OTHER SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

Sci-Fi Spaceship Aerodynamics

POSTED BY: CLJOHNSTON108
UPDATED: Friday, July 2, 2010 04:25
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Friday, April 27, 2007 2:53 PM

CLJOHNSTON108



I was looking on the Net for info on Sci-Fi spaceship aerodynamics, because while it's common knowledge that the Eagle Transporter from Space: 1999 could never have entered a planet's atmosphere, I've only heard one such complaint about the Firefly design (even though it's got obvious parasitic drag issues).

http://www.fantastic-plastic.com/EAGLE%20ONE%20PAGE.htm
Quote:

ABOUT THE DESIGN

The Eagle Transporter was the workhorse vehicle of "Space: 1999's" Moonbase Alpha. Featuring a purely utilitarian, non-aerodynamic form designed to function in the hard vacuum of space, the Eagle could serve as a personnel transporter, cargo carrier, flying infirmary or mobile laboratory, all depending on the customizable service module snapped into its central position.

Heavily influenced by the designs of "2001: A Space Odyssey" and built by special effects whiz Brian Johnson (who had worked -- uncredited -- on that 1968 Stanley Kubrick epic), the Eagle was a credible lunar utility vehicle. But although it was clearly designed to work in a vacuum and the low gravity of the Moon, Eagles were often shown flying through planetary atmospheres and taking off from high gravity worlds -- something only possible through the magic of special effects.




Discovery Channel - Sci Fi Zone - Inspirations - Spaceships
http://www.discoverychannel.co.uk/sci-files/inspirations/spaceships/in
dex.shtml




Quote:

Nevertheless, Kubrick’s Discovery is more realistic than Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, a needlessly aerodynamic spaceship since vessels only need to be aerodynamic when they enter the earth’s atmosphere, which Enterprise never does.

Now, this irks me a bit, because the original TOS Enterprise was the first Sci-Fi vessel design to take into account the fact that there's NO need for aerodynamics on a non-atmospheric vehicle!



Whoever wrote that page was obviously referring to the Enterprise-D, which was "needlessly aerodynamic"!



Here's what happens when the Enterprise-A is exposed to hypersonic airflow!

Pulsed Laser Imaging @ UQ
http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/lp/lasdiag/enterp.php


As I said at the top, I've only heard one complaint about the Firefly design, and that comes from Andrew Probert, designer of the Enterprise-D (although, like me, he loves everything else about the show!)...
http://probertdesigns.com/Folder_DESIGN/Questions_ANSWERED.html
Quote:

WHAT'S YOUR THINKING ON SCIENCE FICTION HARDWARE DESIGN?

Frankly, I'm tired of unbelievable space ships. Look at those Vipers from BSG, with their square, flat-front wings that are too short to support the extend nose. And that nose intake? What does it feed,... the pilot's feet? And don't even get me started on the 'Flying Sub'! 'Dark Star' was made for a total budget of $60,000. It had a nice exterior shape but it was a comedy. People laughed when they saw the cockpit because it was UNbelievable. The rest of the rooms were rectangular, not addressing the exterior shape at all.

As much as I love the series 'Firefly', do I think that Serenity is a good design? Not especially, but it is a "fun" design. Then again, studying an interior diagram of the ship, I very much like the way the rooms & other spaces are all laid out. What I really like about the Firefly series, however, is the people and the way they interact along with the stories they play out. The one visual thing that I love about Serenity interior is it's dining-kitchen-common area and the funny wonderful little personal touches provided by Kaylee, her flower-vines painted on the walls and the way she dressed up the entry to her quarters. As visually interesting as I think the ship is, overall, I don't believe that silly whirly engine generates the power a Firefly would need, I don't believe the way they use a ladder/hatch to enter & exit their quarters, and there's no way in Hell that that Firefly shape could ever make it through an atmosphere in one unmelted piece.

That was my major problem with the girder-truss design Eagle "space" ships on the TV series: "Space: 1999",... the way they landed and took off from full atmosphered planets. How? Everyone's good wishes? In Alien, the Nostromo cockpit was fairly believable but the exterior drove me crazy because of all those antenna sticking out all over, which would have been burned off before landing. And, while the "Aliens" ship didn't land, their "drop ship" would have ripped it's wings off, the moment they unwrapped... and during that process, they would have sent the thing into a fatal spin,... with it's one wing coming out at a time like they did.

