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View Full Version : Engineer Thinks We Could Build a Real Starship Enterprise in 20 Years



Fraser
2012-May-11, 10:00 PM
In Star Trek lore, the first Starship Enterprise will be built by the year 2245. But today, an engineer has proposed — and outlined in meticulous detail building a full-sized, ion-powered version of the Enterprise complete with 1G of gravity on board, and says it could be done with current technology, within 20 years. [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/95099/engineer-thinks-we-could-build-a-real-starship-enterprise-in-20-years/)

otakenji
2012-May-12, 03:08 AM
Here is a rare case of function following form. A complete reversal of engineering method.

publiusr
2012-May-12, 04:07 PM
These are about as good as it gets: http://www.astronautix.com/fam/lenicles.htm
I like the Bono saucer HLLV concept--highly notional...only drawn so as to show the huge size of the winged craft needed as comparison:

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/bonaucer.htm

Tuckerfan
2012-May-13, 11:34 PM
[Jackie Gleason] This is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard of! [/JG]

Its size puts it about triple the size of the TOS Enterprise, and it looks like there's lots of empty space in it. (Hard to tell because of how long it takes his site to load.) Not to mention that I can't see anything on his design which indicates that the thrust from the engines will pass through on the center of mass. This means that the crew will having to make a lot of course corrections due to the thrust pushing from the wrong spot.

It reminds me of those folks trying to raise $30 million to keep Enterprise on the air. :rolleyes: For that kind of money, they could have had a real spacecraft.

Copernicus
2012-May-14, 09:05 PM
Seems like the article attacks people who would oppose this idea on financial grounds! I personally wish we could eliminate space, nuclear, and electronic age all together so we would have a more stable world.

publiusr
2012-May-14, 10:03 PM
The Dark ages were stable. I have no problem with a scaled down cycler ringship. Wasn't the first enterprise a ringship?

I'd settle for the Discovery...

Solfe
2012-May-15, 04:47 AM
Not to mention that I can't see anything on his design which indicates that the thrust from the engines will pass through on the center of mass. This means that the crew will having to make a lot of course corrections due to the thrust pushing from the wrong spot.

I have to apologize, I snorted when I read your post.

I thought to myself: "Ha! He has no idea that guy plans on using the center-line impulse engine for thrust. He obviously doesn't know the difference between an impulse engine and a two warp nacelles."

:( Then the bubble burst and I realized how defective I am for knowing the difference between the center-line impulse engine and the warp nacelles. :(

Now that I have that out of the way, what does the engineer plan on using all of that space in the nacelles for? I tried to check the blog, but it is really slow.

That is one big ship, .3 of a mile for just the saucer section. That means the whole ship should be just shy of a mile long. And the author of the blog believes that the ship could be built in one g. Is he expecting a surface launch for a ship that big?

danscope
2012-May-15, 11:09 AM
Maybe he is only 8 years old. I bet the design work is in crayon :)

danscope
2012-May-16, 12:25 AM
It sounds like a ship that size which would be strong enough to contain an atmosphere would be soooooo massive that to accelerate to even a thousand miles per hour would take so long that you would die from boredom,radiation or old age
and probably all three. Having some 'designers' engineer spaceships is kind of like a bunch of kids building a tree-house
out of 1/4 inch particle board paneling. :) You have to ask the question : "Is this really practical?" .

Dream big, but read a few books. Benjamin Franklin

Dan

Tuckerfan
2012-May-16, 01:13 AM
I have to apologize, I snorted when I read your post.

I thought to myself: "Ha! He has no idea that guy plans on using the center-line impulse engine for thrust. He obviously doesn't know the difference between an impulse engine and a two warp nacelles."

:( Then the bubble burst and I realized how defective I am for knowing the difference between the center-line impulse engine and the warp nacelles. :(
Those nacelles don't cause problems because of how warp drive works in the Trekverse. Unless you did a lot creative mass loading, putting rocket engines in those things would cause all sorts of problems. (Don't feel bad, when I first heard about the idea, but hadn't read the article, my mind flashed to the theory that warp drive is possible, it just requires using the mass of Jupiter to power the thing and thought, "How does he plan on converting Jupiter into energy?")

Now that I have that out of the way, what does the engineer plan on using all of that space in the nacelles for? I tried to check the blog, but it is really slow. I couldn't find anything, but I didn't poke around on his site for long, due to the slowness of it.


