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Re: starship-design: Tugs

In a message dated 7/28/97 2:47:59 AM, TLG.van.der.Linden@tip.nl (Timothy van
der Linden) wrote:

>>>The strech is provided by the beam and sail themselves. If the beam hits
>>>sail under an angle, it will push the sail aside. Just like a parachute
>>>be blown open and not flap or wrinkle in the middle.
>>>The only places that may wrinkle are the outsides.
>>That would only work if the sail is anchored to something by cables.
>> Otherwise its effectivly a sheet of paper blown in the wind (or a domed
>>shaped peice of paper if you prefer.).
>I figured the sail always had to be anchored by cables...

Anchored to what?  Unless the anchor weighs enough it can't 'anchor' the
sail.  In the case of fuel/sail, the sail is 400 times heavier.

>>>>You could fly a bunch of other sail ships around it.  They could move in
>>>>'shadow' part of the larger main sail if needed.
>>>Doesn't sound good. Accelerating more than one sail is hard enough.
>>One sails loss is anothyers gain.  Remember the mini sails could be only a
>>few miles across.  Tiny compared to the monster sail.  Their plenty of
>>power in the beam beyond the sails edges.  Hundreds of thousands of miles
>>cruse around in.
>True, but then the small sails should be able to accelerate faster than the
>mothership. This is not necessary a problem, since they likely don't have as
>much payload per sail-area.

Not if they had the same cargo weight per sail area. 

>Hmmm, in theory they could stay a few light minutes behind us, and tell us
>if the beam wiggles. They'll have to use FTL-communication of course ;)