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What technologies are just on the horizon?

Posted by: skyhigh - Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:00 am
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What technologies are just on the horizon? 
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Post What technologies are just on the horizon?   Posted on: Sun Nov 07, 2004 3:00 am
What are the technologies that are needed to really make space travel accessible to the average person?

Here is a list of general categories:

Fuel - Are there any technologies on the horizon that dramatically increase the energy released per unit of fuel weight?

Engines - Any upcoming engines that would more efficiently use existing fuel? Thus increasing the energy per unit of fuel weight.

Materials - Perhaps the most important, is there talk of dramatic improvements in the weight/strength of materials that could be used for building a space ship. The documentary "Black Sky: The race for space" said that for every 1 pound removed from SpaceShipOne they could go an additional 100 feet.

Any others? Design structure? I'm not knowledgeable on this stuff, and am just wondering what are considered the next breakthroughs that are feasible and how dramatically would they improve the space industry.

Personally I think materials design in the most important. I've heard things like trying to harvest spider webs (including genetically modifying goats to pass web protein in their milk). I mean spider webs are supposed to be extremely strong for their weight. Is this just way out there or what are the realistic possibilities?


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 09, 2004 2:10 am
Well... this techhnology already exists... But costs quite a bit of money!, But within 10 years it could become inexpensive.

Carbon-Nanotubes
you could make spaceship that is 100 times the strength of steel, yet only one-sixth the weight, materials that heal itself. many possibilties


Super spaceships not far out
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id ... 2&set_id=1

read that article and you will know what im talking about

Ok so its not that close yet, but its a promising technology that will eventualy revoloutionize industries. including space industries.

So Nanotechnology will play a major role in spacecraft development sometime in the next 20 years for sure


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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 20, 2004 3:10 pm
Fully computerized spaceship without pilot, if there was no pilot onboard the SS1 or Virgingalactic spaceship you could have another paying passenger.
It´s possible, but I´m sure the failure rate is too high at the moment to risk that.
But prehaps in the future?

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Post    Posted on: Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:40 pm
Alessandro wrote:
Fully computerized spaceship without pilot, if there was no pilot onboard the SS1 or Virgingalactic spaceship you could have another paying passenger.
It´s possible, but I´m sure the failure rate is too high at the moment to risk that.
But prehaps in the future?


armadillo. all i can say. any "pilot" on their vehicle, even now, would be mainly for show. but ss1/2 would probably be almost impossible to fly automatically, due to the fundamentally different nature of the designs.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Nov 22, 2004 8:37 pm
You guys see this article on PhysOrg about yarn they've made that's created totally from carbon nanotubes? My guess is that with this technique we will be able to begin work on the space elevator now! :)


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:46 pm
TerraMrs wrote:
armadillo. all i can say. any "pilot" on their vehicle, even now, would be mainly for show. but ss1/2 would probably be almost impossible to fly automatically, due to the fundamentally different nature of the designs.


What makes you say SS1 (et al) could not be flown automatically? Sure, they haven't got a computer control system in there at the moment, but if they designed it into a descendent ship to manage the various controls that are manually driven currently, there's no reason why software couldn't be designed to control it? Or have I missed something obvious? :-)

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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 23, 2004 4:58 pm
i mean, there's no fundamental reason why it couldn't be, but i doubt the current autopilots, or even feasible autopilots that don't weigh too much, could do it. i remember hearing that burt had said melville was the best stick pilot he'd ever seen around the same time as the roll thing happened. no autopilot can come close to matching a good human pilot in situations like that, and probably won't be able to for a long time.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 24, 2004 8:54 am
There are two very large advantages to having a pilot.
1, The system is designed for soft failure from day one. The engineers think about survivability, which makes any failure more survivable for a payload.
2, A pilot can do things which a computer cant, like change a busted fuse. A pilot will keep working a problem long after the computer has quit. The majority of modern airliners could fly themselves without a pilot, but there are reasons they dont. For one the majoritory of passengers wouldnt feel comfortable with the idea. Secondly the pilot is invaluable as a systems monitor, and a "computer back up".
While some would argue tah these can be overcome, I think that they overlook the value of having a person who is independant of the onboard systems.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 26, 2004 4:45 pm
Well, the unmanned Soviet SpaceShuttle Buran did 2 orbits and landed fully automatically within 50cm of the middle of the runway during 1989, that´s 15 years ago!
Badly burnt, sure but it orbited and landed automatically....

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Post New Fuels   Posted on: Fri Dec 03, 2004 3:36 pm
OK,

Here's my thoughts on newly available fuel technologies:

http://technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Ficti ... ewsNum=196

What this article, as well as the assoicated links don't mention, is that other elements have the potential to be similarly compacted into a crystalline covalent structure - with even higher potential energy yields.

If they are successful in bringing these back to ambient temperature and pressure, we have probably just increased the ISP of solid fuel rockets by 10 or 12 orders of magnitude.

Then we will just have to wait for carbon nanotube structural engineering to mature a bit in order to manufacture airframes capable of withstanding the chamber pressures.

:twisted:

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Post    Posted on: Sun Dec 05, 2004 12:41 pm
Dreemer,

Thats an interesting idea. I have zero scientific background (pretty evident if you've read my posts) but I was wondering about something. What you posted sounds like something I thought of before. I made up a term for myself called "chemical compacting". I have no idea how this would be done. But I thought if you could "infuse" energy into the chemicals so that when the reaction occurs there is more energy released than would be evident by the weight. It sounds like your post about having certain chemical structures that would release more energywhen they break down. Not sure how this could be done practically but it sounds interesting.


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Post    Posted on: Fri Dec 31, 2004 7:54 pm
I found this here, you only need to fill in a few things to watch the video but here it is

http://www.realcastproductions.com/forbes/?source=1

Look down the page and you see

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity!

Please register to access our archived Webcast by clicking here


Click that link and then fill in about 5 lines and you can watch the Video and use the Slies immediatly. It explains nanotechnology and what promise it holds for the future of the world for EVERY industry. Incuding space travel..

If you want to understand more watch it.

( dont forget to Install the Active X. he talks to you about nanotechnology in a window media player and you have slides to go through


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