Now, while I'm a big (original) Star Wars fan, the square-front wings on the X-Wing fighters not being true airfoils made me wonder how they flew, but then again, there were those 'Y'-wings,... making me wonder what got them in and out of an atmosphere? And then there's Lucas's pod racers with their insanely huge engines... where the Hell does he think they would store all the FUEL to feed those things???

Step back, now, and compare all of that to "2001: A Space Odyssey",... TOTALLY believable in it's hardware. The Pan-Am passenger shuttle actually looked like an atmosphere flyer. While the wings seemed a bit undersized, to me, they had an airfoil shape contributing to a graceful overall shape,... not a bunch of box-shapes all stuck together. The Aries Moon Transport looked like it should have, from it's 'reaction control nozzles' through it's common window seating area, presuming that sleeping quarters would be available on another deck. The lunar surface transport, along with every other piece of human-occupied hardware, is still the benchmark of optimistic technology.

Therefore, in my opinion, what provides good Science Fiction is believability. If you can believe what you're seeing could really do what it's supposed to, then you're on your way. Consistency is right behind that,... all held together with interesting characters and great stories.

What I hope I'm known for is providing concepts which are fairly believable. My thinking is that if I can approach a design as a real product, then the results should feel real, because I do take all the necessary elements into account. I consider the command/control spaces, their electronics, life support systems, supplies, food, sleep, waist, hygiene, rest, recreation, lighting, entry/exit, emergency-exiting. And that doesn't even cover weapons or auxiliary craft like shuttles & their storage-fuel-supplies-servicing, etc. And if all this is for a film, then other matters come into focus like how people interact with each other, their head levels, the lighting, and, especially, the geography of the space, so audiences will quickly understand what direction they're looking, or what room they're in.

If I think of it as real, the audience will think of it as real.



EDIT: Kinda funny how Probert says, "And don't even get me started on the 'Flying Sub'!" despite it's uncanny resemblance to the Enterprise-D's Engineering Hull!




This is a great site!
Atomic Rocket: Advanced Spacecraft Design
http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/rocket3f.html

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Friday, April 27, 2007 3:58 PM

ADAMWANKENOBI


But Serenity isn't the space shuttle. It doesn't simply "fall" into the atmosphere. It keeps itself at a reasonable decent rate by using its thrusters. Therefore, it wouldn't "melt".

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Saturday, April 28, 2007 4:50 AM

CLJOHNSTON108


That's another thing: I'm amazed nobody ever asks, "Where are those jet engines getting air in the vacuum of space?"

I know they're jet/rocket hybrids, but you'd think somebody would ask about it!

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Saturday, April 28, 2007 5:26 AM

REGINAROADIE


I wonder what that guy would have to say about the TARDIS? I mean, on the inside it's a huge, fully functioning ship that has an organic slant to it that on the inside looks slightly aerodynamic, but on the outside it's just a rectangular cube. Now, the police box itself isn't the actual design, it's just a malfunctioning cloaking device that The Doctor never got around to fixing.

But when you do actually see it in space, it's always rotating and hovering. It looks as if it has it's own propulsion system. Maybe the TARDIS doesn't really count since we've never seen what it really looks like so we can't see if it is truly fit for space travel.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007 5:37 AM

NBZ


Serenity could also potentially benefit from the golf ball effect.

A golf ball relies on itself NOT being aerodynamic to go further. The turbulence helps it instead opf hindering it.

Besides it has been mentioned that Serenity is aided and controlled by the thrusters. It does not just drop like a stone.

Would it work? probably not, but not for the reasons mentioned.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007 10:59 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


For the most part, very few of the spaceships I see in sci-fi make a whole lot of sense to me, including Firefly. What I like about Firefly, though, is the way the crew lives on board the Serenity, which I think is, I don’t want to say realistic, but plausible (except for the gravity thing). Kaylee’s little designs all over the ship, Wash’s dinosaurs, the messy quarters, the art work and old sofa, all generate the image of a spaceship that is lived in. Unlike the Enterprise, which is uninterestingly sterile. That’s even a criticism I have for the original series, which I genuinely find far superior to its predecessors.

