Citizens of the Imperium

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-   -   Inflatable Space Lifepod (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=37796)

Ex_Pendable June 9th, 2017 12:35 AM

Inflatable Space Lifepod
 
The Inflatable Lifepod is a compact but easily deployed emergency escape device. A section of hull plate is outfitted with release clamps or explosive bolts. Underneath it sits the lifepod, a disc-shaped heat shield bonded to a fabric envelope neatly folded around an elongated docking collar. The docking collar is mated to an air-tight hatch with umbilical connections in the interior of the ship - usually alarmed.

When triggered, the hull plate is released and tanks of quick-setting expanding foam fill the fabric envelope, inflating it into a conical shape. The interior is slightly smaller than the exterior but can hold up to six crew members. The bell of the lifepod is a padded floor with straps and hatches to access basic supplies, six hostile environment kits, and six escape balls. Straps also run from the docking collar to the padded floor. A web hammock is available to string in front of the simple control panel located above the docking collar.

The simple operator console has basic pre-programmed maneuvers and an emergency beacon that can be activated separately.

Extensive testing shows the inflatable lifepod can withstand micro-meteors and minor debris.

Lifepod can remain attached to the hull as a survival room or can be launched using maneuvering rockets built into the docking collar. At no point attempt re-entry with the lifepod still attached to the hull! The Lifepod is outfitted with parachutes for atmospheric landing.

Basically, the lifepod is a steerable six-man escape ball with a heat shield.

Carlobrand June 10th, 2017 02:01 PM

So, basically an Emergency Atmospheric Re-entry Capsule (see Consolidated MT Errata 2.21, p. 51) designed to be collapsible to fit into the hull without taking up too much interior space. Very nice. :)

When you mention a heat shield, is that distinct from the hull or is that section of hull plate serving as the heat shield? Seems to me the latter would be convenient.

Basic supplies should include doses of fast drug. Rescue might not come until they're logged overdue at some starport a week or more away and a search gets launched.

Ex_Pendable June 10th, 2017 11:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carlobrand (Post 567608)
So, basically an Emergency Atmospheric Re-entry Capsule (see Consolidated MT Errata 2.21, p. 51) designed to be collapsible to fit into the hull without taking up too much interior space. Very nice. :)

Glad you like it, it's based in part on inflatable life rafts used on warships that are packed inside two Kevlar clam shells and some suggestions for constructing expandable modules for the space station. An inflating heat shield with parachute and a rocket pusher motor was suggested as an individual escape option for the ISS.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carlobrand (Post 567608)
When you mention a heat shield, is that distinct from the hull or is that section of hull plate serving as the heat shield? Seems to me the latter would be convenient.

I thought about that, but decided the heat shield would be better off separate from the hull plating, less mass to push.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carlobrand (Post 567608)
Basic supplies should include doses of fast drug. Rescue might not come until they're logged overdue at some starport a week or more away and a search gets launched.

Considering transit times in Traveller, that would be a great idea, thanks! Probably twelve auto-injector pens.

Mako June 11th, 2017 02:14 AM

Sounds reasonable, at least for the survival ball part, especially since the ISS is testing inflatable rooms now.

Not sure I'd buy the idea of a "heat-shield" for atmospheric re-entry though, but of course, perhaps in the far future, the science tech to design that is greatly improved.

Wouldn't want to have to try to trust that for real, no matter what.

Perhaps the safety factors improve with tech levels, but at lower ones, seems like the failure rates on re-entry might be higher, or about the same as a low-passage berth.

Good to give the players something else to consider, when using one.

aramis June 11th, 2017 03:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mako (Post 567630)
Sounds reasonable, at least for the survival ball part, especially since the ISS is testing inflatable rooms now.

Not sure I'd buy the idea of a "heat-shield" for atmospheric re-entry though, but of course, perhaps in the far future, the science tech to design that is greatly improved.

Wouldn't want to have to try to trust that for real, no matter what.

Perhaps the safety factors improve with tech levels, but at lower ones, seems like the failure rates on re-entry might be higher, or about the same as a low-passage berth.

Good to give the players something else to consider, when using one.

NASA has tested (and approved) inflatable heat shields.

BlackBat242 June 11th, 2017 06:17 PM

https://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/201...-3_Launch.html

And they are working to make sure it can be tightly-packed aboard ship:
http://www.southernresearch.org/news...e-heat-shield/

Ex_Pendable June 11th, 2017 09:54 PM

We can always offer two versions for sale - one with a rigid heat shield and one with an inflatable heat shield. Of course, the fully inflatable one will take up less volume.

DonaldH July 7th, 2017 06:03 PM

Just like the whole idea:)

Mako July 8th, 2017 12:49 AM

I was not aware of that, so thanks for sharing.

Not sure I "like" the idea, but I guess it is perhaps better than nothing, assuming it works as advertised.

I wonder if NASA contracts are like those of the military, with the lowest competitor's bid being accepted?

Knowing the answer to that might add even more fear and trepidation into those that might have to depend upon it.

;-)

Ex_Pendable July 9th, 2017 01:08 AM

“As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.”
― John Glenn

"Okay, Houston, we've had a problem here."
-Swigert

Of course, with military contracts, if you agree to supply a component, it must meet all stated specifications - and they are tested. This has lead to a few problems with procurement - you want a Stanley screwdriver but regulations forbid you from specifying the manufacturer. You can, however, spec it out. But if you go overboard, that screwdriver you wanted that's $5 in a store suddenly costs $500 to produce to meet all the specifications.


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