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Re: [OFFICIAL] Freighters/Merchants question

From: Scott Siebold <gamers@a...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 2004 01:13:56 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: [OFFICIAL] Freighters/Merchants question

> Actually the sphere is the best shape for surface
> area to volume considerations.  If a cargo module
> will never have to sit on the ground, then there is
> no physical reason at all that they all shouldn't be
> spheres.  The only advantage blocky containers might
> have is that if the final packaging is a crate,
> which is blocky, then they would fit more
> efficiently in a blocky container.
> 
So the spheres will have to be unloaded and reloaded
in space. Also each time a ship arrives it will have
to be disassembled and reassembled before it can
depart. Most of the spheres will not be accessible
in space if repairs are needed.

> The most efficient packing of spheres is hexagonal
> closest packing (basically a pyramid of oranges,
> although the mathematical proof of this apparently
> takes 300 pages) so a cargo ship may actually be a
> command module, a bunch of spheres in a pyramid-like
> shape, then an engine/fuel module at the base.  Each
> cargo module does double duty as both storage and
> structure.

So what you are saying is that your spheres will not
only have to be strong enough to support themselves
but also be strong enough to be used as a ships
structure. If one of the spheres structurally fails
then engine goes one way the crew compartment goes
another and the spheres go every way. With no repair
in transit letís hope that the manufacturer of the
shipping spheres did not cut corners to save money.

Letís try a short story:

The container ship Edward James which has space for
up to 32 containers (four rows of eight containers
formed around a central hub) is receiving a warning
signal from container 2-3 (second row third container)
of a leak (each canister has sensors to monitor it's
status and power is supplied to the canister to be
used as needed). One of the crew goes out and while
checking the container (all containers can be
accessed)
finds meteorite damage which he is able to patch
(in any case damage to the container will not put the
ship at risk).

As soon as the ship gets to it's destination four
canisters are detached while three are picked up.
Some of the canisters on ship are moved to rebalance
the load and in few hours the ship is on it's way.

Two of the canisters are loaded one each on a laulan
(launcher and lander) for delivery to planet while
the other two are stored for transshipment. The
laulan are powered gliders on the way down while more
powerful engines are mounted to get them back into
Orbit. After the laulan lands the canisters are taken
off the laulan and loaded on a ground transport to be
taken to their final destination where the canisters
will be opened and unloaded.

Scott

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