Delta IV Heavy Lifter - Space Freighters In Fact And In Fiction
In the next few days, the new Boeing Delta IV Heavy rocket is expected to launch. The 23-story tall Heavy was developed under the USAF Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The vehicle's RS-68 core-stage engine is the first large, liquid-fueled rocket engine developed in the US in more than twenty years.
(From Delta IV on the pad)
The two strap-on booster cores will be jettisoned 100 seconds into the flight; the center core's RS-68 engine will burn for about 330 seconds, an increase of about 70 seconds over previous flights. This demonstration flight will carry an instrumented payload to measure vehicle performance.
(From Delta IV diagram)
The Delta IV Heavy rocket is capable of the following payloads and orbital targets:
Science fiction authors have written about ships of all sizes. In Methuselah's Children, written in 1941, Lazarus Long needed a ship capable of lifting 100,000 people into geosynchronous orbit. He went shopping on the Moon; lunar colonists needed much more in the way of goods than they produced, which led to a lot of ships making one-way trips:
- 48,000 pounds to low-Earth orbit (LEO) like the International Space Station
- 28,000 pounds to geosynchronous transfer orbit (used by communciation satellites)
- 22,000 pounds to Trans Lunar Injection routes to the moon
- 17,000 pounds to Mars-bound trajectories
Lazarus soon saw that just two ships had both the lift and the air space needed. One was a tanker and the better buy, but a mental calculation showed him that it lacked deck space, even including the floor space of the tanks, to accomodate eight thousand tons of passengers. The other was an older ship with cranky piston-type injection meters, but she was fitted for general merchandise and had enough deck space. Her payload was higher than necessary for the job, since passengers weigh little for the cubage they clutter - but that would make her lively, which might be critically important. (Read more about the space freighter.)
If you'd like to launch up to 28,000 pounds of real (not fictional!) payload into geosynchronous orbit today, you'd better take a look at the Delta IV Payload Planners Guide and updates page. If you would like to read about one of Robert Heinlein's smaller spacecraft, see the article on the Joy-Boat Junior, a sub-orbital craft very similar in function to SpaceShipOne - The First Strato-Yacht, which won the Ansari X-prize this fall.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/13/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'- Niven/Pournelle, 1974.
SKYLON Space Plane Gets Boost
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'- Robert Heinlein, 1951.
Europe's Cheops To Look For Habitable Planets
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'- Edmond Hamilton, 1936.
SpaceX Dragon First Private Craft To Dock With ISS
'Why, the ship wasn't a proper deep-space craft at all.'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'
Breakthrough In Manufacture Of Red Blood Cells
This blood's for you!
Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'
NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'
Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-
Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'
Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'
Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'
When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'
LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'
Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'
Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'
Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories