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Re: starship-design: Apology

L. Parker wrote:

>> Huh, that few to initiate fusion for a trip to Mars?
>> Then indeed the latter anti-proton trap is more than large enough.

>It is really a pretty nice web site. They have already designed the ship
>and it looks pretty good. It is basically an outgrowth of Orion that has
>been refined considerably.

Speaking of fusion style Orion, I was just thinking that a "fusion
bomb track" idea may be worth considering for interstellar propulsion.
The idea is to use a magsail-Orion rocket, but to "boost" it with
a track of fusion bombs.  The ship would thus be dominated by a
huge superconducting loop, layed out "horizontally" like a frisbee
(the axis is perpendicular to the direction of motion).  At high
speeds, it would operate as an Orion rocket, propelled by H-bombs
lobbed out rearward.  At low speeds (relative to the track), it
would be propelled by "fixed" H-bombs detonated just behind it.

The biggest problem with this concept is that only a fraction of
the momentum from the H-bomb detonations is used--I seem to recall
something like 10% for the magsail-Orion concept.  The H-bomb track
will have a figure that's even worse because the bombs will probably
be detonated further away, at imprefect angles, and the bombs
themselves would be moving backwards to begin with (which is why
I say the track shouldn't be used all the way).

However, the "fusion bomb track" does offer these advantages:

1. Most of the technology is already available.  The main stumbling
   blocks are developing large superconducting loops and large
   scale particle beam emitter production (assuming RPB propulsion
   is used for the deceleration track).

2. Targetting of the bomb tracks is simplified because little
   precision is needed in placing the bombs (compared to the pellet
   track concept).  The most serious issue is avoiding and/or dealing
   with impacts with the ship's magsail, but small thrusters along
   the magsail would be enough to maneuver sections of sail out of
   the way of a misplaced bomb.

Of course, there are certain political problems with manufacturing,
transporting, and detonating millions of fusion bombs...
    _____     Isaac Kuo kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu http://www.csc.lsu.edu/~kuo
/___________\ "Mari-san...  Yokatta...
\=\)-----(/=/  ...Yokatta go-buji de..." - Karigari Hiroshi