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starship-design: Re: SpaceShip Ideas

In a message dated 7/10/99 1:50:59 PM, chris@vela.astro.ucla.edu writes:

>Dear Kelly,       
>        You have some fascinating proposal for interstellar spacecraft
>on the LIT webpage.  Might I suggest one idea which you may have 
>considered already for its feasibility?
>        It seems the difficulty is not in leaving the Sol system since
>propulsion could be provided externally (eg. pellets, lasers) but
>in Decelerating.  My risky proposal is the following:
>Before arriving, half of ship splits off and goes ahead.  This half
>then, using very precise thrusting, loops around the destination
>star (or one of its planets) and flies back in the opposite direction.

Your going too fast to use the gravity of a normal star to turn you around.

>Not a trivial maneuver by any means, but given the successes of the
>Voyager, etc. missions, not inconceivable.  This "Front" part of the
>ship is actually equipped with pellet gun which fires pellets
>(which comprise most of its mass) back to the main ship.  Moment
>transfer of the pellets (accomplished very carefully) slows down the main
>ship.   If everything could be done "gently" these massive pellets
>could actually composed of material which you would bring along
>on the journey anyway, (food & water supplies) so they don't add mass.

Catching pellats this way could help a lot, but since they'ld being coming 
straigh at you at 3/4ths of light speed that would be nearly impossible.

>        Obviously the faster you go the more difficult this idea
>becomes.  However I believe I heard (but have not calculated)
>that at much above 0.1 c, background radiation starts to get 
>blueshifted into dangerous xrays, etc. So you might want a slow
>voyage anyway...

A slow ship takes too long to be practical, it would need to be far larger 
and heavier.


Thanks for the suggests though.  Not quiet right yet, but new ideas are 
always worth considering.