Ship Design Philosophy

Starship: The Tailsitter

Why the Roci Lands on her tail

In the Books when the Rocinante lands on planets she lands on her belly. BUT as we see in the Expanse Seson 4 landing Video. she now lands on her tail. I suspect this is why :)

2 years ago
This isn't why the Rocinante lands on her tail, it's because of the floor orientation.

However this specific landing was intentionally designed to mirror the Blue Origin landing, as a nod to Amazon for helping save the show, giving way for three more seasons.

The Expanse Season 4 Comic-Con Sneak Peek | 'Rocinante Lands on Ilus' | Rotten Tomatoes TV

Synopsis: With the Ring Gates now open to thousands of new planets, a blood-soaked gold rush begins, igniting new conflicts between Earth, Mars, and the Belt. Meanwhile, on one unexplored planet, the Rocinante crew gets caught in a violent clash between an Earth mining corporation and desperate Belter settlers as deadly new threats from the protomolecule emerge.

You can veer off to find a more suitable landing area.
Starship: The Tailsitter

The Expanse - Bobbie Arrives On Earth

A highly thought provoking scene from season 2, where we see for the first time how Martians deal with Earth's gravity. A fascinating insight and an excellent sequence I thought.

1. Inertial compensation would eliminate felt acceleration.

2. Add an extra gee to that, and reverse gravity to that, you could walk on the ceiling without feeling the gravity from the local gravity well.

3. Possibly, you could orientate that to the walls at ninety degrees, if the inertial compensation field is tweaked.

4. Interesting question would be if while falling, the drop ship activates the vertically embedded factor one manoeuvre drive.

5. Does everything come to a sudden stop, or is it a breaking effect?

6. Manoeuvre drive likely functions differently from vehicle gravitational motors, that probably reject gravity, and therefore should come to a sudden stop.

7. With a manoeuvre drive, I suppose it would be the drop ship's terminal velocity within an atmosphere.

8. Frictionless, it should be escape velocity, but in reverse.

9. Presumably, on Terra, you'd slow down to a controlled landing at some point where a continual acceleration of factor one would nullify velocity maybe a metre above the landing area.
Inspiration: Sci-fi inspired tractor beams are real, and could solve a major space junk problem

By Harry Baker published October 29, 2023

Researchers are developing a real-life tractor beam, with the goal of pulling defunct satellites out of geostationary orbit to alleviate the space junk problem.

In science fiction films, nothing raises tension quite like the good guys' spaceship getting caught in an invisible tractor beam that allows the baddies to slowly reel them in. But what was once only a sci-fi staple could soon become a reality.

Scientists are developing a real-life tractor beam, dubbed an electrostatic tractor. This tractor beam wouldn't suck in helpless starship pilots, however. Instead, it would use electrostatic attraction to nudge hazardous space junk safely out of Earth orbit.

Tweak a particle accelerator?
Spaceships: Why Don't They Launch Rockets From Mountains Or The Equator?

Why aren’t we taking full advantage of the planet we’re living on? If we launched rockets from mountains, they'd be closer to space where the air is thinner so we could use more vacuum optimized engines.

Or why don't we launch rockets from the equator? The Earth is moving quite quickly at the equator which gives a substantial boost in the initial velocity of the rocket. I mean it’s free energy right? How much of a difference does launching rockets from different locations actually have?

Today we’re going to dive into the physics of launching rockets from different spots on the earth. We’ll go over the pros and the cons of launching from mountains or closer to the equator in great depth and see if we can figure out why exactly we just don’t see rockets launching from these locations all that often if at all.

Prerequisite "Orbit VS Suborbit" -

• The MASSIVE difference between orbit ...

00:00 - Intro
02:45 - Launching from a mountain
12:45 - Launching from the equator
20:10 - Summary

1. Nozzle volume.

2. Urban proximity.

3. Support logistics.

4. Compromise.

5. How would this effect factor one manoeuvre drives?
Spaceships: The MASSIVE difference between orbit and sub-orbit

Today we’re going to dive into the differences between space and orbit, dive into orbital velocity and the Karman line, some rundowns on orbital mechanics and things like apogee and perigee, how, when and why exactly astronauts experience zero g.

