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Re: starship-design: Long range fuel tankers

Hi Jim,

>I have a question.  I've been studying the fuel/sail and rair papers
>(VERY INTERESTING) and a thought comes to me.  Since decelerating at the
>target is important (obviously!) Why not launch a HUGE stream of fuel
>tankers along with the ship in such a fashion that when the time for
>retro comes, It starts catching these tankers, with a line of them behind
>the ship catching up with it.

No can do... :)

What would be the velocity of such tankers when you catch them?
If as you suggest they are behind the ship, then they'll need similar high
velocities to be there at about the same time. I could show math but don't
really feel like it.
Take for example one of the last tankers, they'll have to move with
velocities of say 0.1c. In other words they will take at least 40 years (if
not 100) to get there; We can't wait that long during deceleration.

If as has been proposed earlier, you sent them in advance, you'll have to
start that same time in advance. 40 or 100 Years has been considered a long
time for such a project, both for changin technology and political and
social willingness.

And ignoring all that, it has been suggested that these tankers may not stay
neatly in line during their long travel.

All in all the disadvantages probably outweigh the energy savings of this

Don't you hate this debunking ;)