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Re: starship-design: What is SD about?

Hi Alan,

>I was hoping that someone had settled on a
>drive system and was actively pursuing a worked out design, but really this
>discussion is more open ended.

I believe there are two designs out there, but they haven't been updated
for quite some time.

>If we are going to discuss FTL let's ask ourselves just what sort of FTL do
>we imagine - instantaneous, very-fast or a few times c.

So far we haven't actually thought about a mission that can use virtually
instantaneous travel. But we might set limits as we did for normal engines.
I wouldn't know if it is really sensible though.

>What's the  best "foreseeable" design for a drive that has been discussed
>here? I've vaguely heard about a combination of beam-launched
>fusion-propelled system. Will we need to send fuel-mining equipment along so
>they can get back?

- electromagnetic (light/microwaves) beamed starships.
- take-all-fuel-with-you ships (mostly fusion, or fusion with
  a bit of antimatter)
- take-only-acceleration-and-deceleration-fuel-with-you ships, and refuel
  at the target.
- launch-fuel-in-advance-and-scoop-it-along-the-way ship.

Energy wise the latter is probably the best (unless we've a matter &
antimatter drive with fuel), but whether it is easiest?

Regarding the beamed design, a year ago I made up a list with pros and
cons, you may find it at <http://www.xs4all.nl/~shealiak/sd/beaming/beam.html>