November 04, 2019
Winchell Chung, who has one of the awesomest websites on the internet over at Atomic Rockets
has just added to his Realistic Designs Catalog
a study from 1983 that applied considerable efforts to finding out the answer to what one should do if one finds oneself in need of a manned space battlecruiser armed with high yield energy weapons.
"Ya know...as one does."
I find absolutely glorious that DARPA actually did this study and even better that they came up with something that would work. In 1983 they weren't sure which weapon would be better, so the design has a laser, a particle beam and a railgun each powered by its own nuclear reactor which doubles as an engine. The main focus of the exercise seems to have been figuring how to provide short but massive bursts of electricity for energy weapons from nuclear reactors that could be operated around people. However ,there was attention given to the ship as a whole, including, heat dissipation, radiation protection for the crew and the vessel has artificial gravity for extended operations. There is an extensive analysis at the above link, go read it in full.
Note that the fact that this version has now been declassified meaning that this is presumably the obsolete U.S. design for a space battle cruiser.
A PDF of a very crappy mimeographed copy of the report is here
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at
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Winchell Chung? You mean OGRE's Winchell Chung??? Holy crap, that's amazing!
Posted by: Wonderduck at Mon Nov 4 21:30:34 2019 (EXhwA)
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Mon Nov 4 21:53:27 2019 (5iiQK)
"..from nuclear reactors that could be operated around people."
But most nuclear reactors can operate around people if they're shielded appropriately. That's not exactly rocket science.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Tue Nov 5 20:59:53 2019 (3TbQP)
"If they're shielded appropriately" eg with thick plates of lead. Rocket science tends to frown on thick plates of lead. Any reactor shielding is going to be mass. Which you need to push with more thrust, which means you need bigger reactors, which need more shielding, which are more mass... the rocket equation is a BITCH. Even when you are dreaming this big and powerful, every gram still counts, and if you can get away with less reactor shielding, you do.
Especially when you're spraying around a fog of radioactive water droplets anyways. Screw the weapons, just flying this thing around for a while will take care of all those pesky satellites and space stations and interdict travel for years to come.
Posted by: David at Tue Nov 5 21:20:01 2019 (wXI5i)
*sigh*, I'd hoped the *g,d,r* (grin, duck, run) tag would make clear my comment was meant as a joke/play on the fact that the larger project was
rocket science (while nuclear shielding technically isn't and usually uses fairly brute force approaches).
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Tue Nov 5 22:17:00 2019 (3TbQP)
I'd never run into that tag before. And so you spent more characters explaining it than if you'd just typed it out in the first place...
Posted by: David at Wed Nov 6 00:53:30 2019 (wXI5i)
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