, reaction chamber, somewhat normal nozzle) and just directly dumps the fission fuel into its propellant and has it undergo fast, nuke-like fission.

because it doesnt directly have to contain the reaction it can reach far higher temperatures than a solid or gas core rocket, leading to higher exhaust velocity and efficiency.

Its a kind of gas core rocket where they went past reasonable and just went straight to meltdown with the "containment vessel" being the propellant

Something my OCD with vocabulistics noticed. Aren't missiles fired from a ship technically torpedos >_> ???

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No idea.

It also isnt really relevant as "rocket" is just short for "rocket engine" in my text, because thats its common usage.

 

You can use the engines for powered projectiles, but directing a stream of nuclear exhaust towards your ship isnt exactly a good idea :V

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Something my OCD with vocabulistics noticed. Aren't missiles fired from a ship technically torpedos >_> ???

Pretty much. In the simplest of senses, torpedoes and missiles are essentially the same, save for the fact that they are meant to be fired in different mediums. Missiles are fired through air, and as such, they have fins to change direction and such. Torpedoes are fired in a vacuum, and as such, they require small thrusters in every direction to change their bearing.

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No, orion and plasma core rockets are different from nswr's.

 

Gas/plasma core rockets typically arent intended to expell their nuclear fuel and the fuel doesnt come in direct contact with the reaction mass.

 

Orion drives directly throw out nukes and have no/very small amounts of propellant.

They also dont work or look in any way like a normal rocket.

 

An NSWR superficially looks like a normal chemical rocket (fuel injection, reaction chamber, somewhat normal nozzle) and just directly dumps the fission fuel into its propellant and has it undergo fast, nuke-like fission.

because it doesnt directly have to contain the reaction it can reach far higher temperatures than a solid or gas core rocket, leading to higher exhaust velocity and efficiency.

Its a kind of gas core rocket where they went past reasonable and just went straight to meltdown with the "containment vessel" being the propellant

 

I got the difference (just adding the Orion drive as another option), the point is that a NSWR could technically be considered a plasma core nuclear rocket since it works by heating its propellant mixture well into plasma territory but is otherwise pretty similar to an open cycle gas core nuclear rocket.  Generally a plasma core fusion or antimatter rocket is assumed to heat the propellant to temperatures well beyond what any known materials can withstand, thus requiring magnetic fields to keep it from contacting the chamber walls.  A NSWR would probably run into the same limitation and require a similar solution.

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Pretty much. In the simplest of senses, torpedoes and missiles are essentially the same, save for the fact that they are meant to be fired in different mediums. Missiles are fired through air, and as such, they have fins to change direction and such. Torpedoes are fired in a vacuum, and as such, they require small thrusters in every direction to change their bearing.

That is literally the first time i heard that definition.

The one i usually hear/know is that missles are the smaller ones, fired by and/or used against smaller vehicles, and torpedoes being the generally larger and more sluggish variant

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That is literally the first time i heard that definition.

The one i usually hear/know is that missles are the smaller ones, fired by and/or used against smaller vehicles, and torpedoes being the generally larger and more sluggish variant

The way I know the definition is that torpedos are fired from a nautical vessel (and spaceSHIPS are still ships :P) and missiles are a general term for anything elongated and projected to the enemy. Arrows are missiles are missiles as well. Catapult boulders are missiles as well >_> . The ones travelling through the air and use fuel to propell them forward are called rockets , with missiles being used as an interchangable term due to both being accurate descriptions.

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There are torpedoes fired from aircraft and choppers and missiles fired from ships, so "fired from a seagoing vessel" cant be the definition of "torpedo".

Wikipedia and merriam webster both give me roughly the same definition of a torpedo being am elongated projectile intended for underwater use

Spacecraft rarely are underwater so they wont have much use for torpedoes.

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There are torpedoes fired from aircraft and choppers and missiles fired from ships, so "fired from a seagoing vessel" cant be the definition of "torpedo".

