This is my quick and dirty microscale treatment of the United Space Corporation InterStellar Vehicle Polaris. She is the Flagship of the fleet of Polaris Class Ships
About this creation
Here is a nice view of the gaping maw of the ramscoop. Peering over the sides are the decelerating engines denoted by the orange bricks.
A view of the payload and habitat modules in the foreground. By placing this section at the tail of the ship, the shielding requirements dictated by the powerful CNO Cycle Fusion Drive is reduced. The blue bricks denote the nozzles of the ion nuclear electric secodary boosters.
The vessel would be 750 meters long if actually built and would have a mass of 100,000 metric tons, excluding the payload mass.
Anyone interesting in building their own interstellar ramjet is free to use my design.
I hope to soon build a larger microscale model of this vehicle that I hope will do justice to its complexity as I imagine it. Probably with lotsa struts, tanks, and other goodies.
A Little History:
This ship has an important role in the USC universe as the primary means of interstellar transport. I was inspired by Poul Anderson's Tau Zero and the story of the Leonora Christine and her 50 crewmembers. The good ship Polaris is a Bussard Ramjet, which gets around the mass ratio problem that makes interstellar travel prohibitive by using a powerful electromagnetic field to scoop up the interstellar hygrogen to fuel the inferno of her twin fusion drives. Each main engine is a complex system of magnetic coils and electron guns that uses a Carbon-Nitrogen-Oxygen cycle to sustain the fusion reaction that is focused out of either the retro or posigrade nozzle. There are also a system of thermocouples in the engines that produces power for the rest of the ship. She cannot go faster than or even reach the speed of light, but she can thrust as close to it as possible and use the time dilation effects to shorten the felt trip by the crew. The journey starts with the ship firing up her fusion reactors to provide electrrical power for the ion boosters. She accelerates at 0.1g(0.981m/s*s) for 48 days to a velocity of 4,000 km/sec. At this speed, the ramscoop becomes usable and the ship directs the fusion exhaust out of the posigrade nozzles. The ship will accelerate at 1.0g(9.81m/s*s) to the halfway point in her voyage. The 1.0g acceleration provides a tailward force equal to Earth gravity for the crew. At the halfway point, the crew straps in and the posigrade thrust is reduced to half as the retrograde thrust is increased to half, canceling the thrust and leaving the ship in a 0.0g situation. The habitat gymbals around 180 degrees to establish correct up/down orientaion. Then posigrade and retrograde thrust is respectively decreased and increased to full 1.0g deceleration. This system allows the ramscoop to remain oriented in the direction of travel so that the scoop fields continue to protect the ship from interstellar debris. Once the ship decelerates to 20,000 km/sec, the ramscoop shuts down and the fusion reactor goes back to powering the ion thrusters for the final braking to system orbit.