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Questions tagged [spaceships]

For questions involving implemented theory or technology for travelling through space. Consider also [space-travel]. See also the tag information (click "info") for more details on when this tag applies.

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79 votes
19 answers
17k views

Stealth in Space: How realistic is it?

This has been considered other places on the net, but I thought it would be good for the hard-science challenge, since it is often an example of the subtle difference between soft and hard science. ...
Christopher King's user avatar
45 votes
9 answers
16k views

Hard Sci-fi energy shields

I'm making a fairly hard Sci-Fi story, and I was wondering what the most scientifically plausible 'energy shield' (for ships and stations) would be. My world tries to remain true to basic physics, but ...
Oliver Long's user avatar
27 votes
2 answers
7k views

How large does a spacecraft need to be to be visible from the surface of the Earth at 400 km altitude?

If a spacecraft is in low earth orbit ~400 Kilometres above earth. How big does it need to be visible from earth with the human eye without telescopes, with enough of its details to clearly ...
Kami's user avatar
  • 447
144 votes
22 answers
20k views

Why are there no toilets on the starship 'Exciting Undertaking'?

DISCLAIMER: Any resemblance to other starships (living or dead) is purely coincidental. The starship 'Exciting Undertaking' is a brand new ship about to set off on a five and a bit year mission to ...
Joe Bloggs's user avatar
  • 66.4k
43 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is there a scientifically sound faster-than-light travel system for a spaceship?

Recurringly in Sci-Fi spaceships manage to make it to lightspeed and above. Is there a scientifically plausible explanation of such capacity? How does it impact the spaceship's design and its ...
Sheraff's user avatar
  • 12.5k
17 votes
13 answers
4k views

Science-based FTL drive

So I'm writing a story about a crew of scientists that explore the universe searching for a hidden knowledge in embed in the fabric of the space itself. More like to the Destiny's crew from Stargate ...
Lucas Leite's user avatar
52 votes
31 answers
22k views

What shape of a ship would be most effective in real life space combat?

What shape of ship would be optimized for space combat in the context of a future space navy? What advantages and disadvantages would the shape you have chosen have and why is it the best for future ...
Efialtes's user avatar
  • 3,236
32 votes
6 answers
8k views

Is it possible to orbit inside a gas giant?

When we talk about orbits we often imagine a ship or station orbiting a planet outside its atmosphere. Is it possible a ship could go into orbit inside its atmosphere (perhaps to hide from other ...
Liath's user avatar
  • 18.6k
65 votes
31 answers
26k views

How to solve the old 'gun on a spaceship' problem?

The problem: If somebody fires a (kinetic) gun on a spaceship, the bullet is likely to penetrate the hull and cause a host of problems. I want to incorporate spaceships and fighting on them and in ...
user avatar
37 votes
17 answers
24k views

What would a space fighter look like?

In Sci-fi, space fighters often look like exotic versions of fighter jets: wing shape is often different but the general shape is most of the time kept. However this seems unrealistic: the shape of ...
Maxime Lucas's user avatar
  • 2,093
29 votes
12 answers
7k views

Is there any way to truly hide a spaceship?

Space is two things: empty and (mostly) dark. This makes it really, really hard to hide in it, because to do anything in it, chances are, you'll be shining a big bright light through it. Even if you'...
neph's user avatar
  • 3,362
19 votes
5 answers
4k views

How to get rid of all the heat in my spaceship?

Spaceships are a peculiar thing. We've got them in all forms, sizes & colours. They run on nuclear fusion, creating loads of power driving all sorts of shenanigans... but they still generate lots ...
dot_Sp0T's user avatar
  • 12.1k
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Would the Hawking radiation from a small black hole make a feasible propulsion source?

I was wondering if a small black hole would make a feasible/possible propulsion source, and if so, how. Pros Black holes release Hawking radiation, would should be easy to direct in a certain ...
Christopher King's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
2k views

How would artificial gravity be achieved in space?

I am wondering, what mechanism would be needed to generate gravity on a space ship in interstellar space, like we see it on Star Trek or Star Wars? What is the most realistic hypothetical way what ...
IvayloV's user avatar
  • 103
52 votes
17 answers
4k views

What would be the most effective way of keeping a psychopath with a spaceship from wreaking severe havoc in a suicide crash?

Any spaceship over several hundred tons is an extremely dangerous weapon in the wrong hands, particularly if it's intended for reentry. Made mostly of metal and possibly shaped to be able to breach ...
neph's user avatar
  • 3,362
27 votes
23 answers
8k views

How can a pirate board a spaceship without teleportation?