Wikipedia and merriam webster both give me roughly the same definition of a torpedo being am elongated projectile intended for underwater use

Spacecraft rarely are underwater so they wont have much use for torpedoes.

Well, tecnhically, spaceships are submarines in space. Which makes quite the sense. Both mediums have to deal with pressure and long periods in a place that can kill you in seconds if exposed to. >_> So... torpedos it is?

 

Who knows, let's call them by whatever name they are given with silly acronyms, or manly, over the top catch names. If I could make a rocket, I would call it "Banana". 

 

 

"How did the insurgent leader died?"

 

 

"Banana. Freaking Banana falling from the sky."

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Well, tecnhically, spaceships are submarines in space. Which makes quite the sense. Both mediums have to deal with pressure and long periods in a place that can kill you in seconds if exposed to. >_> So... torpedos it is?

 

Who knows, let's call them by whatever name they are given with silly acronyms, or manly, over the top catch names. If I could make a rocket, I would call it "Banana". 

 

 

"How did the insurgent leader died?"

 

 

"Banana. Freaking Banana falling from the sky."

 

For one thing, spaceships are not submarines.  All of the engineering requirements are reversed (negative pressure vs positive pressure, match density to water vs build as light as possible, low-energy propulsion using the medium as reaction mass vs having to carry your own reaction mass, water-cooled everything vs radiant cooling, I could go on).  Spacecraft have much more in common with aircraft than they do with submarines in terms of design parameters and space missiles have more in common with air to air missiles than they do with sea-launched torpedoes.

 

For another thing we have built weapons to kill spacecraft.  They're still called missiles.  The US has built two that I know of; one was a modified sea-launched anti-aircraft missile used to shoot down USA 193, a malfunctioning spy satellite (or deliberately planned demonstration target, take your pick).  Before that there was a multi-stage missile which was to be launched from an F-15 in a zoom climb to shoot down satellites.  It succeeded in a few test runs but it never entered production.  China shot down one of their own satellites out of nowhere as a demonstration a few years ago with a missile of their own.  Also note that the main differences between a surface to orbit launch vehicle and an intercontinental ballistic missile are aim and payload.

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For one thing, spaceships are not submarines.  All of the engineering requirements are reversed (negative pressure vs positive pressure, match density to water vs build as light as possible, low-energy propulsion using the medium as reaction mass vs having to carry your own reaction mass, water-cooled everything vs radiant cooling, I could go on).  Spacecraft have much more in common with aircraft than they do with submarines in terms of design parameters and space missiles have more in common with air to air missiles than they do with sea-launched torpedoes.

 

For another thing we have built weapons to kill spacecraft.  They're still called missiles.  The US has built two that I know of; one was a modified sea-launched anti-aircraft missile used to shoot down USA 193, a malfunctioning spy satellite (or deliberately planned demonstration target, take your pick).  Before that there was a multi-stage missile which was to be launched from an F-15 in a zoom climb to shoot down satellites.  It succeeded in a few test runs but it never entered production.  China shot down one of their own satellites out of nowhere as a demonstration a few years ago with a missile of their own.  Also note that the main differences between a surface to orbit launch vehicle and an intercontinental ballistic missile are aim and payload.

I put the term "pressure" to indicate the correlation. Unless you can survive in a submarine in the depths after a serious hull breach or in vacuum if the same thing happens, I see those two as the same concept in a different context. A submarine can hide if it "keeps quiet". A spaceship can do that too if it goes dark on emissions. Also, nautical vessels doesn't go on land. So would destroyer class ships and above wouldn't in real life if they were spacecrafts. Unless you're expecting a megaheckton of mass landing on a planet's surface and burning half its fuel (maybe less, maybe more) taking off, no matter what the fuel is, a  spaceship landing on a planet is pretty much the same as a ship being stranded on a reef.

 

I'll be epecting you to tell me how I'm wrong and how ships can go to land, bringing me some example of an amphibian vehicle.

