Actually I was chuckling about that thread in GD about canceling manned space exploration and what not.
So for shits and giggles, a bunch of Billionaires for a hoax decide to spend real money on a spaceship. Fully complete , bout the size of a Burke destroyer. Get someone to design it based on what really could be built, except for the powerplant. Order actual steel, have fab shops make according to plans those things that would go into the ship.
So basically we are talking about a fully built ship, thats ground bound and wont fly short of a nuke detonating under it, even if it got up to orbit, has no space drive.
The bill would probably come to a trillion bucks , for a rectally extracted price tag, again real money.
How soon before the government comes by wondering exactly is going on.
The problem with that is that there are enough billionaires who would WANT it to fly, and if they’re going to drop that kind of money on it, they are going to want some performance. Really, that’s who’s driving stuff like the X-Prize today.
The government? They’ll probably be interested in where the money’s going, and if it looks like some kind of vessel they’ll want the appropriate permits before it goes anywhere.
If it’s a big piece of junk that sits around and does nothing, they’ll just consider it an asset for whoever owns it and tax it accordingly.
The moment you lay the plans down. At least I’d hope any competent gov’t would be aware of the theoretical launch/propulsion paradigm known as Nuclear Pulse Propulsion, aka an Orion drive.
The way it works is that you, literally, detonate a series of nukes under the payload.
If someone starts building a purported spaceship without a visible and obvious launch/propulsion method, I would hope someone would be concerned about the potential for someone to plan to use NPP to get the silly thing off the ground. Which would be rather hard luck for anyone downwind of the launch site.
I think it would be a lot more amusing if half the world’s billionaires built an actual space-shop that they planned to go and play among the stars themselves, and made it affordable by utilising the Wisdom of the Commons: offering fame and fortune and free rides on the first take-off to the entire internet sci-fi community to design the craft online.
You’d said there would be no power plant and no engines. What we’re talking about here is fundamentally just a big spaceship looking play house. They’d need a building permit and all the appropriate wiring and plumbing codes done, and possibly the permission of the local town council. As long as they don’t have to buy anything weird for it, such as a million gallons of nitrogen tetroxide rocket fuel, the federal government probably won’t see much to get involved with.
For an independent science fiction film I was involved with, we built a prop spaceship about the size of a Piper Cub. It had wings and looked like a small jet. It was built from electrical conduit and political signs.
It sat on my friends ranch for about a year, when a couple of military choppers showed up, with guys hanging out the door using video cameras. They circled a couple of times and flew away…
It’s a trifle naive to think this would work unless the ship were been designed from the start for this sort of propulsion (which would be readily apparent). The result of detonating nuclear bombs under most large objects is typically not controlled space flight.
Oh, I’m aware of, in general, how much shielding and shock absorbing mass would be required for a working NPP vessel. I’m just worried what enthusiasts might do without thinking about consequences. The level of competence enthusiasts display can range from superlative to appalling, and often can combine those two extremes in mind-boggling amalgamations. Whether the vessel would work doesn’t much affect the consequences for the people around the launch site.
I agree it’s a very low-level threat.
I just think that it would be worth the time for the local gov’t to take a look and make sure that the threat is minute.
ETA: I’m just thinking of some of my shipmates from the Navy’s nuclear power program. All brains and no common sense - it’s not just a phrase, it’s a way of life for some of us.
See, this is what I was thinking when I wrote that. With your buddys ranch and spaceship, I would imagine that they might just have wanted a few shots of the prop ship, nothing more serious than that.
Now , we got a bunch of recon sats in orbit that belong to different people. So someone in Moscow or Bejing sees what appears to be a big honkin structure that looks like it might be a space ship. Now Putin gets on the horn to Obama and nonchalantly asks , whats new dude.
How many denials from the whitehouse is it going to be, before Putin starts to think he is being played and obviously the Americans have a faster than light drive, and maybe anti gravity to get that thing off the ground from Iowa , into space.
I like to think there’s software that constantly scours the ground looking for signature shapes where they should not be… The satellite spotted our little jet, parked pretty close to the Mexican border BTW, and dispatched a crew to “check it out”. When they flew by, my friend was out there in his pasture with a big straw hat. He said he waved like a goofball at them when on camera.
nuclear pulse propulsion could never happen on earth, it would have to be built and launched in orbit… what needs to be done, is further advancement and research of anti matter. and then in 50 years, we could use the massive amounts of energy created from a anti matter/matter reaction to power a spacecraft… apparently some has already been made, but very very low quanitys of it, less then enough to power a lightbulb