Carnival of Space 556

1. Universe Today – Launching Rockets from Balloons is About to be a Thing, But We Need a Better Name than “Rockoons”

2. Universe Today – Astronomers Just Found 72 Stellar Explosions, but Don’t Know What’s Causing Them

3. Universe Today – NASA Begins Construction of its New Quiet Supersonic Plane

4. Universe Today – NASA Simulates Their Orion Abort System. Now That Would be a Crazy Ride

5. The Hill – Two asteroid missions will help shape the economy of the 21st century

6. Chandra X-Ray Space Telescope Blog – Perseus’s Cosmic Dance Helps Reveal the Secrets of Galaxy Cluster Astrophysics

7. Nextbigfuture – SpaceX BFR main body tool has been built

Elon Musk has released a photo on Instgram of the SpaceX main body tool.

Elon Musk described the SpaceX BFR in a talk last September. It will be 106 meters tall by 9 meters wide. It will be able to launch 150 tons and will be 100% reusable and will be able to rapidly relaunch.

The SpaceX BFR will use Raptor engines. The engine will operate at 25 MPa (250 bar; 3,600 psi) of chamber pressure and achieve 30 MPa (300 bar; 4,400 psi) in later iterations. The engine will be designed with an extreme focus on reliability for any single engine. The top part of the BFR called the spaceship can land with either of two engines.

8. Nextbigfuture – Getting to the outer solar system 15X faster with missions over 40 times larger

By beaming hundreds of Megawatts to next-generation ion drive it will be 15 times faster

The system could propel a 12-year mission to 500 AU and could send missions to Pluto/Charon in 3.6 years and Jupiter missions in roughly a year.

The laser power is beamed to provide energy for the superior next generation ion drive. This means the ion drive can be pointed in different directions to move in any direction and to slow down. This means the systems could maintain their position with large telescopes at the gravitational lens points and shift to move around the sun to observe different stars and exoplanets on the other side.

Voyager has taken almost 41 years to reach 141 AU and will take about 150 years to reach 500 AU

New Horizon will take 13 years to reach 43 AU and will take 160 years to reach 500 AU.

Over 1000 times more power and over forty times more mission mass

Beaming megawatts of power enables vastly larger and more capable missions. Currently by bringing bulky nuclear power the missions have to be smaller and are power limited and size limited.

Having megawatts beamed to the mission with lasers enables 80-ton missions to Jupiter versus less than two tons for the Galileo mission. The Galileo mission had less than a kilowatt of power.

9. Nextbigfuture – What would solar system travel be like with scaled Mach effect propellantless propulsion?

James Woodward and the Space Studies Institute has a Phase 2 NASA Innovative Advanced funded study. They are looking at the implementation of an innovative thrust producing technology for use in NASA missions involving in space main propulsion.

They currently believe they can scale the device to one newton of propulsion and then create large arrays of the devices for more thrust. The constant thrust could last for years or decades by using a nuclear power source.

For Mach effect propellantless propulsion it will be better to go to an array of smaller devices.

They expect 1-5 years to get to 1-5 millinewtons of thrust. (Using better materials and other near-term design improvements.)
Tajmar has replicated the 2 micronewton level and will scale to 12 micronewtons with a larger set of discs.
In 5-10 years, have an array of several devices to get to 10-20 millinewtons.
10-20 years, increase thrust to one newton per device.
Test arrays of a hundred one newton devices
MEGA space propulsion would be 1000+ of one newtons devices.

The Brachistochrone orbit travel time columns in the following table describe the trip times within the solar system.

1% acceleration is the fourth column with 0.01G of constant acceleration. This could be 6000 Newtons of thrust with a MEGA drive but a 60-ton spaceship. Anywhere in the solar system out to Pluto within 11 months.

The next column with 0.1G of acceleration could be 60,000 Newtons of thrust and a 60-ton spaceship. Anywhere in the solar system out to Pluto within 4 months.

The next column with 1G of acceleration could be 600,000 Newtons of thrust and a 60-ton spaceship. Anywhere in the solar system out to Pluto within 35 days.

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