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RE: Re: Re: starship-design: One way (again...)

> ----------
> From: 	kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu[SMTP:kuo@bit.csc.lsu.edu]
> >Without tools?  The systems will wear out and your light years from
> the
> >manufacturing infastructure needed to keep all the stuff working.  As
> a wrough
> >guess I'ld expect the transport shuttles and such to burn out in
> under 20
> >years, and the main ship sensors and systems to be maybe good for 40.
> Transport shuttles?  What's the point?  You'd want some unmanned
> probes so you can get data from multiple points without wasting
> months and fuel flitting around (e.g. an orbiting probe to measure
> magnetic fields at various distances).
> Most observations, however, could and would be made from the main
> ship directly.  I'm not sure why you expect the ships sensors and
> systems to wear out after only 40 years.
I'd have to say if you wanted manned vehicles to land on planets, you'd
have problems after a while - these can be delicate systems undergoing
enormous stress and requiring lots of maintenance (after all, look at
the space shuttle).  If you are content to observe the planets from
orbit, but still need several vehicles (i.e. to split up into smaller
teams exploring the system), then you have less of a problem -
space-only in-system vehicles are likely to undergo much less stress, be
much simpler in design, and require much less maintenance.  Same deal
with unmanned probes - Voyager's a lot cheaper and simpler if you launch
it from orbit.

I would agree, though, that in general there is liable to be a great
deal more maintenance than we realize (in any rate, one should be
prepared for it) - but I don't see how that has to be a limiting factor.
I think it would be possible to have a design modular enough that
repairs are not nearly as complex as they are today (i.e. refurbishing a
space shuttle) - the problem would be creating the spares, but I think
that if anything, the next 50 years will bring great advances in
manufacturing automation and size.
David Levine                     david@actionworld.com
Director of Development    http://www.actionworld.com/
ActionWorld, Inc.                       (212) 387-8200
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