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Old 09-19-2020, 04:12 PM   #31
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [Space, Spaceships] Mars Semi-Cycler?

~$700M is not a lot for a spacecraft, and it has the advantage that is large enough to provide 0.5g, so you can provide transportation for normal unaugmented humans without difficulty, but it is your choice. However, the design that I gave would have a crew of 125 (20 control, 80 technicians, and 25 support), so the vast majority of the people would be NPCs. In that case, I would suggest that the PCs be officers, similar to Star Trek, though the majority of officers would be NPCs.

One of the issues with any realistic design is economics (which can be waived in the case of space opera). Now, one advantage of a cycler over a magsail design is that it is really cheap per ton moved (the cycler costs 1/15th as much per ton moved), though this is somewhat balanced by the fact that they take five times long to travel (and they require connections to magsails). I would say that they cost 50% to move cargo and passengers as a magsail design, so there is a place for them economically.
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Old 09-24-2020, 05:09 PM   #32
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Hamilton, Ont. CANADA
Default Re: [Space, Spaceships] Mars Semi-Cycler?

I suppose one of my problems is that I have trouble with the idea of a spacecraft as a commercial vessel. Commercial space travel (and by that I mean moving people for money) may be very close but as yet it is still a future thing. The first customers will probably be governments anyway, and if they see it making a profit they'll try to take it over and ruin it in the process. Government run missions are still feasible if you can convince the PTBs that it might be politically profitable for them, but then they will insist on having some input to the mission design process (which frankly scares me a bit). Now I be overreacting to having re-read "2001: A Space Odyssey" recently but until I see some serious advertisements for tickets on a spacecraft at affordable prices I will regard the whole topic as "maybe someday" speculation.

At the moment my spacecraft design is mission oriented with cost something to be considered by the bean counters back home. And in this case the "mission" is primarily political; settle Mars. The tools might not be absolutely efficient but they will (hopefully) look good to the people whose support the politicians want. Sorry to be such a downer, but we are living in a political time and politics seems to be all I hear about on the news any more. :(
Dalton “So let's pretend we can actually do this” Spence

Last edited by DaltonS; 09-24-2020 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 09-24-2020, 05:18 PM   #33
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: [Space, Spaceships] Mars Semi-Cycler?

Originally Posted by DaltonS View Post
I suppose one of my problems is that I have trouble with the idea of a spacecraft as a commercial vessel.
It's package delivery. If there's actually reason to move cargoes, and the number of people doing it is large enough that they don't all want to do vertical integration and have their own vessels, there's room for a business.

Now, it's a boring business that isn't terribly gameable (realistic spaceship crews have essentially zero ability to make decisions about their path), but that's a separate problem.
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Old 09-24-2020, 08:21 PM   #34
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [Space, Spaceships] Mars Semi-Cycler?

Yes, there is not a lot of choice with realistic settings, as delta-v is a harsh mistress. As for commercial applications, it is mostly orbital manufacturing, the mining of rare metals, orbital solar, and nitrogen harvesting. For example, it is probably going to be impossible to produce TL10+ physical technology without zero-g manufactoring and orbital vacuum manufacturing (the flaws caused by gravity and by laboratory vacuum manufacturing will likely limit terrestrial manufacturing to TL9-).
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