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Ramscoop

Schematic of a ramscoop

The ramscoop is an element of the fusion engine used to supply it with virtually unlimited fuel.

The ramscoop consists of electromagnetic field generators (magnetic monopoles), which is small ships are the same as used to create the engine's magnetic field for the fusion process.[1]

The ramscoop projects a scoop field several kilometers around and ahead of the ship, which sweeps stray hydrogen atoms and gas into large intakes in the bow where it is filtered, and then stored in the fuel tank. The tanked fuel is always used for acceleration, but once at speed, the ship can rely solely on ramscoop intake, which feeds the engine simultaneously as it operates.[1]

Practical useEdit

RatioEdit

The faster a ship goes, the more fuel gets swept into the tank, enough to maintain the engines indefinitely without the use of the fuel stored in the tank. The amount is negligible at low speeds.[1] Its effectivenes is somehow paradoxical and presupposes some minimal speed: when a ship is depleted and needs fuel most, it can only drift, and must wait for days or months before the scoop collects enough hydrogen to pulse the engines up to a in more effective speed, when it can gather more energy.[2]

A very large ship moving at moderate speeds sweeps up more gas than it uses, the surplus being recharging its tanks. Small ships like fighters and shuttles in the other hand, must refuel from their carrier or a tanker.[1]

DragEdit

The ramscoop, as it drag-sweeps up the gas, also causes friction. The drag allows the ship to turn and maneuver as if it was inside an atmosphere. With the scoops shut down, a ship doesn't go into a dive, but simply tumbles over on its x-axis so that in an instant it turns to face "backwards".[2]

It also slows down the ship; the faster the speed, the greater the drag. Thrust counters this effect; when a ship shuts off its engines, it slowly loses headway. However thrust and size of a ship, contributes to their maximum speed possible.[1]

Reducing the size of the field while maintaining thrust, reduces drag and increases maximum speed; which however makes the ship less maneuverable (required higher maneuvering thrust), much like the rockets of early space travel. Afterburners work in a similar way adjusting the field to greatly affect a ship's speed. [1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Chris McCubbin, Official Authorized Wing Commander Confederation Handbook, Every Citizen's Guide to Practical Science
  2. 2.0 2.1 William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, ch. 3

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