Let’s build The Enterprise!
Almost unbelievably, it seems, a team of enthusiasts are looking to build the Gen1 Enterprise (there is a 100 year roadmap, note). The gloriously detailed would-be specs include dimensions of 0.6miles, total wet mass of 187m pounds, an engine power of 1.5GWe, and a specific impuile of >15,000 seconds…
In an overview, they write:
The Gen1 Enterprise will be powered by three ion propulsion engines. These will provide constant acceleration, and versions of this technology are already used in spacecrafts. These engines are powered by electricity, and thus using nuclear reactors to generate this electricity is a natural fit.
Ion propulsion engines typically are left running constantly while a craft is traveling to some destination in space. Thus the engines provide constant acceleration to the spacecraft. While this acceleration is very small compared to the acceleration imparted by a chemical rocket, over time a small, constant acceleration can propel the spacecraft to very high speeds. It’s a case of the tortoise vs. the hare when it comes to comparing ion propulsion engines to chemical rocket engines. With ion propulsion engines that run continually it’s possible to reach far off places in a reasonably short amount of time.
What do you think? Can it possibly be done? Leave a comment below.