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starship-design: What is SD about?

>Is anyone in charge of this mailing list?

No, not in the sense that someone directs were we have to go.

>Can someone set an agenda?

If you have suggestions, you are free to try them out.

>We keep arguing about what we can't know - will the bugs kill us? are there
>ETs doing it out there too? is FTL possible? blah blah blah...

These subjects are merely those of the last two or three weeks.
The month before that we've mainly have been discussing engines. The
trouble with that subject is that it has been spoken about very thoroughly
and that thus we soon will arrive at reasons of why something isn't
feasable or something else may be better.

Subjects that we haven't discussed *as often* (but still several times) are
human factors, payload and mission objectives.
All of these do depend on the propulsion system (and travel time), but can
be discussed for specific designs as well. (Lee's "engine parameters"
letters of a few weeks ago were meant to use for this purpose.)

I'm not sure why these subjects are less frequent, maybe it is because they
appear to be the smallest problem.

Anyhow bugs and decontamination are very well part of mission objectives.
And some feel that intelligent aliens are too. (They suggest armament
against hostile aliens.)
FTL is merely something that is so high on everybody's wishlist that we
sometimes just can't resist bringing it up.