Jul 282015

One of the last, if not the last, chapters in my Nuclear Pulse Propulsion book will be on NPP in popular culture. Mostly, of course, this means nuclear pulse spacecraft in science fiction… short stories, novels, TV, movies. These vehicles will get layout diagrams just like the non-fiction concepts.

With designs that are complex or difficult to really work out – which covers just about all fictional designs – I’ve found that it is a whole lot easier to build the vehicle as a 3D CAD model and then convert that into a 2D diagram. A bonus of doing it this way is that perspective views are also possible. So because why not, here are some of the fictional NPP’s that will appear in the book, along with the current status list for NPP diagrams (green means the diagram is done, yellow means it’s in progress, red means I haven’t started or haven’t gone beyond preliminary scribble). Some of the fictional designs, such as the “Orion Shall Rise” and the Tycho were drawn in 2D right from the get-go. Currently being pieced together is the Archangel Michael. It is a bit different from the usual depiction in a number of ways, most obvious being the straight shock absorbers. I understand the reasoning behind those designs that use angled and pivoting shocks to allow the pusher “dome” to swing with respect to the rest of the ship… but I still don’t agree that that’s a good engineering solution. Once you get the dome swinging, getting it to *stop* is going to be a friggen nightmare, especially if the ship remains under thrust. The dynamics of a spring system like this with that many degrees of freedom would be massively complex, never mind the actual mechanics. Oh well. Anyway, my “Michael” is still far from finished. The interior is only roughly sketched out, armament is currently rough and incomplete and secondary payloads need a lot of work.

In the final book, these fictional designs will get not only orthogonal views, but also to greater or lesser degrees “rationalization.” Some designs I can’t honestly make any real sense of, and thus they’ll get the bare bones. Some I can dream up a fair bit of (essentially fan fiction) explanation for, so they’ll get further detail work.

2d Sci-Fi-Model

 Posted by at 11:03 am
  • palpcaso

    The third and fourth from the top look really cool. Michael, Daedalus and Messiah are the only ones I recognize.

  • Jandanagger Laterobinson

    I’d have to go find the book to check, but I don’t think the Orbiters mounted on “Michael” had the external tank. Could be wrong – it’s been a while

  • Jim R.

    Looks great. Can’t wait to get the book…

  • Uxi

    The book is on my must purchase. I am definitely interested in what we would do with a hypothetical Orion TODAY. I remember pondering the development of the Michael-style design with VentureStar’s replacing the shuttle orbiter’s then what a hypothetical follow on the Venture-star might look like.

    Future mother/capital-ships that wouldn’t need to be streamlined for their own atmospheric entry at all (and be quite large) but have dedicated daughter craft to include VentureStar descendants as well as larger ships that had NPP of their own as well as ramjet and perhaps chemical boosters for certain situations….

    Then weaponry…

  • Vaughn Patania

    Definitely a book I’m anxiously awaiting. Looks good Scott!

  • Bibidiboop
  • djolds1

    There are also the five generations of pulsedrive warships in the third draka novel – including some extensive chapters based in a third generation warship. The physics as described is a bit off for actual NPP, but not horribly.

    • Scottlowther

      Worth mentioning, but not illustrating… as memory serves almost no design description was given.

      • djolds1

        Mass was given. Propulsion about how the plate could be sprayed with either H2O or H2 reactant, as the third generation designs didn’t use magnetic vectoring in the plate. Dadealus style beam compression design but similar to minimag orion in using fissionable pellets, that alone will say a lot about the design of the propulsion stage, which would be the lower third to half of the hull. Energy Weapons loadouts on the Great Khan class were more decentralized than the Alliance 3G variant, which can lead to some deductions about internal structure in the forward half. Gatling gun CIWS. At least two large subcraft hangers. Some mix and match using the weapons and armor writeups at atomic rockets such as types of modular armor used would flesh out the basic design, tho yes, it would be more notional than the Michael.

        I rather suspect Ken Burnside got the basics correct in his AV:T setting. The propulsion sections are somewhat universal depending on the plausible setting’s tech level, and then you can bolt on either spherical or cylindrical habitation/ cargo/ warfare sections to the front end depending on your desires. The habitation sections are going to have a generic… samenesss… no matter who is building your space warship, or where. And the shadow shield requirements of a relatively primitive NPP design likely push in favor of a cylindircal habitation/ warfare section. Especially as staff theory for Drakaverse pulsedrive warships was that the pusher plate is an armored nuclear sword coming bass-ackward at the enemy at high velocity and higher neutrons.