[ExI] Power satellites

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat May 2 17:05:32 UTC 2009


> ...On Behalf Of spike
> > ...until you finally make it to 
> orbit velocity and altitude, but with perhaps a dozen stages 
> and only a kg of payload.  
> There is no absolute physical limit, but there are practical 
> limits.  As Eugen put it, the rocket equation is a cruel 
> thing.  Yes this is a big planet for chemical rockets.
> spike

Interesting aside: had we a much larger gravity well, we would have waited
until better miniaturization technology was available to go into space.
Consider that modern rocketry was developed to deliver bombs, and the really
cool multistage stuff was for intercontinental nuke delivery.  The
miniaturization of nukes and re-entry bodies after the first ICBM was
dramatic.  The first ICBMs carried only one warhead, but the modern ones
carry a dozen or more.  Even that understates in a way because we now
realize the most potent nukes are not the traditional mushroom cloud stuff
but rather an electromagnetic pulse bomb which wipes out electronics while
pretty much leaving the flora and fauna unharmed, for the time being.  The
EMPs are smaller still.  

Look at how much miniaturization has impacted us by comparing your laptop,
or for that matter your phone, to the HP3000 I used in my misspent youth.

Chemical rockets may even be sufficient for interstellar travel, assuming we
get nanotechnology going in order to reduce the payload to a few grams
class.  Then our Atlas class rockets could accelerate that few grams to...
let me calculate... 300 km per second-ish, a milli-c, get us to the
neighbors' place in a little over 4000 years.  Of course upon arrival it
would likely find another earth-originated spacecraft already there, which
was launched on a smaller rocket with a muuuch smaller payload than a few



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