Say we have a large cargo spaceship and a small pirate spaceship. The pirate ship is the only one with any sort of weaponry (lasers, missiles etc.), but for the pirates to safely retrieve the cargo, ...
Ben Hollier's user avatar
20 votes
22 answers
5k views

Simple non destructive spaceship liftoff engine

I like to have a concept of an engine that spaceships can use to lift off (and land) from/on a planet (regardless of it having an atmosphere or not) with the following constraints: It should be ...
Hothie's user avatar
  • 1,577
19 votes
3 answers
4k views

How large would a space ship need to be to feed 10,000 people?

I want to put 10,000 humans in a space ship and send them into space. They don't have a set destination - they're having to flee their homeworld, and they don't know what planet will take them in, so ...
rustbird's user avatar
  • 403
15 votes
3 answers
924 views

How to “set” the lightsail?

Suppose a starship is being powered by a lasers beamed first from the departure star, and then from the destination which is a moving base. The ship is moving in the regime of 10–30% of light speed. ...
JDługosz's user avatar
  • 69.5k
13 votes
21 answers
4k views

Probable criteria for Ramming to become popularized for Space Combat

The society that I am developing is reminiscent on Early Medieval Society, and I want a version of the cavalry charge (and the cavalry cycle) to exist in my universe as well. Essentially I want ...
knowads's user avatar
  • 2,210
8 votes
2 answers
3k views

Attenuation of a laser in space?

Given that a laser beam is made up of coherent light waves running in parallel in the same direction, and that space is not a complete vacuum (dust, radiation, electromagnetic forces etc.), what kind ...
Smoj's user avatar
  • 963
3 votes
5 answers
720 views

How Would Limited Space Travel Change Late Medieval/Early Renaissance-era Warfare?

In my book series, the various planets of the galaxy, give or take, generally have access to late medieval to early renaissance era technology in terms of warfare. That means full plate armor, siege ...
The Weasel Sagas's user avatar
-2 votes
4 answers
380 views

Why would a space-faring civilization use live crews and infantry? [closed]

The Qualian Star Empire has lasted for over 1,100 years (500 years ago it became the “Star Empire”). They have advanced technology rivaling the United Terran Federation in technological marvels; ...
DT Cooper's user avatar
  • 2,539
94 votes
14 answers
27k views

Would a submarine make a great spaceship?

I know a submarine would NOT make the greatest spaceship in the universe, but could it allow people inside to live in space? A submarine can resist pressure, can hold oxygen inside, and there is a ...
Tyrabel's user avatar
  • 2,996
37 votes
14 answers
8k views

How, if at all, can space battleships mitigate gun recoil?

I am making a game universe involving spaceships. While chewing through the implementation issues, I also keep making story and environment plans. Big battleships have big guns. However such guns ...
Tomáš Zato's user avatar
  • 2,347
32 votes
24 answers
5k views

Close Quarters Combat... In Space

A simple enough question, but one that Grimmsdottir and I agonized over. Basically, what would enable close-ranged fighting between space fleets/ships? We both agreed that having gargantuan ships ...
Feaurie Vladskovitz's user avatar
26 votes
14 answers
5k views

"Shields at 10% one more hit and..." What?

How do force field work in many sci fi fictional universes? I remembered the last time I checked the strength of the electromagnetic field a.k.a force field is proportional to the power output from ...
user6760's user avatar
  • 48k
14 votes
16 answers
5k views

Orienting a pilot inside a space fighter

My question stems from What would a space fighter look like? After reading through @dsollen's question can a human fighter pilot fully grasp 3 dimensional frictionless movement in space? I started ...
Aric's user avatar
  • 5,405
13 votes
3 answers
589 views

How far from the Sun could we detect an alien spacecraft similar to the Voyagers?

Suppose that there is an alien spacecraft travelling towards the Sun. This spacecraft is similar in design, size and power output to Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 as they were immediately after launch from ...
user's user avatar
  • 29k
9 votes
3 answers
3k views

How Powerful a Starship Coilgun Can We Make?

I've spent a good deal of time working through the mechanics of 'realistic' space combat, and figure that good old kinetic projectiles will probably still at least be part of the arsenal, if not the ...
FlyingLemmingSoup's user avatar
7 votes
5 answers
1k views

Powering the interplanetary trade ships of the 23rd-24th century

Let's just take antimatter off the table right now. As I've learned recently, it's hard to make, expensive as hell and even more volatile, and you can never get more energy out of it than you put into ...
Z.Schroeder's user avatar
  • 11.3k
7 votes
3 answers
434 views

killer mechanism/organism similar to rust and virus

I need a mechanism/organism similar to rust and virus, that will both impair the ship's components AND will kill crew, so the only thing left are a few lucky survivors on a crippled ship. Presumably ...
ken's user avatar
  • 489
6 votes
1 answer
530 views

What would a laser-powered interstellar cargo ship look like?

Blurb What would a ship with a 100 thousand tonne budged that needs to carry cryo-frozen cargo through 20 lightyears of interstellar space at 0.35C coasting velocity, using laser sails at both ends of ...
Sam Kitsune's user avatar
  • 1,994
6 votes
4 answers
9k views

Circular space station - what's the rotational speed to achieve earth-like gravity?