As for the aerodynamics of scifi spaceships? Forget it. Few of them would ever survive reentry into an earth dense atmosphere. Firefly class spaceships have some intriguing design characteristics though. The large flat bottom surface of the cargo hold makes for an interesting ablative shield. All modern reentry vehicles, from the space shuttle to ballistic missile payloads, use large ablative surface to slow decent into the atmosphere. What this means is that for the purposes of reentry, you really don’t want an aerodynamic or streamline shape. With an aerodynamics shape, you’ll never slow down enough to prevent break up or impact, neither is good. The problem now becomes the extremities. The nose of a Firefly would be under tremendous pressure, and those side thrusters, I’m not sure they would survive at all. They’re pointed in the wrong direction to be effective jets. A jet doesn’t work like that. So at least Serenity has one character feature for reentry, and based on some of the scenes, its clear this may have actually been intended by the creators.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Saturday, April 28, 2007 4:25 PM

CLJOHNSTON108


Excellent, Finn!
Exactly the response I was lookin' for!

I just wanted to make sure I wasn't the only Browncoat to have these issues on his mind.

And as for ablative surfaces, I rather liked how the Reavers' Trans-U flopped on its back to present the streamlined aeroshell into the airstream!

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Sunday, April 29, 2007 1:20 AM

CRUITHNE3753


Actually, the Shuttle's tiles aren't ablative, they soak up the heat which is radiated away after landing. Ablative heat shields remove heat by being worn away in the process of re-entry, and are used only once. Old-school style capsules such as Soyuz and Shenzhou use ablative shields and are used only once. The Orion capsule currently in development will have a detachable heat shield replaced for each flight.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007 5:26 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Cruithne3753:
Actually, the Shuttle's tiles aren't ablative, they soak up the heat which is radiated away after landing. Ablative heat shields remove heat by being worn away in the process of re-entry, and are used only once. Old-school style capsules such as Soyuz and Shenzhou use ablative shields and are used only once. The Orion capsule currently in development will have a detachable heat shield replaced for each flight.

That’s true. My use of ablative was a very loose term. The general term is TPS, and some form of non-ablating heat resistant material, like in the case of the space shuttle, would be the preferred surface.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Sunday, April 29, 2007 5:36 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by cljohnston108:
And as for ablative surfaces, I rather liked how the Reavers' Trans-U flopped on its back to present the streamlined aeroshell into the airstream!

Yeah, it seems like the cinematographers created the images in Firefly/Serenity with the idea of modern flight dynamics in mind. They clearly understood the notion, if not the science, of reentry inviscid shock layer affects, although they also took many, many liberties.

For instance the final space battle in Serenity, in which dozens of very large ships are entering an unrealistically high atmosphere. I know this was probably done because some higher ups wanted the whole “sound in space” nonsense, and no one could think of any other way to do it. Evidently no attention was given to the shock layer that would have been created by that many huge ships entering the atmosphere at god only knows how fast which might have destroyed the entire Alliance fleet and ended the battle right there.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Monday, April 30, 2007 3:44 AM

CLJOHNSTON108


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
...entering an unrealistically high atmosphere.



Anyone who can use the word "inviscid" in a sentence is way smarter than me, but don't you think the "ion cloud" resided somewhere above what we generally consider the "atmosphere"?



Although the Alliance fleet didn't seem to be orbiting in the strictest sense, as it hovered directly over Mr. Universe's complex, and the Reaver fleet's attack vector was directly perpendicular to the planet's surface...
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Monday, April 30, 2007 11:33 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by cljohnston108:
Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
...entering an unrealistically high atmosphere.



Anyone who can use the word "inviscid" in a sentence is way smarter than me, but don't you think the "ion cloud" resided somewhere above what we generally consider the "atmosphere"?

How does a dense shell of gas remained fixed in orbit above a planet? It seems that gravity would be pulling it down while internal pressure would be forcing it out, and it would either dissipate or fall into the atmosphere. I can’t imagine it remaining fixed for any length of time.

The earth’s ionosphere is not separate from the atmosphere as a whole. It is actually the upper most expanse of the atmosphere, sitting on top of the mesopause, but for all intents and purposes related to human biology it is essentially a vacuum. It is too thin for audible sound to propagate, it cannot be breathed and an unprotected human would quickly die of exposure and decompression. But even this thin atmosphere can be quite resistant to fast moving objects. Most meteors burn up in the ionosphere.

Compares this to what we saw in Serenity. This ion cloud was amazingly dense for sound to propagate so well, the impact of so many fast moving ships should have generated an enormous shock layer, but even more vexing is how this very dense atmosphere remained fixed above the true atmosphere, when it seems that if the ionosphere of a planet is so dense the surface pressure would need to be crushingly high to support it.

