Tag Archives: combat

The physics of space battles

Interplanetary course plotting software screenshotWe all know that space battles as depicted in films and television tend to reuse the paradigms of more familiar planet-side combat types – the naval manoeuvres of Star Trek, for example, or the dog-fighting planes of Star Wars. But what would real combat between space-faring civilisations actually involve, strategically and tactically?

Well, Joseph Shoer’s the man to ask! He’s an aerospace engineer and physicist, and he recently wrote a post running through the main considerations of realistic space combat – everything from the difference between engagements in orbit and engagements in “deep space”, to why kinetic weapons are more efficient than explosive payloads, and plenty more in between. If you’re a fan or writer of space opera, it’s a must-read; here’s a taster.

First, let me point out something that Ender’s Game got right and something it got wrong. What it got right is the essentially three-dimensional nature of space combat, and how that would be fundamentally different from land, sea, and air combat. In principle, yes, your enemy could come at you from any direction at all. In practice, though, the Buggers are going to do no such thing. At least, not until someone invents an FTL drive, and we can actually pop our battle fleets into existence anywhere near our enemies. The marauding space fleets are going to be governed by orbit dynamics – not just of their own ships in orbit around planets and suns, but those planets’ orbits. For the same reason that we have Space Shuttle launch delays, we’ll be able to tell exactly what trajectories our enemies could take between planets: the launch window. At any given point in time, there are only so many routes from here to Mars that will leave our imperialist forces enough fuel and energy to put down the colonists’ revolt. So, it would actually make sense to build space defense platforms in certain orbits, to point high-power radar-reflection surveillance satellites at certain empty reaches of space, or even to mine parts of the void.

Go read the whole thing! Hat tip to Ian Sales on Twitter. [image by FlyingSinger]

STRIKE A POSE by Donnàrd Ricardo Sturgis

“Strike A Pose” by Donnárd Ricardo Sturgis is a touching story about a lonely drag queen trying to make her mark in Glamtasia’s annual fashion show-cum-full-contact death-brawl with the help of a little Santería. And that’s just half the fun.

Note: This story contains sex, violence and lots of naughty words. Please avert your eyes if you’re homophobic, overly sensitive or a young ‘un.

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

Strike A Pose

by Donnárd Ricardo Sturgis

It was like one of those antique mirrored disco balls exploded in my face. My fashions! Silver chips, like sequins scaled from a dying gown, fluttered around me towards the ground as I tried in vain to catch them. I was devastated. How could he have just flung my fashion discs out of the window like that? Probably drunk again on Red Stripe. Then his jerk-chicken-eatin’ ass had to get all black and ignorant and shouted at me.

“And no come back in ’ere, man! You hear me? I told you before — it’s over and me no want you. Me just wanted your tight rass.” Continue reading STRIKE A POSE by Donnàrd Ricardo Sturgis