SpringShip – Interplanetary Spaceship Design

Practical design for a deep space, high speed interplanetary spaceship,
and precursor for future interstellar ship design.
(Begun 2001 AD)


A practical solution to the problems of long term, long distant voyages in space.  To address the hazards of long trips in freefall by providing artificial gravity.  To solve the problems faced by exposure to micrometeorites and suchlike projectiles, and the issues of radiation exposure from the sun.

This is the SpringShip.

Origins of SpringShips

A number of years ago I coined the term “spring” to refer to spinning rings in spaceships and stations, or any comparable spinning structure, cylinder, sphere, etc., to deal with the lack of gravity in space and its damage on the human body when removed from the stress and stimulus of living on planet Earth.

It’s been known and accepted by engineers for decades that a simple way to simulate gravity in space was through centrifugal forces – spinning a drum, ring/wheel or disc to create the effect of gravity at its outer edge.

However, a problem I observed with some speculative ideas was the way the rings, or arms carrying rotating modules at their ends, were aligned on space – perpendicular to the axis of a ship in motion.

SpringShip to Mars, illustration of the SpringShip arrving at MarsThis presents the largest possible surface area exposed to the line of flight – exposing the frontal surface of such a ship to damage by micrometeorites, solar radiation or anything else flying around space.

To solve this I suggest in the SpringShip spaceship design that such rings be aligned horizontally to the axis of the ship (click illustration, right).  By doing this you present the least surface area, the edge of the disc, to exposure.

Voyaging on The Plane of the Ecliptic

Most interplanetary voyages will take place on the plane of the ecliptic – the horizontal plane through our solar system on which the planets, asteroids, etc., orbit around the Sun.  Voyages between the planets will occur on this plane and the horizontal alignment of the ship’s rings mean that only their edges are exposed to anything floating around or from the Sun’s radiation.  You will not find much material coming in to damage a ship from “above” or “below”.

With only the edge being exposed to the worst potential for damage this is the only part of the ship needing strong shielding, and this reduces the amount of shielding needed for any voyages, relative to the size of the ship.  Unless you’re intending to travel very close to the Sun.

Next Generation Spaceship

The SpringShip is intended to be a ship for the solar generation. Taking mankind beyond the limits of our own planetary orbits out to the other planets, to the outer reaches of the solar system and beyond. The design, with its own artificial gravity, its shielding against damage and much more, gives mankind the ability to travel far beyond our own world and embrace the universe of opportunity awaiting us.

Watch the latest animation – SpringShip ver.3

7th, May, 2016.

Spent a few weeks playing with the design and bringing it up to-date with all my thoughts over the last few years.  The model has been translated into a new application to give you more detail.

Watch the animation to learn more of the latest design developments.

NOTE:  The new design style is NOT FEATURED in the full description document (below).  The underling principles for the SpringShip function remain the same.

DOWNLOAD The Full Description

You can download a copy of this article with further details o forward to all your friends and contacts you feel would enjoy these thoughts.

NOTE:  This is a 3megabyte document and will take some time to download on a slow connection.

Download the full description here.

Up-date Notice:  (November 2011) – The Full Description has been up-dated with new Appendices on a range of additional features.  If you downloaded earlier copies I suggest you update your records with this version as it now contains several pages of new thoughts and illustrations.

Up-date:  (7th May 2016)  The description does not reflect the latest design for the SpringShip and remains based on version 1.  A revision may come at a later date. (Bit busy with the Rumbler project to begin raising money for the Springships.)

Meanwhile here are updated images for you to enjoy.

SpringShip interplanetary exploration spaceship design, version three.
SpringShip V.03 – April 2016, refining the concept and structure of the design.
SpringShip V.04 – September 2018, exploring the options for a Deep Gravity Well Survey Ship (see my thoughts on Gravity).

Special Contact

If you have a special enquiry about the SpringShip, want to become involved as sponsor or in any other manner then contact me here: SpringShip Message.

NOT A Fiction

NOTICE:  Just for clarity this has nothing to do with a certain excessively enthusiastic and often technically inept American fictional television show.  Although there are similarities these are purely coincidental drawing from the realities of good engineering design principles (form follows function) and not due to any other influence. 

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