I’m not an astronomer and perhaps some of our astronomer browncoats could comment, but it seems fairly unrealistic to me.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Monday, April 30, 2007 1:29 PM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


Well Fin, may I call you Fin?, anyhow, as you say, it is an Ion cloud, which means that the cloud is electrically charged. Now, consider for a moment, just hypothetically, if the equipment that Mr. Universe has is all based on electromagnetic radiation, could it possibly be the cause for the Ion Cloud?

Or maybe the Ion cloud was artificially put there by Mr. Universe to act as a more effective radio antenna ((Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere.)) Of course, there is still the issue of density as compared to propogation of sound, and this density decelerating a ship ((Fast enough to rattle it apart)). Though, the loudest part of that scene is the music, so possibly we are just underestimating the power of the sounds emitted. For example, the guns with the blue tracers I think were rapid fire railguns ((Of course this means huge amounts of power and seperate capacitor banks for the same rails to facilitate rapid fire)) and they would be very loud. I've built a tiny ((12v)) railgun on my own time and it is fairly loud, and as I said, it is EXTREMELY small. So, possibly, the atmosphere of the Ion Cloud is less dense than we would suspect.

Anyhow, just some possibilities.

"I'm not going to say Serenity is the greatest SciFi movie ever; oh wait yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

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Monday, April 30, 2007 4:14 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
Well Fin, may I call you Fin?, anyhow, as you say, it is an Ion cloud, which means that the cloud is electrically charged. Now, consider for a moment, just hypothetically, if the equipment that Mr. Universe has is all based on electromagnetic radiation, could it possibly be the cause for the Ion Cloud?

I don’t know what Mr. Universe’s technology is based on, but it does seem quite likely that electromagnetic radiation plays a part in it. All modern communication technology is based on the propagation of electromagnetic radiation. However that alone is not sufficient to be the cause of any ion cloud, not given real scientific understanding.
Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
Or maybe the Ion cloud was artificially put there by Mr. Universe to act as a more effective radio antenna ((Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere.)) Of course, there is still the issue of density as compared to propogation of sound, and this density decelerating a ship ((Fast enough to rattle it apart)). Though, the loudest part of that scene is the music, so possibly we are just underestimating the power of the sounds emitted. For example, the guns with the blue tracers I think were rapid fire railguns ((Of course this means huge amounts of power and seperate capacitor banks for the same rails to facilitate rapid fire)) and they would be very loud. I've built a tiny ((12v)) railgun on my own time and it is fairly loud, and as I said, it is EXTREMELY small. So, possibly, the atmosphere of the Ion Cloud is less dense than we would suspect.

I suppose that’s as good a science fiction explanation as any, but if you’re looking for me to confirm the realistic plausibility of such an explanation, I just don’t see it.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Monday, April 30, 2007 6:25 PM

JPSTARGAZER


Quote:

Originally posted by cljohnston108:


Here's what happens when the Enterprise-A is exposed to hypersonic airflow!

Pulsed Laser Imaging @ UQ
http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/lp/lasdiag/enterp.php




See, I knew I took Gas Dynamics for a reason. Is it sad that I completely understood what they were doing in this test?

However, thinking about Serenity a little more, I think I might now understand why she started spinning out of control in the BDM after the EMP. If the engines stall, you have no doubt supersonic flow impacting the non-rotating turbines, creating what's called a hammer shock. We're talking really high downstream pressures and a compression wave moving REALLY fast opposite the direction of flow. This could effectively spin any ship out of control. Apparently the first F-15's wing came clear off because of this.

Just a warning kids, engineering ruins you forever!



"All I got is a red guitar, three chords, and the truth...the rest is up to you"
--Bono

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Thursday, May 3, 2007 8:52 AM

BROWNCOATSANDINISTA


Well Fin, I don't think we'll ever be able to actually test our theories beyond thought experiments due to the fact that its a movie. But, yeah, it is a good sci-fiy sorta explanation.

JPStargazer, that seems to be as good an explanation as any. I thought it was due to the one engine being EMP'd and the other still producing full thrust. Or due to the grav-boot ((I'm assuming that's really what's keeping Serenity in the air)) losing power if its run by the jet. I don't know. Your explanation seems somewhat more sound.

