First of all, my designs are based on three important points:
1 FTL is possible, however there are some severe constraints, which I will come back to.
2. Artificial gravity (AG) is also possible, but it too has constraints, that roughly follow the laws of physics.
3 Inertial damping, or rather camouflaging mass is also possible, and it is neccesary for both FTL and AG.
My ships are all powered by anti matter reactors, all moving parts from doors, to engines, to guns are all operated by linear electromagnetic engines/magnetic levitation.
there are no hydraulics anywhere.
Now, my ships all have something called a central gravity deck. this is essentially a deck in the center of the ship that pull everything inward, so that you walk on either side of it.
My reason for this is 1: gravity works inward like a sphere, if one side is an attractive plane it is only natural that the other side is too. The reason for choosing a plate rather than a sphere is because of the size requirements to get a flat surface.
This gravity deck also enables the crew to experience direction in space which is otherwise totally feature and direction less. It also removes any blind spots for the crew as both sides of the ship is up.
The crossection is symmetrical and through this deck are a number of crossdeck escalators, the basic principle is the same for any thickness, a conveyor belt with human shaped form fitting indentations that you step into and hold you tight until it has preformed a 180dgr roll from dorsal to ventral side. I've landed on roll instead of a loop, as I think it's much more pleasant to go sideways.
I have opted for large, flat hulls for my ships because of the need for large deckspace to stow cargo, secondary craft etc, and because it is a recognizeable shape that will produce dramatic images. And I also think it looks cool, he he.
In order for this to work however, Inertial damping is essential or the side experiencing negative G loads under manouvering is going to be squashed into the ceeling, and that we cannot have, so inertial damping:
Are you familiar with the Higgs boson? If not, then here's a loose explanation the way I understand it. The Higgs boson is a massive subatomic particle that generate a field known as, well a Higgs field. Apparently anything traveling through this field (protons/neutrons/ other subatomic objects) attain mass. It it the cathalyst for everything we know, as it creates gravity. It is commonly referred to as the God particle and becuse of it we exist, as do the sun , the moon and the universe. Problem is, it's a theoretical particle. Noone has ever found one, only evidence of it's existence through physics theory. The search for it is among the reason for the large haldron collider built at CERN in Switzerland.
Now, I am stating in my designs that by the year 2500 or so we have found a way of generating reverse Higgs fields at will. Think of a bubble of air in water. The Higgs field being the bubble, and the water being the universe, and my ship is within the bubble, removing it from the mass of the universe, thus creating an essentially massless object inside the boundary of this field in relation to the rest of the universe.
The implications of this theory solved a great deal of design problems for me, as it explains how I can fly and manouver my ships, while having a surviveable environment within.
It also makes for a plausible theory on FTL, as a massless object this size cannot exist.
The way this field works is by surrounding the ship with a 99,90% or so efficiency, reducing a 100000 ton ship to an object weighing in at 1000kilograms. The reason for not wanting full efficiency is because 100% is only reached for a couple of nanoseconds during FTL, and because it seems plausible to me that there is some bleed through the bubble so that weapons can fire through it and so on.
Internal artificial gravity: this is generated by fluctuating computer controlled magnetic fields. I haven't yet decided wether this should be strong and accurate enough to work on the iron in hemoglobin/blood or if the crew have to wear suits with computer controlled magnets and electro muscle. Both theories are interesting to explore, the first one because it enables full on earth like gravity for any object with a molecule thick layer of iron in or coated on it. The second theory will make for some very cool spacesuits, which can double as armour. Every crewmember walking around looking like Ironman, while anything not containing ferrous molecules will be in zero G, making a very believable ship environment.
FTL jump: this is attained by several essential factors: 1: distance to the nearby celestial object, 2:full operation of the Higgs field.
The idea here is that in order to jump the ship has to be approximately 20 Astronomical units give or take ( 1 AU=sun earth distance) from any celestial object, this is a pretty long distance, one AU being roughly 8 light mins. This means the ship has to travel hours or days away from any planet in order to jump depending on sublight speed.
Once it reaches the 20AU threshold it can enable the Higgs field at 100% and will then jump into hyperspace in the direction of travel and exit at the same speed 20 AU outward of the target system.
Where do we go, and how do we get there? FTL jump is by line of sight, and so unstable the universe will only allow it to happen outside the gravity well of a planetary system, and will also break the transition when the ship get near another system. This essentially means that jump is only preformed from any given system to it's nearest neighbour, and the length is dictated by the the interstellar distance. From here to Proxima Centauri, our neares star, the jump is 4.22LY, should the ship aim for a more distant sun, the jump will be that length, provided there are no nearer stars in the path of the jump within 20 AU's of the line of travel.
