Spacecraft Notes

Idle thoughts

I'm trying to modularize as much as possible what goes into a space craft as far as functionality. I wonder if I want the different subsystems to talk to each other directly, or do I want to funnel all communication through C&C, which then makes C&C in charge of all internal communications.

Needs of a space craft

  1. Command and Control
    • Coordinates and issues commands to the various systems
    • Gets reports back about what the various systems are doing
    • All monitors are part of Command and Control
    • Decides when to collect more raw material
    • Decides what to sacrifice to Maintenance & Manufacturing to keep ship going
    • Serves as the central nerve center
    • All data transfer is via C&C with direct connection backups between other subsystems
    • Either highly redundant and/or distributed. Probably both
      • Coordinates intership and extraship communications
      • Every major function has a C&C node that can take over if communication is lost.
        • Best guess on what to continue doing to ensure that the ship's occupants and cargo is kept safe
        • Navigation to either raw materials (if that seems to be an issue) or a human settlement which is always taken if it's the closest option always.
  2. Sensors
    • Photon sensing for visual and plus wavelengths
    • Radio sensing
    • Radar
    • Lidar
    • Internal sensors - to feed Environmental
      • Temperature
      • Humidity
      • CO2 and O2 monitoring
      • Atmospheric pressure (detecting leaks)
      • Other biological monitoring (poisons and pathogens)
  3. Manufacturing and Maintenance
    • Repair broken parts
    • Manufacture new parts
    • Replace broken parts with new
    • recycle broken parts
    • Maintains raw material for all subsystems (fuel, water, ore, etc.)
    • Reports material usage and inventory to C&C
    • Controller for means to get raw materials (robot miners, material movers)
    • Performs all maintenance functions (lubricating joints, cleaning needs, etc.)
    • Performs all material transfer (fuel to Propulsion and Energy and Environmental material transfers)
    • Performs energy management and energy conduits
  4. Environmental
    • Atmosphere generation, recycling and regeneration
      • Maintain oxygen and reduce CO2 levels
      • Maintain atmosphere pressure
      • Maintain humidity and other trace and non-trace gases (N, H2O, Argon (Ar), etc)
    • Water generation and recycling
    • Biological Solid waste recycling
    • Food generation
    • Temperature regulation
    • Gravity
  5. Navigation
    • Input from sensors
    • Maintains position of where craft is and where it is going/desired to be going.
    • Controls propulsion to put craft where desired.
    • Calculates best way (determined by C&C) from current position to desired position. C&C determines priority.
  6. Propulsion
    • Main Propulsion - Atmospheric (if needed)
    • Main Propulsion - Space
    • Main Propulsion - Water (if needed)
    • Steering/Fine Adjustment propulsion
  7. Offense (optional)
    • Kinetic weapons
      • Rail Gun
      • Expended uranium
    • Energy weapons
      • Gamma ray lasers
    • Ordnance weapons
      • Missiles
      • Mines
  8. Communications
    • Internal communication is via Command and Control
    • Radio, laser, whatever for outside
  9. Power
    • Provides power to all systems including Propulsion
  10. Infrastructure
    • Passive part of hull is considered Infrastructure
    • Provides access to the ship, human or otherwise. Hatches and such
    • Data cabling
    • Maybe moves materials (conduits, pipes) instead of Manufacturing and Maintenance
  11. Defense
    • Active part of hull is considered part of Defense
    • Protection from micro-meteorites, gamma rays, and other natural phenomena.
    • Command and Control connections with Propulsion and(do we really need a connection to Propulsion?) Navigation.
    • Active, moving mass out of path, moving craft out of way
    • Passive, like a water blanket for gamma rays and other energy
      • Shielding reduces the intensity of radiation exponentially depending on the thickness.
      • This means when added thicknesses are used, the shielding multiplies. For example, a practical shield in a fallout shelter is ten halving-thicknesses of packed dirt, which is 90 cm (3 ft) of dirt. This reduces gamma rays to 1/1,024 of their original intensity (1/2 multiplied by itself ten times). Halving thicknesses of some materials, that reduce gamma ray intensity by 50% (1/2) include:
Material Halving Thickness, inches ↓ Halving Thickness, cm Density, g/cm³ Having Mass, g/cm²
lead 0.4 1.0 11.3 12
steel 0.99 2.5 7.86 20
concrete 2.4 6.1 3.33 20
packed soil 3.6 9.1 1.99 18
water 7.2 18 1.00 18
lumber or other wood 11 29 0.56 16
air 6000 15000 0.0012 18
      • 1 M of water then reduces gamma by 1/32. Add one inch of steel, 1/64th, two, 1/128th.
      • Graded-Z shielding may be better

Other possible references:

  • Structural Subsystem
  • Power Supply and Distribution
  • Telecommunications
  • Data Handling
  • Attitude and Articulation Control
  • Propulsion Subsystems
  • Pyrotechnic Subsystems
  • Environmental Subsystems
  • Landing Subsystems
  • Science Instruments
Summary of Spacecraft Systems

  • Power Supply
  • Communications
  • Propulsion / Attitude Control
  • Temperature Control
  • Navigation/Guidance
  • Science Instruments


Is Infrastructure what binds all the other subsystems together? Including modular built ships?

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