Plasma Sail Racer "Phantom"

The Phantom is a typical example of designs entering the "annual" plasma sail race. Its modern and expensive lightweight construction throughout contrasts with spartan accommodation and minimal facilities for the pilot. The tiny thrust available from plasma sails means that every pound of mass in the craft is accounted for. There is only a single cabin and minimal controls and sensors - making the running of this single man craft even more challenging.

Mass saving features include:

The craft carries a small amount of spares and structural materials to make running repairs.

The nominal burn endurance of 2100 hours is optimistic as racers routinely over fill the plasma envelope to ensure they are always getting 100% of the available thrust.

The two most challenging and the most exciting parts of the race are at the start and at the finish. At the start the racers drop from high Mars orbit to low orbit at peri-areon to make a slingshot burn using the provided strap on disposable boosters. This puts a great strain on the craft's frame and this often spells disaster for at least one of the racers. At the end of the race the challenge is to cross the finish line below the maximum allowed delta-V and avoid incurring time penalties.

Design: 33ft Sphere (35.9 spaces, Nanocomposite, Extra-Light [0.01G max acc] smart frame); cDr/cPF 1/1 FSB (Nanocomposite armor); Hull Radiators: 1 ksf.

Modules: Old Cockpit, Very Small PESA, Very Small Radar, No Ladar, 10 Plasma Sail, 2.5 New Fission Reactor, 21 Ultralight fuel tank (hydrogen) Cabin, Small Entry Module, 0.2 Cargo (1 ton)

Statistics: LMass 92.7, CMass 82.2, Dry Mass 71.7, EMass 70.4, Payload mass 1.3, Fuel Mass 21, Cost M$ 48.45, cHP 13, Size Modifier [hull] 5/5, Maintenance interval 5.75 hours (16.7 hours per day)

Performance: Realistic sAccel 0.00122 G, Loaded sAccel 0.00108 G, Dry sAccel 0.00139 G, Empty sAccel 0.00142 G, Cruising velocity 38 days per AU (0.026 AU per day), Burn Endurance 2100 hours, Burn Points 9223, Realistic DeltaV (with turnover) 28.18 mps

Payload: Crew 1, Cargo 1 tons (spares), Provisions 120 man days

Trip Data: Distance 1.5 AU, Duration 101.4 days, Costs: Fuel $ 7350, Provisions $ 700


Transhuman Space Index