00:00 - Intro
02:05 - Space vs Orbit
02:55 - Zero G and Weightlessness
05:15 - Is there gravity in space?
07:28 - Where does space begin?
08:45 - Kármán line
11:05 - Apogee and Perigee
13:55 - Orbit vs Sub-Orbit
19:15 - Summary and final thoughts

1. Pulled in all directions.

2. Karman Line one hundred klix.
Spaceships: Manning Levels, Virtualization, and Crew Reduction(s)

1. Crew reductions can only be applied to the following roles: engineer, maintenance, gunner, administrators and sensor operators. Calculate officers and medics after reducing the other roles.

2. While ships are vastly complicated to run, requiring highly trained crews, relatively simple operations can be performed by this software package. Virtual Crew can replace up to five pilots, gunners or sensor operators on board a ship, potentially allowing the ship to act autonomously if all crew can be replaced in this way.

3. A Virtual Gunner package allows a ship’s computer to replace living gunnery crew in an efficient manner.

4. Which raises the question, does that include dividing the bandwidth by three onboard hundred kilotonne spacecraft?
Starship: The Tailsitter

G. Dropships can range in size, though pragmatically there probably is an upper limit.

H. Outside of bulk freight, passenger could be roll on roll off ferries.

I. That would assume independent transportation can, and would be, transported spatially.

J. Maybe you could go on holiday in your recreational vehicle.

K. Possibly, then you pay freight rates, rather than middle or high passages ones.
Spaceships: Engineering and Manoeuvre Drive

1. In theory, you can't have a variant of the manoeuvre drive as a high burn thruster.

2. If you add a second manoeuvre drive, where the total acceleration would exceed their respective caps, it would be treated as redundancy in case of damage, or for a tractor function.

3. What I had in mind for the GINAS transporter, was that the primary manoeuvre drive module was embedded vertically, basically erasing the local gravity, and if it's below Terran norm, the excess becomes propulsion.

4. The second manoeuvre drive module would be embedded horizontally, providing thrust.

5. Optionally, if that didn't work, then just a normal rocket for a short burst.

6. Pulse rocket engine, since it's more to push the GINAS in a specific direction, and then just drift.
Spaceships: Hull, Double Hulled, and Dual Purpose

1. This is a two-hulled cylinder where the outer hull (the whole, or at least a part) spins to create gravity and the inner hull does not.

2. The outer hull is kept at around 1G by the speed of its spinning and is used for any areas that will be inhabited for extended periods of time, such as crew quarters.

3. The outer, spun hull must be at least 60 tons.

4. Machinery to spin a double hull uses 0.1 ton for every ton of outer hull.

5. For each full percent of the total hull that is made part of the spun hull, the cost of the hull must be increased by +1%.

6. We armour the hull, and configure it as a perfect cylinder.

7. We balance the double hull across the spacecraft, whether as a single roller, double roller, and so on.

8. And thus, when you land, you now have a land vehicle.

9. And asphalt roller.
Spaceships: Hull, Double Hulled, and Dual Purpose

A. The wheel gets allocated sixty tonnes, though the inner hull volume has no minimum, except ...

B. You need to allocate a minimum of six tonnes for the machinery to spin the outer hull.

C. Only the hamster cage mentions it needs a minimum radius of fifteen metres.

D. Presumably, the outer hull is one deck high, which is (likely) three metres, including deck and ceiling.

E. Though if it's used primarily as a ground wheel, that probably wouldn't matter.

F. Though you might want to leave enough space for the hamsters.

Starship: Grav Glider

1. Sort of grew out of my interest in an (one shot, cheap) assault glider.

2. Numbers never added up, but unlike drop ships, you could launch them over the horizon.

3. Way over the horizon.

4. Unlike drop ships, you'd need a streamlined hull, and preferably, aerofins.

5. In theory, could be undetectable if you had the engines powered off, plus stealth.

6. Problem is, I suspect that a spacecraft hull has substantial more mass than a default glider.

7. So you'd need that vertically embedded factor one manoeuvre drive, to neutralize the local gravity.

8. Less Terran norm, you'd get some propulsion.

9. Over Terran norm, altitude drop is going to be a lot less.
Spaceships: Hulls and Towing Cable

1. A simple device used to haul an attached derelict or unpowered ship behind the modified vessel.

2. The ship can potentially tow any size vessel provided it has the Thrust to do so.

3. A ship’s Thrust must be recalculated when it tows another ship or object, using the combined tonnage of both ships; therefore, the manoeuvre drive will be operating at a lower Thrust.

