Discovery One


A Plan from Arthur C. Clarke's Vision

Discovery One -- Design

Geodesic Shaped ship with a Flower-like Stem and Receptacle

  • Size of the Engine Modules (Fusion) (4 in 1)
  • Size of the [Habitable] Stem (50-100 meters)
  • Size of the Habitable Receptacle (25-225 meters)
  • Size of Sphere for Crew and Payload (cargo)
    (50m somewhat livable -- astronauts only)
    (100m livable -- astronauts and tourists)
    (200m livable -- astronauts and tourists)
    (250m livable -- astronauts and tourists)
    (300m very livable -- astronauts and tourists)
  • High-Bandwidth Communication (Laser)
  • Instant Communication Device
    Entangled Particles -- Theoretical


Discovery One -- Materials

Carbon only space ship -- Almost !

  • Titanium
    Frames and Trusses for armatures
  • Poly-Amide
    3D-Printed Structures (Space Pod)
  • Carbon fiber
    Plates for walls and floors
    Trusses for armatures
    Furniture -- Foldaway and retractable
  • Kevlar or Linar (High-grade)
    Micro Meteorite Protection
  • Polyurethane Foam or Other Compound
    Micro Meteorite Protection
  • Ceramic (High-grade)
    Cold/Heat Shielding
    Interior Plumbing
  • Aerogel -- Carbon or silica
    Interior Cold/Heat Shielding
    Sound proofing
    Furniture
  • Carbon plating
    Exterior Cold/Heat Shielding
  • Boron/Graphene/Fullerene
    Solar and Cosmic Ray Shielding
    Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) Shielding
  • Cotton and Bamboo Fiber (High-grade)
    Interior Clothing and Footwear
    Bed spread, pillows, cushions


Discovery One -- Livability

The ship features required for basic livability.

  • Oxygen production
    Algae walls
    Oxygen soaking material
  • CO2 Scrubbing
    Algae walls
    Plasma burner
    CO2 conversion into hydrogen and baking soda
  • Food
    Astronaut rations (microwavable)
    Excess Algae growth
  • Water
    Evian (250 MT by heavy launch rockets)
  • Body Cleaning
    Hand and Body Wipes (Alcohol laced)
    Ceramic and carbon bathtubs for tourists
  • Garbage Disposal
    Plasma burner located at both ends of the receptacle
    Pneumatic plumbing for garbage
    Cotton/Bamboo/Paper garbage canisters
    Printable RF-ID tags for garbage canisters
    Upward access for garbage disposal conduit
    Garbage Collection areas near the Plasma burners
  • Power Generation
    Hydrogen Fuel Cells
    Solar Panels
    Solar Concentrator
    Adiabatic Systems
    • Thermo-electric Power Generator (Seebeck effect)
    • Thermo-acoustic Power Generator
    • Adiabatic (+150C to -200C) Convected Gas power Generator


Discovery One -- Lander

Carrying platform approach to a lander.

  • Rectangular-shaped carrying platform
    Few or no control surfaces.
    Flyweels/gyros are used in place of control surfaces.
    Retro rockets -- fixed or on a swivel.
    Series of parachutes on top of the upper flat surface as fail-safe.
    Ultra wide fuselage -- essentially an air foil, wider than HTV-3X or BlackSwift.
    All or most of the frame in titanium or carbon (10x stronger than steel).
    Stripped down interior to reduce weight.
    Non pressurized -- passengers wear their space suits.
    Swivel seats for vertical re-entry.
    Second generation have aerospikes for takeoff -- maybe in 40 yers.


Discovery One -- Cost Study

Approximate costs of materials, manpower, launches, etc.

  • Material costs -- Mostly already R&D(ed) materials
    Titanium Grade1 ($US25000/MT)
    Titanium Alloy ($US8000/MT)
    Titanium Grade5 ($US6000/MT)
    High-Grade Ceramic ($US2000/MT)
    High-Grade Poly-Amide ($US2500/MT)
    Oxygen soaking material ($US10000/MT)
    Carbon Tiles ($US50/Meter^2)
    Carbon Fiber ($US10/Meter^2)
    Boron Carbide ($US40/KG)
    Aerogel tiles ($US10/Meter^2)
    Kevlar ($US10/Meter^2)
    Linar ($US10/Meter^2)
    Alcohol Wipes ($US10/1000)
    Cotton fiber ($US2000/MT)
    Bamboo fiber ($US2000/MT)
  • Research & Development Costs
  • Engineering & Manufacturing Costs
  • Launch costs
    Heavy launch rockets (15K/KG not feasible)
    Skylon space plane (1K/KG feasible)
  • Manpower Costs
    ($100/Year base salary)
    ($200/Year base salary astronaut)
  • Estimated Cost
    Optimistic, Half NASA's budget for a year (US$10B)
    Realistic, All of NASA's budget for a year (US$20B)
    Pessimistic, Twice NASA's budget for a year (US$40B)


Discovery One -- Construction

Requirements and Logistics

  • Sphere
    Geodesic Titanium Frame
    Assembly done using a By-the-number method.
  • Panels
    3 to 5 meters wide (preferably 5 meters)
    Hexagonal, Pentagonal, Triangular
    Embedded Transponder (RF-ID)
    Algae wall on the interior side
    Vacuum seal with frame or other panel
    Insulator foam for micro meteorite
    Shaped magnetic field generator (optional)
    Handles for grappling (allowing for a ladder around the sphere for EVA)
  • Space Pod
    Titanium Frame
    3D-printed poly-amide sphere
    Coated with Kevlar or Linar
    Aerogel cold/heat shielding
    Carbon tiles for the exterior
    4K-OLED (180-270 degree) screen instead of cockpit window
    3D-Camera or multiple cameras for increased depth of field
    Transparent aluminum casing for camera lenses
    Manipulator arms plus tooling for Sphere assembly
    Fly-by-Wire controls and automated pilot mode
    Peroxide for propulsion, or better alternative.
  • Receptacle
    Titanium Frame
    Habitable (Pressurized)
    Docking (2 to 4)
    Entrance to stem cargo area (Optional)
    Housing for Plasma burners.
  • Stem
    Titanium Frame
    One to three stories
    Mostly water for cargo
    Cargo JIT machinery using RF-ID.
  • Rotating Wheel
    Titanium Frame
    Titanium housing for axle and docking.
    40m to 240m in width
    5/10m or 10/10m private quarters
    Full width communal areas 25m in length (every 50m)
    Panels for surface (Minus magnetic shielding and Algae wall)
    Two electric engines for wheel rotation (4L Cayenne pulling Airbus-380, 300MT).
    Future version may use maglev band around the sphere and a maglev base in the receptacle, instead of two electric engines.