Behind the Creation Part 3

  • Spacecraft

The Multiplarity trilogy mentions several different spacecraft. It might be interesting to see the real-world examples that inspired these craft.

The first is, of course, the US Space Shuttle. While there are many good reasons why it never fully achieved its potential, the fundamental shape was the result of more than twenty-five years of airframe development. The Shuttle was such a good basic shape that the USSR copied it with their Buran Shuttle. A great deal has been written on both designs.

    • Project Black Horse

The US Air Force commissioned a study in 1993 to 1994 that was published as Spacecast 2020. So far, only about a third of it has been declassified., It makes for some fascinating reading. One of the requirements discussed was the ability to deliver warfighters or equipment anyplace on the globe within a couple of hours. The link is to an excerpt from Spacecast 2020 that describes a rocketplane.

From the document:

The description above is not science fiction. It is an entirely plausible outcome of the development program described in this paper. The initial reaction of many readers to the assertions above and the Black Horse TAV concept in general is that it is too good to be true, and that the claims are reminiscent of Shuttle or NASP promises. In fact, Black Horse is substantially different in concept from either of those systems, and the numbers and assertions in this paper are based on a preliminary but iterated design (i.e., several steps beyond a point design) performed by technically credible engineers.”

One of the primary designers involved in Project Black Horse was Mitchell Burnside Clapp. In 1995 he left military service and founded a company called Pioneer Rocketplane.

Mr. Clapp is a true renaissance man. Besides being a gifted engineer, he’s also a songwriter, musician, and currently is in charge of a DARPA program.

Mitchell Burnside Clapp is the founder of Pioneer Rocketplane, which begat Rocketplane Limited. He graduated from MIT in 1984 with two degrees in Aerospace Engineering, one in Physics, and another in Russian, establishing the trend of being constitutionally unable to limit himself to just one field of endeavor. During 1988 he attended the USAF Test Pilot School (pretty much forcing him to gafiate for a while), from where he graduated in that year to work on the YA-7F program, serve as an instructor on the school’s staff, and later as the Air Force’s flight test person on the DC-X program. It was this experience that led to his initial involvement with the community, and indirectly to his development of aerial propellant transfer technology to enable horizontal takeoff, horizontal landing spaceplanes.”

    • Falcon9

The world’s most powerful rocket!

    • Warp Explorer

Single-Stage-To-Orbit (SSTO) has been the dream of every rocket scientist since Wernher Von Braun. This fictional spacecraft is designed to carry four crew members on short, exploratory trips.

    • Warp Tug

Essentially a framework to hold a warp-drive system, three “Bricks”, and a team of transhumanists that will not suffer from the extreme conditions of deep space and warp-drive travel. The tug is designed to carry a Colonial Lander from an assembly point to another planet.

    • Colonial Lander Type I

Shaped like an early NASA Mercury capsule, this series of landers is much larger. They are designed to use a large ablative heat-shield, parachute, and final retro-rockets to soft-land a large number of colonists and their supplies. The landing area is cleared by a large fuel-air bomb prior to the main craft leaving orbit. Once down and unloaded, the lander becomes an emergency shelter, colonial meeting area, and eventually, a museum.

    • Colonial Lander Type II

This spacecraft borrows from the original lifting-body, space shuttle design. There are two primary differences. One is there is no landing gear. The hull is designed for water landings. The second difference is the biplane (dual wing) design. The upper wing serves as storage and deployment for skeeters and buzzards, while the lower wing carries batteries and outboard jet drive motors for seaborne travel.

Super-heating on reentry will not be a problem since these ships will use a magnetoshell system that has been described and tested by NASA.

The next post will deal with the tools used to create Multiplarity.

  • Multiplarity

The massive one hundred and seventy six thousand word trilogy is available here:

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  1. Pingback: Behind the Creation Part 4 – Post Orbital Library

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