Newsletter # 3 Out Now!

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Contents
In this newsletter I lay out the usual summary and story statistics, explore the history of one the locations in my novel  and I discuss heating and cooling of starships in space from an engineering point of view.

I have also included an extract from the novel and a new and original drabble (a piece of fiction exactly 100 words) starring the hero of the novel, Robert Garry.

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2 responses to “Newsletter # 3 Out Now!

  1. On the subject of cooling, option 3, is of course, what real life spacecraft use. So I see it as being the most believable of the options. The only problem with this that I see is that it somewhat conflicts with my idea of what Elite ship design should look like aesthetically – simple, convex geometrical shapes with very few if any protruding parts. Huge glowing rectangular radiator arrays jutting out from every side of the ship is not what I saw in the old games. However, two 2.4m x 2.4m fins for a Cobra doesn’t sound too bad.

    In terms of the aesthetics, even though real-life space radiators are typically ugly, there’s some room to play around with the shape – a radiator array could feasibly be fashioned into the shape of a “wing” just for the looks even if such a structure would not serve any aerodynamic purpose in vacuum.

    Radiators would also likely be retractable so they could be “hoisted down” for combat to avoid them getting damaged. Deployed radiators would represent a pretty tempting target for enemy laser fire.

    The “mass dump” idea is interesting, but as you mention, it has the major weakness that any mass contained within the ship has to be finite – so this method of cooling would place a strict limit on how long a ship can spend in space before docking to refill the coolant tanks.

    However, what we know about travel times in ED works in favour of this idea – thanks to the new hyperdrives the typical journey in ED will not take weeks like in the earlier games but mere minutes. However, having a time limit would still become a problem for explorers and other people who want to spend a longer time in space for whatever reason. Perhaps scooping coolants from planetary atmospheres could be an option? Simply “dipping” into an atmosphere could be a way to get rid of excess heat quickly.

    I’m not sure how far heat and cooling should be taken as a game mechanic – even though it’s realistic that space travelers would have to worry about this issue, most of the average game players would probably think it a little weird. In this sense, the best cooling technology would be the one that requires the least attention from the player, which is one of the reasons I would favour 3 over 4.

    Atomic Rockets has a section dedicated to radiators: http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/basicdesign.php#id–Heat_Radiators

    One interesting point that the site raises is that certain types of engines can double as radiators – the exhaust plume will function as the coolant mass dump. So refueling your propellant would also double as refilling the coolant reserve, which might make it more digestable as a game mechanic.

    • Thanks for the comment, N.

      I agree radiators don’t really fit with the geometric shapes of the elite we have seen in previous games, though what we have seen of elite dangerous, all the ships are getting new lumpy make overs.

      Most players wouldn’t even blink an eye at the thought of cooling, but it does provide some game play features if you start to run too hot during combat or run out of coolant.

      I’m an engineer and a nerd so these things interest me 🙂

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