HCG StarShip 1
We’re almost ready to reach the stars. The proposed 25,000,000 pound HCG StarShip 1 (“SS 1”) can do it by 2050! SS 1 is a mile in diameter and two miles long. It carries 2,000 colonists to settle habitable planets in nearby solar systems. SS 1 generates 25,000,000 # of thrust: i.e. a 1 g acceleration. It’s 4.4 light years to the nearest star. Halfway to its destination, speed is 0.95 c and SS 1 turns around to decelerate. On arrival, the crew begins a six-month investigation-colonization effort. The crew then returns to Earth. Thirteen years have passed on Earth, but the crew is only 7½ years older (time dilation). SS 1 is fusion powered like NIF and HiPER. Deuterium-Tritium ions are confined in a stratified plasma cloud and excited by lasers to fuse into helium. Key parts:
1. Skin Made out of Graphene (A) fabric, the flat form of carbon nano-tubes. Positively charged, it repels positively charged D-T ions from the plasma cloud. Lasers (B) excite the plasma to initiate ignition. Along with the lasers, DLP reflectors (C) reflect light back into the plasma cloud creating photonic pressure to maintain temperature and pressure stratification.
2. Life Module Houses 100 crew members, 2,000 colonists, life-support, spare parts, Xbox 1360’s.
3. Exhaust Nozzle Passes the high-speed exhaust stream. Low-speed gas cycles through GenSets (E). Pumps (F) recycle captured gas (D) to the D-T injector (5).
4. Shield Protects leading-edge of space ship. Two layers of fabric (G) filled with AeroGel (H). Astronauts regularly maintain SS 1 interior (J) and exterior (K).
5. Injector Shoots the ionized D-T into the plasma cloud.