Now here's my question: How do the shuttles fly? Those piddly little wings wouldn't generate nearly enough lift for that sort of vehicle. And if they did, the wing loading would be so high that maneuverability would be comparable to a giant boat in an oil spill. So what do you think? Are they lifting body? Are they anti-gravity?

"I'm not going to say Serenity is the greatest SciFi movie ever; oh wait yes I am." - Orson Scott Card

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Friday, May 4, 2007 9:46 AM

CLJOHNSTON108


Quote:

Originally posted by BrowncoatSandinista:
Are they lifting body?


That'd be my guess.


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Sunday, May 6, 2007 4:49 PM

ADAMWANKENOBI


I suppose anti-gravity allows Serenity's shuttles to work that way.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2007 8:30 PM

JPSTARGAZER


Well from that picture, it is clear that the wings have flaps and there is a rudder, so I'm guessing that's how it maneuvers in atmosphere. I'd be willing to bet that the round-on-top, flat-on-bottom shape also lends lift, but I don't know how one would control an airfoil of that geometry...oh well.



"All I got is a red guitar, three chords, and the truth...the rest is up to you"
--Bono

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Thursday, May 10, 2007 12:11 PM

FIZZIX


(On the subject of the TARDIS)
I believe that those were wierd, gray, metallic boxes when not Chamelion-Circuit-ing?

'sides, it's not like we'd understand advanced science, is it? We can't explain how it's dimensionally trancendental above the fact that the inside is a seperate dimension. The entrance to that dimension is the problem, and the fact that we are... eh... not sure about other dimensions at the time. (We being science. Lawlz)

Anywayz, until we get a resident Time Lord... or... you know, even a chat with one, (which may take a while, where I am -- America, lawlz) we never know.

/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\/|\
May not be smart, and it may not please you, but you're definitely gonna see what I have to say.

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Monday, June 21, 2010 10:09 AM

ANTHONYT

Freedom is Important because People are Important


Hello,

I think there is strong evidence to suggest that the 'gravity drive' in the Firefly verse does more than provide gravity aboard ships.

I think that some of the effects of gravity upon a ship can be negated somehow, perhaps allowing for much slower/softer re-entries than otherwise possible.

Otherwise there's no way to reconcile the ability of these ships to navigate an atmosphere without becoming a fireball.

--Anthony



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Monday, June 21, 2010 11:03 AM

BRIGLAD


Quote:

Originally posted by AnthonyT:
Hello,

I think there is strong evidence to suggest that the 'gravity drive' in the Firefly verse does more than provide gravity aboard ships.

I think that some of the effects of gravity upon a ship can be negated somehow, perhaps allowing for much slower/softer re-entries than otherwise possible.

Otherwise there's no way to reconcile the ability of these ships to navigate an atmosphere without becoming a fireball







That follows my thinking as well. the Gravity drive reduces the effective mass of the ship. In effect, Making it lighter than it is.

I have the Serenity Blueprint set and it hints that the the Mass of a firefly is a bit more than a loaded 747 (and about the same size)

And Kaylee's comment about Serenity having more then a few ceramic parts in her during Jaynestown fits with the ship having some sort of ceramic heat shielding.

Also using thrust from the engines during reentry may keep the speeds out of the high heat hypersonic realm and just in the lower heat supersonic range. Sort of like the "Shuttlecock" mode that Rutan's Spaceship One used to keep reentry speeds slow. Instead of drag, Serenity uses thrust.

The wing mounted turbines I think work as mixed cycle scramjets. Drawing in air in an atmosphere to increase thrust (At a lower fuel penalty) and as the ship gets higher, and the air thins, switch over to a single mode Fusion thruster.

When Serenity goes for "hard burn" the massive release of particles from the aft end is probably (in my theory)the charged particle stream of the Radion Core engine that provides most of the ship's thrust in vacuum.

Since Anti-gravity is a given in the firefly 'Verse (Floaty islands anyone? Or the Hover mule)

Anti-grav surely gets the Shuttles into the air. And once moving at a good clip, the wings need not be very large. For example. Look at the wings on a cruise missile. very small in comparison to the rest of the craft. Big wings are needed for takeoff. Small for cruise. Therefore if you use anti-grav for takeoff, small wings would be fine for the rest of the flight. As for extending them in space (as seen in Out of Gas) There's probably control jets at the tips giving more "leverage" in the roll axis.

Being a lifting body helps too.

Just my thoughts. Your opinions and mileage may vary.