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I put the term "pressure" to indicate the correlation. Unless you can survive in a submarine in the depths after a serious hull breach or in vacuum if the same thing happens, I see those two as the same concept in a different context. A submarine can hide if it "keeps quiet". A spaceship can do that too if it goes dark on emissions. Also, nautical vessels doesn't go on land. So would destroyer class ships and above wouldn't in real life if they were spacecrafts. Unless you're expecting a megaheckton of mass landing on a planet's surface and burning half its fuel (maybe less, maybe more) taking off, no matter what the fuel is, a  spaceship landing on a planet is pretty much the same as a ship being stranded on a reef.

 

I'll be epecting you to tell me how I'm wrong and how ships can go to land, bringing me some example of an amphibian vehicle.

I think we're getting a little off topic at this point, we can continue this debate all day if you want to start another thread for it.

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what would be interesting to have is some way of remote power transfer capabilities.

 

for orbital solar power stations and the like.

 

just a thought

 

*vanishes back into the shadows*

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what would be interesting to have is some way of remote power transfer capabilities.

 

for orbital solar power stations and the like.

 

just a thought

 

*vanishes back into the shadows*

MAke it a cable connecting upper atmosphere to ground, like NASA experimented in the 90s ? Cause that would be one heck of target practise-- I mean cool and fun idea :P .

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MAke it a cable connecting upper atmosphere to ground, like NASA experimented in the 90s ? Cause that would be one heck of target practise-- I mean cool and fun idea :P .

 

Orbital elevator combined with the galaxy's longest extension cord.  What could possibly go wrong?

 

That would make a nice hybrid station though, giving people the ability to reach space for what is basically a train ticket.  Solar panels can be used both to power the elevator and to send power to the ground base along the tether.  Of course without orbital mechanics in play the physics of a space elevator are a little different, though if we don't have to worry about the tower crushing itself if we build it too tall it would probably be easier than in reality anyway.  On the other hand severing a proper orbital tether would result in everything above the break point going into an eccentric orbit or flying off on an escape trajectory depending on the design while everything below the break point probably burns up in the atmosphere; severing a non-orbital space tower would probably bring the entire assembly crashing down on to the ground station.

 

 

what would be interesting to have is some way of remote power transfer capabilities.

 

for orbital solar power stations and the like.

 

just a thought

 

*vanishes back into the shadows*

 

That could be interesting, placing a solar power satellite closer to the sun and using microwave beams to transmit power to ships, stations, colonies, etc throughout the system.  Alternately a carrier spacecraft could hold the power plant and remotely charge up the batteries on its fighters, lightening their load and improving their maneuverability (assuming you can actually transmit enough power through a microwave beam to pull that off).  Of course if the carrier is taken out of commission the fighters are basically dead immediately without a backup power plant, though if you lose the carrier you're in a bad place either way.

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ATTENTION 

After a lengthy debate with good sir Archer, I am honorbound to accept I lost the debate. While programming is my trade and it's not rocket science, he is an ACTUAL rocket scientist. 

 

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Perhaps as a very expensive and top-tech energy generator, there could be an energy-mass converter. It would simply convert mass to energy, but at a fairly low efficiency.

 

It would be a very powerful piece of equipment, but it would be balanced by perhaps a very large size, large material cost to build, very heavy, top of the tech tree, and low efficiency such that would place it as the king of power, but not by too high a margin.

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Perhaps as a very expensive and top-tech energy generator, there could be an energy-mass converter. It would simply convert mass to energy, but at a fairly low efficiency.

 

It would be a very powerful piece of equipment, but it would be balanced by perhaps a very large size, large material cost to build, very heavy, top of the tech tree, and low efficiency such that would place it as the king of power, but not by too high a margin.

That I think would require a black hole good sir :P Mass by the way, is a property of matter, not something tangible you can manipulate. What you propsed could violate physics in more ways than one :P

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