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August 10, 2011
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Tsiolkovsky by SMPritchard Tsiolkovsky by SMPritchard
The Tsiolkovsky, the first manned interstellar spacecraft ever built, accelerates away from the Solar System with a crew of 100 frozen colonists. Using pulsed fusion propulsion, it powers it's way up to nearly 20% the speed of light. At such tremendous speeds, the diffuse gas and dust of the interstellar medium becomes a hail of deadly projectiles. To protect the the ship from the occasional collision with dust grains, a massive triple-layer impact shield absorbs the majority of impacts. By the time the Tsiolkovsky reaches it's target, the shield will be blasted and scarred with impact craters and radiation damage.

After it has achieved coasting velocity, the main engine is jettisoned. Once it is time to decelerate, a magnetic sail, a loop of superconducting wire many hundreds of kilometers wide is deployed, acting as a parachute by braking against it's destination's stellar wind. A smaller fusion-pulse engine then slows it into a capture orbit.
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:iconlocurus:
Locurus Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014
I wouldn't have taken the sails.

One, they're hilariously underpowered. You'll only be close to your target sun for so long, and when you're whizzing by at 0.2c, you'll need all the time you can get to brake. There's a big chance your solar sail is so underpowered you'll only have slowed down an insignificant portion once you've passed that star.

Second, a solar sail is extremely massive. While your fusion engine will have a thrust-to-mass of a few hundreds up into the thousands, you'll be lucky to design a solar sail that you can get a ratio of 0.005 out of. For the mass of a solar sail large enough to slow a craft from 0.2 c to a stellar orbit in one pass, you could easily enough fit a bigger engine for lower travel times, a refinery to get your helium-3 or tritium for the return flight, and a Martini bar.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The Tsiolkovsky does not have a solar sail.
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:iconlocurus:
Locurus Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014
Magnetic sail. I got my terms mixed up. Anyhow, they have similar thrust-to-weight ratios and both suffer from loss of efficiency the further you get from a star.

I've got no clue what effects a speed of 0.2 c has on the power of a magnetic sail, or whether the relative speeds of the incoming particles are even beneficial, but I'd still go for my second fusion engine.
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:iconhelge129:
Helge129 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The advantage of magnetic sails is that you can use them as interstellar parachutes, saving a LOT of fuel for the decelleration phase.
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:iconrobby-robert:
Robby-Robert Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014
I think once the ship has attained terminal velocity, jettisoning the engines would be pointless, other than easing the deceleration process into the target solar system. If someone else made this point, sorry, I got tired of reading!
Beautiful, conjectural image! Love the design, and the rendering is awesome. Most cgi images seem to be nothing more than computer cartoons, but this is cinema quality!
Robert.
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:iconminus269:
minus269 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very nice work - worth appreciating both for the quality of the images and the creativity involved in the model making. My quibbles are the same I tend to have around all space colonization concepts: population size and technology sustainability at the destination. 100 is pretty small. By the time you assume losses associated with cryo, accumulated radiation damage, etc., perhaps you have 75 colonists available to reproduce...? Consider the 50/500 rule re: genetic viability of a population. With embryos and other approached, keep in mind that the tech at the end if the trip is limited to what the ship can carry and the crew can maintain. Highly likely to be a pretty harsh life for the first generations and a comparatively low-tech society for a long time.
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:iconghostbirdofprey:
GhostBirdofPrey Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013
and just why would you want to lose the main drive?
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:iconbobafetthotmail:
bobafetthotmail Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
mainly because the main drive is too wimpy to carry enough fuel to be used to decelerate as well and is worthless without fuel. Carrying a refinery to generate fuel on destination is too heavy and unreliable as well as we aren't talking of simple dumb hydrogen but deutherium or helium-3 (complex machinery won't last so much time as the voyage anyway so).

Btw, it's not that fusion is "wimpy" it's that interstellar voyages require mindboggingly ridicolous amounts of power even for a fly-by of the closest star in our neighbourhood (like say Project Daedalus).
So yeah. Either that or we sit here forever.
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:iconghostbirdofprey:
GhostBirdofPrey Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
Well I wasn't thinking no-return trip when I posted that.

