BuildTheEnterprise Open Letter to Billionaires

Dear Billionaires Everywhere,

As the years pass perhaps you are beginning to feel it’s time to start giving away some of your money. Well, when considering all of your options in these matters of philanthropy – I have an option for you to consider. Please read the ideas on the BuildTheEnterprise (BTE) website and consider contributing money to help create a BTE R&D Company.

The BTE Company’s charter will be to conduct research to investigate gigawatt-class spaceships with 1g artificial gravity and also to explore low-cost launch systems. The research would target a whole new class of large interplanetary spacecraft which current research does not touch. And the template for this ship will take the form of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. Human space exploration is all about inspiring people – and with that in mind Earth’s first super-ship that takes us into space in a big way should inspire us too. Just like we expect our skyscrapers on the Earth to inspire us, our large spaceships that serve as both spaceships and space-stations should inspire us. Nothing would get people on Earth more excited about human space exploration than the idea that the USS Enterprise – this ship from our fictional dreams of the future – might one day be built in low Earth orbit.

When it comes to space exploration, what is sorely needed is a research company that will focus on what’s truly required for developing the broad-scale infrastructure for getting humans into space in a big way. A goal of this research includes finding a way to build large permanent bases on Mars and the moon, with 1g artificial gravity on these bases, along with robust shielding against dangerous radiation from space. Earth-like living conditions are needed on these bases if they are going to truly evolve into long term settlements. We are destined to be in space on a grand scale. It’s time to start thinking outside the box about how we get humans established beyond Earth.

The BTE Company will sponsor research into radically new low-cost launch systems, for example an airship-to-orbit system or the EmDrive or who knows what else. Anything will be considered as long as it’s within the realm of real science. The people of Earth need a means to move large masses of hardware cheaply into space, while generating low pollution, if human space exploration is ever really going to take off. Furthermore, VASIMR-like gigawatt-class electric propulsion engines, and the accompanying high-energy power systems to run them, are needed for developing the large interplanetary spaceships with 1g artificial gravity that can facilitate carrying large quantities of components and supplies as well as people to Mars and the moon for establishing substantial and sustainable bases. Bases may even include a floating city in the sky above Venus.

To assure the BTE Company research is based on sound engineering, two models of the gigawatt-class ship will be researched for going on interplanetary space missions. One will take the form of the iconic USS Enterprise, and the other will be a ship that is 100% functional. As outputs from the company research, this approach will provide two examples of future ships, one emphasizing the inspirational role of the ship and the other showing a ship meant to be purely utilitarian as might be appropriate for a freight transport vessel.

As funding permits, the BTE Company will build a 1/200th scale prototype of the Gen1 Enterprise in low Earth orbit to test out all of the technologies required for building a future full scale Gen1 Enterprise.

Personally, I have a good job working as an engineer – but I would leave my job tomorrow if I could instead run the BTE Company. That would be a dream job for me, and I would travel the world seeking out top experts to help kick off and then accelerate whole new areas of research such as for: (1) ultra low-cost and low-polluting launch systems, (2) the components for gigawatt-class interplanetary spaceships using electric propulsion and 1g artificial gravity, (3) breakthrough high energy density power systems for spacecraft, and (4) bases on Mars and the moon with 1g artificial gravity that include full radiation shielding.

Thus, when you consider your options regarding where to donate money, I hope that one option you will consider will be donating to help create the BTE Company!

Best Regards,
BTE-Dan
btedan@buildtheenterprise.org

Posted in BTE Venture/Company, Gen1 Enterprise, Private Spacecraft | 28 Comments

Fictional Ships Approaching the Gen1 Enterprise in Size

Some people have said that the Gen1 Enterprise is too big, but compared to the latest fictional ships the sizes are not all that different. See here for a discussion on why the Gen1 ship is so big.

Compare Gen1 Enterprise to Fictional Ships

Compare Gen1 Enterprise to Fictional Ships

 

Posted in Gen1 Enterprise, Star Trek | 23 Comments

Lifting the Entire Gen1 Enterprise to Orbit with the EmDrive

If the EmDrive is real, the challenge of developing a low-cost launch system for getting things from Earth to orbit will be solved. And also – the ships going to orbit can be really big. In fact, a ship as big as the Gen1 Enterprise could be gradually moved upward into the thin upper atmosphere, and then electric propulsion engines like the VASIMR can slowly accelerate the ship until orbital velocity is reached. This reminds me of the airship-to-orbit concept promoted by John Powell. John’s idea is to float airship platforms far up in the atmosphere and then use electric propulsion engines to get ships launched from there up to orbital speed.

As I noted in a recent post, to an observer the EmDrive will appear to work as a kind of anti-gravity device. You can imagine a Gen1 Enterprise slowing ascending straight upward with no propellant being ejected. Once the big ship is 100km or so high the VASIMR-like engines can kick on and get the ship going parallel to the Earth’s surface.

It can work in reverse too. The Enterprise could slow down and then Earth’s gravity will begin to pull it downward. The EmDrives can be kicked on to enable a slow, controlled descent. The normal problem with todays’ high speed re-entries of dealing with the tremendous heat due to the ship’s hull hitting the air at high speeds is eliminated. Going to space and back will thus get a lot safer.

And if the Enterprise could be completely built on Earth and then moved to orbit – this would give a huge cost savings! It’s really expensive today in terms of $/kg to move any hardware into orbit and to do construction work in orbit. Being able to build the Enterprise on Earth would be incredibly efficient. Workers could simply drive to work every day. Materials for the ship could be brought in on trucks. It starts to remind you of this.

The EmDrive could be the key enabling technology to make the Gen1 Enterprise practical to build. Yep – perhaps we can Build the Enterprise by using breakthrough technologies to lower its overall cost.

Posted in EmDrive Engine, Engines, Gen1 Enterprise, Heavy Lifters | 36 Comments