4. A ship towing an object in this fashion cannot jump.

5. Tow Cable 1% of ship tonnage ...

6. But which ship's tonnage?

7. Imagine a five tonne spacecraft towing a semimegatonne Tigress, with a fifty kilogramme cable.

8. Towers can jump, regardless of whether they are towing an object or not.

9. Difference is, if outside the jump bubble, whether the towing object's mass effects the local gravitational influence, or inside the jump bubble, the towed object's volume effects the jump drive's performance.
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Spaceships: Hull, Double Hulled, and Dual Purpose

A. The wheel gets allocated sixty tonnes, though the inner hull volume has no minimum, except ...

B. You need to allocate a minimum of six tonnes for the machinery to spin the outer hull.

C. Only the hamster cage mentions it needs a minimum radius of fifteen metres.

D. Presumably, the outer hull is one deck high, which is (likely) three metres, including deck and ceiling.

E. Though if it's used primarily as a ground wheel, that probably wouldn't matter.

F. Though you might want to leave enough space for the hamsters.

This made me think of this blast from the past...
Starship: The Tailsitter

and Sandcasters

1. If sand can absorb the energy of a particle accelerator spinal mount, how about that of an atmospheric reentry?

2. As the spacecraft does the reentry, it launches a sand canister, that creates an ablative heatshield underneath it.

3. The question would be, how long that lasts?

4. Or like the Orion drive, do you have to continuously launch sand canister to form a continuous heat shield?
Depends on how you want it to work.
Once the sand becomes a plasma shield all you have to do it hold it between the ship and the atmosphere with a strong magnetic field.
1. There's a law of diminishing returns, and at tis tier under current design rules, I'd say it starts at a quarter of a million tonnes, which fits in with the Prometheus class.

2. It plateaus at a hundred kilotonnes, which would be why the Confederation Navy goes big.

3. I'm a little sceptical on the harpoon part, since I think a tractor beam seems more likely in our game.

4. Though more than happy to use it as a cheap alternative.

5. Also, how much you want to risk getting your ground troops destroyed before they are deployed.

6. Battleships can look after themselves, but large troop ships become strategic targets if the point of the operation is to get them onto the planet.

7. Modularity does allow reconfiguration, whether of troops, payload, and/or weapon systems.

8. I tend to think that the Confederation Marine Corps is quite enthusiastic about boarding capital and command starwarships, occasionally cruisers.

9. Leaving lesser prizes to allied, member, mercenary and/or CAVALRY forces.
Spaceships: Containerization

1. The crane is strong enough to lift fully loaded containers of up to 65 tons and can couple with most pallets and crates.

2. There probably are smaller containers, four and eight tonnes, and larger ones, whatever they are.

3. But this is specifically mentioned in High Guard.

4. The crane is strong enough to lift fully loaded 32 and 65 ton containers and can couple to most types of pallets or creates.

5. Though, the thirty twoer seems to have been dropped.

6. There's no indication as to whether we can decrease or increase loading capacity on the crane.

7. Also, I would think that coordinating infrastructure and transportation modes, such as modular cutters, maglev railways, and so on, have this/these standards.

8. If they are sixty five tonnes, you might want to design smallcraft to transport them.

9. Even with the modular cutter, assuming you use a cradle, the container would be below thirty tonnes.
Spaceships: Designator

1. Difference between a lander and a dropship?

2. Controlled crash versus barely controlled crash.

3. Basically, it would be the speed and maybe, the angle of approach.

4. With a dropship, you might want to get to the ground as quickly as possible, for whatever reason.

5. Or, more likely, this is more an involuntary effect of the configuration of designed configuration, whether hull or engineering.

6. Craft, pod and capsule implies something smaller than ship.

7. You also have descent and landing, each implying a somewhat gentle descend.

8. Glider, a very long descend.

9. Transport, transporter, and shuttle seem rather vanilla.