That is one big ship, .3 of a mile for just the saucer section. That means the whole ship should be just shy of a mile long. And the author of the blog believes that the ship could be built in one g. Is he expecting a surface launch for a ship that big?It'd be built in pieces and assembled in orbit. He estimates that it'd take "200-300 launches" of heavy lift rockets (of which there are currently none and won't be any until probably 2016 at the earliest, assuming that SpaceX doesn't hit too many snags).

Need I point out that this would be the largest thing ever assembled in orbit, would dwarf the ISS, and is not designed to optimally fit inside a round rocket (while the ISS sections were designed to fit inside the shuttle bays, hence their round size)?

Solfe
2012-May-16, 02:36 AM
Personally, I don't see why he needs this shape.

Some of the assembles are interesting, such as the nacelles or the body. A tube is simply a boring ISS. I just don't see why one wouldn't throw the wheel around the nacelle tube or what he call the secondary hull (the body part of the ship).

Siguy
2012-May-17, 01:25 AM
I'm baffled as to why he would use the ENTERPRISE, over any fictional ship. The original ship was clearly designed to look cool on screen, without too much thought put into engineering. As a matter of fact, it's a terrible engineering model, for more reasons than I could possibly list here. As otakenji already pointed out, in engineering, function does NOT follow form.

If there is any interstellar spaceship from fiction which could conceivably be built, it would be the ISV Venture Star from the film Avatar, absolutely blew me away with its realism when I saw it on screen. The only problem would be its antimatter drive being outside any current technology we possess. But it still strongly resembled a NASA concept.

Curiously, the original concept for the USS Enterprise from Star Trek was quite a bit more realistic from an engineering standpoint, with large fuel tanks, axial thrust, and what looked like large radiators.

publiusr
2012-May-19, 05:32 PM
The declaration class ringship that looked like the NuBSG space park. That I could see.

Tuckerfan
2012-May-19, 11:31 PM
I'm baffled as to why he would use the ENTERPRISE, over any fictional ship.Because of the fanbase. Trek fans got the shuttle named Enterprise (too bad they didn't pick one that would actually fly in space:doh: ) and unlike the Star Wars universe, Trek is actively producing movies (granted, the quality of the last Trek movie is only slightly better than the dreck Lucas has defecated out in recent years) while Lucas seems to be obsessed with navel gazing in the form of historical revisionism. That gives Trek a more vibrant fanbase to work with.

To pick a ship from another scifi universe would mean drawing from a much smaller pool of potential donors.

Solfe
2012-May-20, 02:41 AM
Besides, the SDF-1 is just silly.

Whitestar
2012-Jul-15, 05:33 AM
I'm baffled as to why he would use the ENTERPRISE, over any fictional ship. The original ship was clearly designed to look cool on screen, without too much thought put into engineering. As a matter of fact, it's a terrible engineering model, for more reasons than I could possibly list here. As otakenji already pointed out, in engineering, function does NOT follow form.

I completely agree with you that the starship Enterprise is unrealistic design, despite looking cool. As a matter of curiosity, could you please elaborate on why you think the starship Enterprise is a terrible engineering model?


If there is any interstellar spaceship from fiction which could conceivably be built, it would be the ISV Venture Star from the film Avatar, absolutely blew me away with its realism when I saw it on screen. The only problem would be its antimatter drive being outside any current technology we possess. But it still strongly resembled a NASA concept.

Personally, I would settle for the Discovery in 2001 or the Leonov in 2010.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-15, 07:35 PM
The article explicitly says it would be for in-System work only, so it shouldn't be called the Starship Enterprise. [/Nitpick]

publiusr
2012-Jul-15, 08:03 PM
Compromise: There is a little something called an aeroscraft. Now look at the rigid framework here: http://www.aeroscraft.com/

Now of all the Trek ships, Voyager might be do-able in that you don't have spindly nacelle struts and all. Being a compact shape, I can see an airship of its general shape actually flying where people don't need a telescope to see it.

Even larger concepts are on the table--shades of ID4: http://www.id.iit.edu/media/cms_page_media/51/aero04.pdf

danscope
2012-Jul-15, 09:45 PM
Such a craft will never have to fly. It would have to be built in orbit, a very stable orbit, to begin with. You will have to boost eveything and the water and air etc etc etc etc into orbit. It might as well be shaped like a saucer with even air pressure distribution.
Just cough up 30 trillion dollars and you've got it. No problem. Alf . :)

FarmMarsNow
2012-Jul-16, 05:06 PM
Now that I have that out of the way, what does the engineer plan on using all of that space in the nacelles for? I tried to check the blog, but it is really slow. Probably the space will be needed for lots of AA batteries. Traveling to Mars in 90 days is a great idea, however.

Perhaps a ship of that size could be built from moon & asteroid materials.