Tough SF

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Piracy in Space is Possible Part I: Dastardly DeltaV and Stealth Steamers

Space Piracy is a common science fiction trope. It has been continuously derided in Hard Science Fiction as silly and a holdover of the 'Space is an Ocean' analogy. 
But is it really that unrealistic to have space pirates? Let's find out.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Advanced Solar Energy in Space: Part I

Solar Thermal Rockets can be efficient and have high performance. However, they remain temperature-limited to an exhaust velocity of 12km/s.
How do we surpass this limit?

Monday, 23 October 2017

Liquid Rhenium Solar Thermal Rocket

The maximum temperature concentrated sunlight can heat a material to is 5800K. How do we approach this limit?
We will describe existing and potential designs for solar thermal rockets. 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

SpaceX SFR: Small Falcon Rocket

The Small Falcon Rocket is a scaled down alternative to SpaceX's Big Falcon Spaceship that fits on top of existing Falcon 9 boosters. 
We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such a design.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Anti-Orbit Laser Submarines

Laser-equipped nuclear-powered submarines are the perfect last line of defense against an attacking force in orbit.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Low Earth Orbit Atmospheric Scoops

The rocket equation is often described as tyrannical. Low exhaust velocity chemical rockets that are used today need payloads to be mounted on towers of propellant to reach extraterrestrial destinations. 
Re-fueling a rocket in orbit has been floated as a solution to drastically reduce rocket sizes. The best source of propellant for this purpose is much closer than is generally thought... 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

How to Live on Other Planets: Saturn

So far away, yet arguably the most beautiful of celestial bodies. The Sun is a pale star and the Earth practically invisible from where it orbits... 

...can we live in the Saturnian system?

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Liquid Droplet Radiator Inter-Reflection

We follow up 'All the Radiators' with two questions on Liquid Droplet Radiators: How do we take into account inter-reflection in a droplet sheet? How does it affect the radiative efficiency?

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

All the Radiators

Every spaceship will have radiators. Energy such as sunlight, reactors, habitats and rocket engines accumulates as heat unless it is removed through radiation. 
We will look at how this critical component works and then at existing, future and possible designs.