Imagine there is a space station shaped like a cylinder. The cylinder spins on its axis, in order to create artificial gravity through centripetal force. My question: How fast would the space ...
Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
778 views

How hot can I make the insides of my spaceship before damaging crew too much?

Spaceships are a peculiar thing; as are the things inside them. Humans... Humids... Humies - the colloquial term for those crazy enough to make a living by crewing these hulks of metal. A special ...
dot_Sp0T's user avatar
  • 12.1k
62 votes
38 answers
17k views

Why would technology dictate graphical interfaces to be rare on spaceships?

This question differs from that question in that the other question is asking about a change in history while this question is looking for a change in the future. In a near future setting I am ...
dot_Sp0T's user avatar
  • 12.1k
30 votes
19 answers
8k views

What measures to put in place to reduce airlock being used for murder?

Consider a futuristic world where space travel and colonisation of the solar system's planets is an everyday reality. In space vessels, the airlocks are used quite often to execute people. It's fairly ...
rluks's user avatar
  • 1,354
30 votes
7 answers
3k views

Feasibility of anti-matter as a fuel

Now, taking out the cost to produce/collect it, assume somehow we perfected a formula or find a natural source (because that is currently very prohibitive), how feasible would be to use antimatter as ...
bowlturner's user avatar
  • 49.2k
29 votes
14 answers
6k views

Can realistic planetary invasion have any meaningful strategy?

The sea is used as an analogy in space travel, and sometimes it works well. Ships sail on long journeys, between distant lands, across a hostile medium. But these analogies tend to break down when it ...
Stumbler's user avatar
  • 547
23 votes
11 answers
3k views

What is the most effective way to brake from interstellar speeds?

In my story, I have a slower-than-light starship (traveling at 0.6 $c$) going to Alpha Centauri A. There are several planets around the star. The target planet is a terrestrial, habitable world ...
MedwedianPresident2's user avatar
19 votes
4 answers
1k views

movement of space animals

Animals on planets are so 20th century - let's herd us some space animals! In this story I have the need to move a herd of pesky space animals. They like Suns for their juicy solar energy and ...
Nahshon paz's user avatar
  • 6,078
18 votes
7 answers
2k views

How to Mimimize Air Loss in Space-Based Cities?

I've hit a wall in my tale of humans attempting to escape the Singularity or a fate worse than death by running off into the depths of space. And I only have myself and my accursed hard sci-fi ...
Serban Tanasa's user avatar
17 votes
11 answers
5k views

How would a blind intelligent species navigate space?

I am writing about my own fictional cluster of solar systems where one planet had many environmental circumstances that lead to the majority of the planets species evolving to be blind and rely on ...
Venik Hue's user avatar
  • 1,212
16 votes
3 answers
2k views

Would gravity be constant inside a Bernal sphere?

Suppose one constructed a Bernal sphere, similar in design to that described in this article and this article at the National Space Society. If the sphere was simply rotated on a single axis, would ...
Village's user avatar
  • 1,189
15 votes
15 answers
7k views

Deep Space bomber - Best bomb against Interstellar warship that is kilometers long in size

We have two opposing forces: the Democrats and the Imperialists. Each one can field an armada of ships numbering millions in their fleets, supported by trillions- to a quadrillion person strong super ...
mico villena's user avatar
  • 2,498
14 votes
5 answers
736 views

Preconditions for 'Classical' Space Fighters and Carriers

Let's say that I, like many other worldbuilders before me, want to have 'classical' (space-operatic) space fighters and carriers in a space setting. However, I don't want to do it by fiat and ...
vicky_molokh's user avatar
  • 1,811
14 votes
6 answers
2k views

What are some major architectural designs in spaceships for aquatic beings

Like this question I'm wondering about design considerations for an intelligent aquatic species that wants to travel into space. Would they have to try and create special body suits to keep moisture ...
bowlturner's user avatar
  • 49.2k
13 votes
6 answers
3k views

How to create 'visible' space-laser-like weapons

Goal: Just imaging a Star Wars X-Wing fight, and you've got the idea. However, I want to know whether something like that is possible without tons of metaphysical hand-waiving and 'just because'. ...
subrunner's user avatar
  • 4,572
13 votes
6 answers
6k views

Over what distance would space combat between spacecraft probably occur given physical realities?

Many science fiction books invoke a naval combat paradigm when describing space combat: sensors and battleships with batteries, carriers with fighter-bombers, etc., usually over a distance of ...
bzm3r's user avatar
  • 557
11 votes
12 answers
3k views

What do stranded astronauts eat in space

As a background, a team of seven astronauts embark on a journey through space. Their aim is to find the source of radio waves that have been attributed to communication from a distant planet (...
RS123xy's user avatar
  • 119