Brian


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Saturday, June 26, 2010 12:11 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


I don't think I understand the conundrum assumed in this thread.
Space Shuttle has a delta form merely to have wings to glide down to a landing strip in a fairly controlled fashion. This makes the re-entry heat shielding a greater problem to overcome, not less.
Previously, small capsules merely fell over the ocean and hopefully splash-landed - I'm not sure if the chutes would have helped them if they perchanced upon a remote island for pancake landing.
Both of these were free-fall, without braking thrust. They both exited the earth's gravity field with monsterous external fuel tanks, subsequently dumped.
Firefly exits atmo under her own power, power she retains aboard all the time, not jettisoned. if adequate power to exit atmo, then surely adequate power to slowly enter atmo, even less needed.
The dual-purpose of Firefly having a large flat bottom to 1. provide large transport capacity and 2. for large heat sheilding surface seems reasonable. The primary purpose of heat shielding is to increase the speed of re-entry, such that it takes less time than re-entry under tremendous thrust.
Or am I missing something?

all matters of aerodynamics are for intra-atmo travel, not inter-atmo transition.


Quote:



I think there is strong evidence to suggest that the 'gravity drive' in the Firefly verse does more than provide gravity aboard ships.

I think that some of the effects of gravity upon a ship can be negated somehow,


The tech part of the new story in Firefly: Still Flying with the KayLee & Wash story expands upon this idea of using grav technology.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010 3:20 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by AnthonyT:
Otherwise there's no way to reconcile the ability of these ships to navigate an atmosphere without becoming a fireball.


Heat from re-entry is due to friction with the atmosphere. Spacecraft use all their fuel/propellant reaching orbit, so they need the atmospheric drag to slow down for reentry. There's a lot of friction at orbital velocities.

Serenity doesn't have that problem. It can slow itself and reenter the atmosphere at a much lower velocity, less friction, less heat. No need for gravity drives.

--------------------------------------------------

If you play a Microsoft CD backwards you can hear demonic voices. The scary part is that if you play it forwards it installs Windows.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010 2:51 PM

ANTHONYT

Freedom is Important because People are Important


"Serenity doesn't have that problem. It can slow itself and reenter the atmosphere at a much lower velocity, less friction, less heat."

Hello,

It can, but it doesn't. We've seen the re-entry, and it is not a process where the ship or engines are turned and firing away to slow their descent. Without any active slowing measure, the ship will fall towards the planet, hit that naughty re-entry speed, and start up the hot seat.

Thus, something else is happening. If they are slowing down, it's not through the function of any reaction drive on the ship. It must be via the only invisible drive ever mentioned. The gravity drive.

--Anthony



Due to the use of Naomi 3.3.2 Beta web filtering, the following people may need to private-message me if they wish to contact me: Auraptor, Kaneman, Piratenews, Wulfenstar. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010 4:27 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:

Serenity doesn't have that problem. It can slow itself and reenter the atmosphere at a much lower velocity, less friction, less heat. No need for gravity drives.


The Definitive Word on this IMO.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Thursday, July 1, 2010 4:52 PM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by AnthonyT:
It can, but it doesn't. We've seen the re-entry, and it is not a process where the ship or engines are turned and firing away to slow their descent.

Yes it is. Serenity. Opening scene (just before the port buffer panel takes flight). We see the thrusters ignite just as it hits atmo (I woulda' fired them a bit before, personally, but I'm not Wash).

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010 4:58 PM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Cybersnark:
(I woulda' fired them a bit before, personally, but I'm not Wash).


Clearly, you're not interested in an "interesting" landing.


The laughing Chrisisall


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Thursday, July 1, 2010 9:57 PM

ANTHONYT

Freedom is Important because People are Important


Hello,

Just broke out the DVD and re-watched the opening. Can't complain about having to watch it again, so I'm satisfied to be wrong.

The engines do turn to ignite as the ship starts to get glowy.

--Anthony



Due to the use of Naomi 3.3.2 Beta web filtering, the following people may need to private-message me if they wish to contact me: Auraptor, Kaneman, Piratenews, Wulfenstar. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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Friday, July 2, 2010 4:25 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
Quote:

Originally posted by Cybersnark:
(I woulda' fired them a bit before, personally, but I'm not Wash).

Clearly, you're not interested in an "interesting" landing.


OTOH, my ships don't tend to fall apart around me.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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