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 -
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.
Used Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Will Fly Again
'the overstrained meters made the smaller craft skittish as a young horse...' - Robert Heinlein
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.
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.
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'
Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'
NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'
Subsurface Martian Ice Slabs Piece Of Cake For Miners
'One shy little fellow with bloodshot eyes of old-time drillman stood up. 'I'm an ice miner,' he said.'
LG Rollable Version Of Niven's Poster TV
'A television that unrolled like a poster.'
Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.
Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.
Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.
Earth-1 Transformer Gundam Car
Is it a Gundam? Or maybe a Transformer.
Self-Driving Domino's Pizza Car
Yes, but can it negotiate entry at your Burbclave?
I Want Massive Space Freighters!
Ah, the space freighters of old.
When Will The Feds Ban Human Drivers?
'The first laws came out forcing the old machines off the highways...'
Our World Formed In A Bubble?
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'
Will You Live To See EM Pulse Scattering By Ships Nearing Light Speed?
'...half a million kilometers away, the Stardrive went on.'
Jabil Integrated Textile Heart Monitoring
'Della's first present was an imipolex sweatshirt called a heartshirt…'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories