Tough SF

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Lasers, Mirrors and Star Pyramids

Lasers can hit targets at extreme ranges, at the fastest speed possible. They are ideal weapons for space warfare. 
However, everyone knows that lasers bounce off mirrors... does this make lasers useless?

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Permanent and Perfect Stealth in Space

Despite the commonly accepted truth in Hard Science Fiction, spacecraft are able to evade detection in space in many circumstances. The Hydrogen Steamer was a design that used liquid hydrogen evaporative cooling to keep a non-reflective surface practically invisible. 
However, it was vulnerable to RADAR and had extremely poor manoeuverability, as it was meant to demonstrate how long it could stay cool. This time, we will design a more advanced, functional and performant stealth spacecraft.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Piracy in Space is Possible Part II: Armed Merchants and Pirate Patrols

There's more to piracy than just attacking a target and running away afterwards. 
Put yourself in the shoes of a pirate, a merchant or the authorities. What would you do?

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...