I wanted these kinds of constraints and ramifications on the FTL drive for several reasons:
The theory seem plausible to me, and it generates some cool dramatic effects.
No one can jump directly to a planet, because the FTL drive stops working 20 AU's outside it. This in turn means Sublight travel for at least 2hrs40mins which is importaint for making tactical and strategic scenarios. An enemy has to mass his fleet at a distance, and it will always give the defender the ability to be a little prepared. However I have one loophole which I will explain later.
The biggest plus from this theory as I see it is that it generates strategically importaint starsystems, or transport hubs. A starsystem will be importaint because it is within the path between others, and because FTL works like it does, you will have to make a stop at Star C if it is in the way between star A that you left and star B that you want to go to.
There are other ways, but I quite like this one, because you can create terrain in space, and force an opposing fleet to face you in a given system by where it is positioned in relation to others. Think of the war in the Pacific during WW2. The ocean is the universe, and the islands are planets, but instead of a surface navy we have starships that jump between them.
There are other ramifications on FTL as well, like the fact that 100%Higgs field strength is only attainable by supercapacitor discharge, and the capacitors have to be charged by the onboard reactors before they have enough power to attain jump. This is because I want there to be charge time between jumps so that a ship cannot make jump after jump after jump.
This adds time and size back to the universe that we have shrunk so dramatically by FTL. The more jumps you make, the longer it takes, because in addition to be pulled in by a system you also have to travel through or around it to get a clear aim at the stars beyond.
Charge time will depend on the power output of the onboard AM reactors, however some ships, and all the millitary ones are equipped with more than one capacitor, in order to be able to make emergency jumps, should they need to. When these are drained, however they will have to recharge like every one else.
Most importantly though, capacitors can be designed and put on a ship as a part of the stardrive system. This is important because it will enable several things. 1, plausability, the capacitor can be designed and explained on a model, 2: it will enable stardrive classification because the more capacitors you have the more sucessive jumps a ship can make before it needs to recharge and the faster it will be.
The loophole in FTL is lagrange points between planets, this is a point in space where the gravitiational pull between two planets is equal, and ships are able to micro jump to and from these points within a starsystem. These are highly contested in battle because they enable reinforcements to be dumped onto the battlefield with no prior warning like an ace in the sleeve. They are also vitally importaint in peace time as they cut down on transit time
For instance, if Earth is under seige, we can instantly jump in reinforcements from a lagrange point between say, Enceladus/ Jupiter to the point between Earth/Luna.
This can be cool in a battle.
Manouvering is by a system of fixed nozzles centered at the four corners of the hull together with tiltable/thrust vectoring main engines aft.
These engines do not fire continously like in Starwars or Battlestar Galactica. Instead these engines fire in quick, intense burns, because there is so little mass to move around.
They are only used on full long duration burn to escape to the jump threshold.
Still even tiny amounts of mass will generate substantial amounts of inertia at high enough speeds, which means these ships will be able to use planets and moons to slingshot around the battlefield.
Windows: I have windows and this is for several reasons: Human psyche, dramatic effect, recognizability, and to add scale to a model. The first reason, human psyche.
Even a 600m long ship will seem cramped when you are 1000mill kilometers away from home and the outside is so hostile you die within an instant of going out there. People need windows, when they are out in space for months, maybe even years at a time. A submarine can always surface and let it's crew out. A starship cannot. I think when you know this you'll need to look out. Build a ship, take on an interstellas journey and proove me wrong, he he.
Dramatic effect: My ships all have glass canopies over the bridge The glass canopy is made out of ADNR, which is an acronym for Aggregated diamond nano rods, If you look it up you'll find it is a fabricated material, and the hardest substance known to man. The bridge is further protected by a set of armour panels that slide into place in heavy combat. The leading edge of the ship has the officers sitting in revolving chairs, and the aft of the bridge seats secondary crews, like engineering, damage control. The officers have the ability to flip between dorsal and ventral side of the ship at will, to get a complete overview of the battlefield.
I think it looks cool, and It's well protected in the bow of the ship, so I figure why not. It also makes a ship look faster as it resembles a fighter cockpit.
Weapons: My ships are currently armed with neutral particle beam cannons of varying configurations.
I have read of widely varying figures of range for these weapons, but it seems that the neutral particle beam can concievably be effective beyond 100K kilometers some time in the far future. depending on nozzle size and power output etc.
Well, this is what I have as a guide line when I design and build my models. Feel free to comment, correct or just ask about anything. It's all just good fun. And of course speculative bullshit for the most part. There is gravity, that I know. all else....