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RE: starship-design: Antiproton-Catalyzed Propulsion System


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu
> [mailto:owner-starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu]On Behalf Of Stephen
> Harley
> Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 1998 6:00 PM
> To: L. Parker
> Cc: 'Christoph Kulmann'; 'LIT Starship Design Group'
> Subject: Re: starship-design: Antiproton-Catalyzed Propulsion System
> Good idea but as Christopher says in a later email flawed
> because it's only
> twentypeople. I reckon a small ship than Explorer is nesscary
> perhaps with a
> crew of
> say 50. And instead of sending one ship send two or three.
> Now I don't mean
> build two ships and have one for supplies and one for crew I
> mean have two
> more or less identical ships. You've then got two ships that
> can help each other
> out if things go wrong.

I based my design on current ocean survey vessels designed for extended
unsupported survey work - and then doubled the crew complement. Some of the
larger ones do go up to fifty crew. I also had to factor in the probable
effect of computer technology and artificial intelligence. Admittedly, all I
can do is guess, so I split the difference. AI will be advanced enough with
human assistance close by but not advanced enough to run the mission alone.
It seemed a reasonable compromise.
> I disagree with this policy of building huge 700+ people
> crewed ships and
> sending
> them off by themselves. First of all the bigger the ship the
> more problems you
> create with your designs, and the fewer propulsion systems
> are open to you.
> Second
> of all if you lose one ship you have a massive loss of life
> on your hands, along
> with huge
> economic impact on the world. If you lose one Explorer class
> ship your going to
> end
> interstellar exploration for hundreds of years.

Yes and no. Explorer has a place here. As you point, out some systems may
just be too much work for a small survey ship. Also, before ANY colonization
attempt, I would want a thorough survey right down to the microbial and
viral level. This is clearly beyond the reach of a twenty man survey crew.
Of course if you don't mind the concept of sending colonists out as just so
much cannon fodder, then...

> I also disagree with the idea of having a heavy colonization
> vessel. Just outfit
> Explorer
> size ships for colonization and build up the number of people
> on your colony
> slowly.
> If you must colonize in large numbers use an Explorer with a
> caretaker crew of
> say a
> hundred or two hundred people and put the rest in suspended
> animation of some
> kind,
> dead people don't eat, produce much waste or need private
> quaters, you could
> probably
> get an Explorer to haul 1000 people including the crew if you
> put 800-900 of
> them in
> suspended animation.

A colonization vessel would have to carry 10,000 people minimum. Explorer
can't do it with or without suspended animation.
> In fact my opinion would be to send probes followed by two or
> three small 50-75
> crew
> ships to set up a colony and then send two Explorers with 3/4
> of the compliment
> in suspended
> animation. Big ships are just too much like putting all your
> eggs in one basket.

I had already dismissed robotic probes as unproductive due to an earlier
round of discussions. In fact, I myself had proposed a whole fleet of
"Starwisp" probes and was thoroughly shot down in flames.