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starship-design: CONCEPT FOR MODULAR INTERORBITAL MULTI-ROLE MULTI-MISSION VEHICLE
CONCEPT FOR MODULAR INTERORBITAL MULTI-ROLE MULTI-MISSION VEHICLE
Basic conceptualization is a multi-component spacecraft consisting of
multiple modules designed to attach to a common bus both electrically and
mechanically. The bus provides all electrical and mechanical support
functions to each module and interfaces these functions with an
interchangeable COMMAND MODULE for control purposes.
By providing a common interface for both electrical and mechanical systems,
it is possible to build a selection of interchangeable modules that can be
plugged together indifferent configurations as mission requirements demand.
Although some performance loss over purpose built designs is to be
expected, the cost savings resulting from this approach are so overwhelming
that the performance loss considerations are negligible.
The core of this design is the MAIN MODULE to which all other modules
attach. This module contains all power production, power conditioning, fuel
supply, life support, and electromechanical attachment points for the other
modules. All computer systems necessary for the control, maintenance and
regulation of the systems on this module are also included. The MAIN MODULE
may be chained to other MAIN MODULES in either linear or piggyback fashion.
The physical design is an octagonal 'can' that permits interlocking for
maximum structural rigidity in groups of two or four. Two MAIN MODULES or
BLANK MODULES in parallel can support up to nine PAYLOAD MODULES. Four MAIN
MODULES or BLANK MODULES in parallel can support up to twelve PAYLOAD
There are 10 attachment points on a MAIN MODULE: an UP POINT, which is
usually the COMMAND MODULE or a SENSOR/COMMUNICATIONS MODULE; a DOWN POINT,
which is normally the PROPULSION MODULE; and eight AUXILLARY POINTS. A
single MAIN MODULE can support as many as eight PAYLOAD MODULES of Type 1
mounted to the AUXILLARY POINTS. So two MAIN MODULES or BLANK MODULES
mounted in tandem can support up to sixteen PAYLOAD MODULES.
This module provides all C3I functions for the vehicle. It is also the
living quarters for the crew, if any. Although every module includes some
built-in computer intelligence for interface purposes, the main computers
that control the vehicle are located here. Basic sensors necessary for
minimal mission configuration would normally be included with this module
even though payload modules might carry additional sensors to augment
capabilities for a particular mission. This is normally mounted in-line with
the MAIN MODULE rather than to one of the eight auxillary mating points.
Long duration modules may be designed to mount in tandem to multiple MAIN
MODULES/BLANK MODULES in groups of two or four.
This module is for missions where the onboard abilities of standard COMMAND
MODULES would be insufficient because of the distances invloved. It is
designed to support larger sensor arrays than a COMMAND MODULE. It is
usually, but not always, mounted directly below the COMMAND MODULE and
above the MAIN MODULE.
The propulsion module, like the rest, is interchangeable for a variety of
missions. It includes all engines, fuel, power feeds to the MAIN MODULE and
control electronics necessary to maintain and regulate itself subject to
the requirements of the COMMAND MODULE.
PROPULSION ADAPTER MODULE
Supports multiple PROPULSION MODULES for missions requiring higher delta v
or carrying unusually massive cargo.
A dummy module providing only pass through electromechanical connections and
structural support. Typically used to attach to MAIN MODULES in place of
another MAIN MODULE to add physical room for oversized PAYLOAD MODULE
configurations or where more AUXILLARY POINTS are needed without the
overhead of additional MAIN MODULES. BLANK MODULES may be designed in heavy
duty configurations to provide enhanced structural strength for high
acceleration stress missions.
An infinite variety of payload modules are possible, fulfilling all possible
missions and in so far as they are constrained by the common mating bus and
possible ship configurations that might be assembled for that particular
mission, they may assume almost any physical shape or dimension.
Basic PAYLOAD MODULES are defined by the number of mating points they
occupy, a Type 1 is designed to attach to a single mating point without
interfering with the attachment of modules on neighboring points, a Type 2
requires to adjacent mating points each at 45 degrees to the other without
interfering with the attachment of modules to adjacent mating points. The
sequence continues until Type 8, which is basically a full circle around
all eight attachment points of a single MAIN MODULE
Possible modules include but are not limited to:
1) Bulk Cargo Pod - Basic module for the transport of anything not requiring
environmental maintenance, in other words, a large box.
2) Environmental Cargo Pod - A somewhat enhanced module for the transport of
materials that might require atmosphere, thermal, or other environmental
support. Typically, food stuffs and manufactured goods.
3) Fuel Pod - Used to extend the range of the vehicle.
4) Environmental Support Pod - Used to increase the environmental capacity
of the main module.
5) Power Support Pod - Used to increase the power capacity of the main
6) Sensors Pod - Adds higher capacity sensors to the COMMAND MODULE's
built-in sensors. This type would include research functions such as
optical and radio telescopes
7) Passenger Pod - Carries human or other live cargo in a self sustained
environmental pod. May be augmented in certain configurations by the
addition of Power Support Pods and/or Environmental Support Pods.
8) Weapons Pod - Sorry, but if it is designed to a common bus, it can be
made to carry weapons.