Archive for the ‘space travel’ category: Page 420

Apr 8, 2016

Venture Capitalist 3D Prints a Rocket Faster Than the Speed of Sound for Under $2

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, computing, space travel

Steve Jurvetson is a man of many facets – and he can 3D print a rocket that achieves Mach 1.8 (that’s 1,363 mph) in 2.6 seconds and reach an altitude of nearly 9,500 feet.

The Mach number is named after the Austrian physicist and philosopher, Ernst Mach. The terms “subsonic” and “supersonic” basically refer to speeds below and above the local speed of sound, so you should have some idea how fast these tiny rockets are traveling.

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Apr 8, 2016

The Snowbank Orbit, Redux

Posted by in category: space travel

The as yet confirmed 9th planet, how to get there, how to stop, and what it will take. By the great Adam Crowl.

We haven’t yet found Planet Nine, but the evidence for its existence is solid enough that we can start thinking about its possibilities as a mission target. That work falls in this essay to Adam Crowl, a Centauri Dreams regular whose comments on articles here began not long after I started the site. An active member of the Project Icarus attempt to re-design the 1970s Project Daedalus starship, Adam is also the author of Crowlspace, where his insights are a frequently consulted resource. Today he harkens back to a 1960s science fiction story that has given him notions about a way not only to reach Planet Nine but to establish orbit around it.

by Adam Crowl

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Apr 7, 2016

XS-1 Program to Ease Access to Space Enters Phase 2

Posted by in category: space travel

Spaceplane program looks to public-private effort to enable next-generation space launch.

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Apr 6, 2016

The Future Of Space Architecture? Soft And Inflatable

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

The idea of inflatable space habitats has been around for as long as the idea of space travel. Now, one is finally on its way to the ISS.

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Apr 6, 2016

Elon Musk’s Space Dream Almost Killed Tesla

Posted by in categories: business, Elon Musk, military, space travel, sustainability

SpaceX started with a plan to send mice to Mars. It got crazier from there.

In late October 2001, Elon Musk went to Moscow to buy an intercontinental ballistic missile. He brought along Jim Cantrell, a kind of international aerospace supplies fixer, and Adeo Ressi, his best friend from Penn. Although Musk had tens of millions in the bank, he was trying to get a rocket on the cheap. They flew coach, and they were planning to buy a refurbished missile, not a new one. Musk figured it would be a good vehicle for sending a plant or some mice to Mars.

Ressi, a gangly eccentric, had been thinking a lot about whether his best friend had started to lose his mind, and he’d been doing his best to discourage the project. He peppered Musk with links to video montages of Russian, European, and American rockets exploding. He staged interventions, bringing Musk’s friends together to talk him out of wasting his money. None of it worked. Musk remained committed to funding a grand, inspirational spectacle in space and would spend all of his fortune to do it. And so Ressi went to Russia to contain Musk as best as he could. “Adeo would call me to the side and say, ‘What Elon is doing is insane. A philanthropic gesture? That’s crazy,’” said Cantrell. “He was seriously worried.”

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Apr 6, 2016

I4is featured in Aerospace America: PROXIMA CENTAURI

Posted by in category: space travel


BY 2099.

The April issue of Aerospace America, the flagship journal of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), features an article on interstellar travel. Among the topics presented, i4is’ Project Dragonfly.

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Apr 5, 2016

Nvidia Unveils New Supercomputers and AI Algorithms

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, space travel, supercomputing, virtual reality

Big day for Nvidia with announcements on AI and VR.

The first day of the company’s GPU Technology Conference was chock full of self-driving cars, trips to Mars, and more.

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Apr 4, 2016

1.5 Years to Mars? Russia Could Do It in 1.5 Months

Posted by in category: space travel

Russia’s space program could rapidly reach Mars — if the money doesn’t run out first.

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Apr 4, 2016

Combining Magnetic and Electric Sails for Interstellar Deceleration into target solar systems

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space travel

The main benefit of an interstellar mission is to carry out in-situ measurements within a target star system. To allow for extended in-situ measurements, the spacecraft needs to be decelerated. One of the currently most promising technologies for deceleration is the magnetic sail which uses the deflection of interstellar matter via a magnetic field to decelerate the spacecraft. However, while the magnetic sail is very efficient at high velocities, its performance decreases with lower speeds. This leads to deceleration durations of several decades depending on the spacecraft mass. Within the context of Project Dragonfly, initiated by the Initiative of Interstellar Studies (i4is), this paper proposes a novel concept for decelerating a spacecraft on an interstellar mission by combining a magnetic sail with an electric sail. Combining the sails compensates for each technologys shortcomings: A magnetic sail is more effective at higher velocities than the electric sail and vice versa. It is demonstrated that using both sails sequentially outperforms using only the magnetic or electric sail for various mission scenarios and velocity ranges, at a constant total spacecraft mass. For example, for decelerating from 5% c, to interplanetary velocities, a spacecraft with both sails needs about 29 years, whereas the electric sail alone would take 35 years and the magnetic sail about 40 years with a total spacecraft mass of 8250 kg. Furthermore, it is assessed how the combined deceleration system affects the optimal overall mission architecture for different spacecraft masses and cruising speeds. Future work would investigate how operating both systems in parallel instead of sequentially would affect its performance. Moreover, uncertainties in the density of interstellar matter and sail properties need to be explored.

The Msail (Magnetic Sail) consists of a superconducting coil and support tethers which connect it to the spacecraft and transfer the forces onto the main structure. The current through the coil produces a magnetic field. When the spacecraft has a non-zero velocity, the stationary ions of the interstellar medium are moving towards the sail in its own reference frame. The interaction of ions with the magnetosphere of the coil leads to a momentum exchange and a force on the sail, along the direction of the incoming charged particles.

According to Zubrin, the current densities of superconductors can reach up to jmax = 2 · 1010A/m2 and this is the value used in the analysis. For the material of the sail, the density of common superconductors like copper oxide (CuO) and YBCO was used, with ρMsail = 6000 kg/m3.

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Apr 4, 2016

Robotic in orbit assembly of massive sails and laser propulsion elements for fast travel anywhere in the solar system and beginner interstellar capability

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, solar power, space travel, sustainability

Robotic in orbit assembly and laser propulsion could enable vast increases in space capability while not significantly changing the world civilization energy budget.

Robotic and additive manufacturing could enable massive frames and massive solar power arrays.

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