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RE: Transports (was: Tugs & Firing Arcs)

From: "Bell, Brian K" <Brian_Bell@d...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 08:35:45 -0500
Subject: RE: Transports (was: Tugs & Firing Arcs)

My take: 
  Using tugs for FTL transport should present no problem. Just extend
FTL field around the containers.
  Using tugs for STL (slower than light) creates additional
difficulties. If
you use a flexible connector, you are stuck with the whiplash effect or
trouble of multiple engine modules and coordinating them (alignment,
etc.). If you use a solid connection, it is probably no longer a tug. If
use a tractor beam, you would still need to connect the containers that
are hauling together (unless you have a GREAT number of tractor beams).
Again, it would be more economical to connect the containers to a spine
rather than spend all that energy over the time it takes to get
If you could cluster the containers it would be better than using a long
spine (less torque).

Another question:
  Having looked at the models for transport in the GZG Starship line, I
noticed that most of the freighters were not streamlined. How do they
the containers down to the planet? Not a small task the way atmospheric
entry rules are written for non-streamlined craft. Also, I do not think
most transports would want to pay the additional cost for atmospheric
streamlining (ouch!). 
  On large, well established worlds, it should not present a problem.
probably have Space stations that would warehouse the containers until
transport to the surface could be arranged. Perhaps some worlds have
beanstalks to transport goods to the surface.
  The small colonies (Jim-Bob's Landing) present a greater problem
(Think of
the colony in the movie Aliens). Does every colony have the ability to
support a space craft to reach orbit? Maybe (but it sounds expensive). 
If they do, it would need to be streamlined. The cargo would need to be
moved to the shuttle. This could be in smaller containers or by placing
entire cargo container in a bay internal to the shuttle (as the cargo
containers are not streamlined). The shuttle would then take them to the
surface. If the whole container was transported to the surface, its
would need to be sorted and re-packed. Then sent back to the transport
orbit (2 trips for the shuttle).
If the colonists cannot support a shuttle, the transport would need to
able to get to the surface. 
Dropping the containers from orbit would be too great of a waste (and
be hard on the merchandise). And, most likely, transports would load the
containers with supplies for more than one destination or have smaller

Thoughts, ideas?

Brian Bell 

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