Obviously using the drive to decelerate is inefficient, better to use magnetic sails for entering a system and aerobraking/aerocapture for entering orbit whenever possible.
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:iconbobafetthotmail:
bobafetthotmail Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2013
It's more like using the all the fuel you can possibly carry in the acceleration phase allows to have the shortest possible travel times.
Depending on how good magsails (or electrostatic sails) turn out to be, they may or may not be a good idea to decelerate. For now it's too early to know. (as for fusion engines for that matter)
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
To shed parasitic mass.
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:icondjomally:
djomally Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013
No return trip i take it? or is another sent ahead?
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep. No return trip. The mission is one-way.
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:icondjomally:
djomally Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013
Hmmm, so basically a seed ship.
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:iconhelge129:
Helge129 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sleeper Ship would be the proper term then I think.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, it does have a payload of 100 frozen colonists, but it would probably also carry some frozen embryos. So yes, sort of.
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:iconboomerang098:
Boomerang098 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
It is pretty realistic, besides the ISV Venture Star and many others.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! And I thought the ISV Venture Star was actually a fairly realistic ship, personally.
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:iconboomerang098:
Boomerang098 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012
Yea the ISV Venture star, hopefully NASA will make something like the ISV Venture Star or the Tsiolkovsky in the future. I'd kill to go to another planet. But can you tell me what planet or star system the Tsiolkovsky is going to?
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
None in particular, at least for this image. Maybe one of the Alpha Centauri stars?
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:iconboomerang098:
Boomerang098 Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
What year do you think a ship like this will be possible?
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Maybe 300-500 years from now?
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:iconboomerang098:
Boomerang098 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012
Wow; I almost thought it would be earlier. Space travel would defiantly be sped up with a Ftl drive. But sadly I don't believe negative mass exists.
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:iconkasterborous:
Kasterborous Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2011
Ha - nice quote, I've been meaning to get around to the Mass Effect games for some time.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You should. They're fantastic. The story is really engrossing and there's tons of sidequests and little things in the the world (newscasts, advertisments, etc) that add to the fiction and make it seem so real. Apart from the physics of the mass effect technology and the humanoid aliens that can speak english, it comes off very realistic.
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:iconkasterborous:
Kasterborous Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011
The ultimate one-way flight. Question re: jettisoning the fusion engine... is it really wise to let go of it at 0.2c? That's one hell of a kinetic missile you're loosing onto an unsuspecting cosmos there.
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:iconsmpritchard:
SMPritchard Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, space is big. The chances if it hitting something are very, very small indeed. Of course, set something in motion in any direction, and eventually it'll run into SOMETHING. :P

I'm reminded of a fantastic quote from Mass Effect 2 from a gunnery sergeant addressing some marines about kinetic weapons on spacecraft. "Once you fire this hunk of metal, it keeps going 'till it hits something! That can be a ship, or the planet behind that ship! It might go off into deep space and hit somebody else in 10,000 years! If you pull the trigger on this, you are ruining someone's day, somewhere and sometime!"
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:iconeagle1division:
Eagle1Division Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Buahahaha! This just made me think of something hilarious!
Remember the "Wow" signal? If you haven't heard of it - look it up.
If you have:
Maybe it's because in another galaxy, trillions of years ago, some long-extinct spacefaring civilization decided to jettison propellant tanks, engines, or something, at ~.9c, and it finally hit something :XD:

Hah, our legacy billions of years from now... Some alien civilization detects a massive, unknown impact on an uninhabited planet in range of their telescopes.

Perhaps now we'll know the explanation of we randomly see a blurry streak and an impact at relativistic speeds on some solar body?

Personally, an unidentified blur would be interesting enough for me. And after passing by 3 different civilizations, us and 2 alien civilizations, in 2 galaxies, it finally smashed into a remote star somewhere else, some-odd hundred billion years after it's original creators jettisoned it, all the while... It's a piece of trash, long thrown off and forgotten by it's original creators, who are now all long-dead :XD:

This is what'll happen, thanks to this design :XD: . You'll cause 2 or 3 civilizations to realize there's life out there. Aside from the 4 other spacefaring ones who are used to this kind of thing happening :XD:
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