Best position for a cockpit? (in a spaceship doing high G maneuvers)

  • #1
Spacetraveler73
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I'm currently reading the expanse and thinking a lot about how the spaceships are built.
As far as I understand, the cockpit and control room sit on top of the ship (with the ships beeing built like skyscrapers).
Now since there are no windows, I feel like the cockpit doesn't need to be in the front. Wouldn't it make more sense to put the cockpit in the middle of the ship? It would be closer to the center of rotation and maybe even better protected.
Anyone know enough about how G-Forces work in space to comment on this?

(Please no spoilers for the expanse, I'm only on book 2)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
Spacetraveler73
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protection from what
I don't know. Spacial transmitted deseases? Scratch that part with better protection, that wasn't really what I was searching an answer for.
 
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  • #4
256bits
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Conventional rockets have the payload at the top of the skyscraper. The fuel and engines make up the rear-er part. That makes sense with the present technology of getting vehicle into space.
An aircraft cockpit is in the front with windows. At lot of times the pilots do not use the windows for navigation, in fact most of it is from reading off of instruments, or even 'self flying' mode.
Probably, what we know is projected onto other situations, in this case a spacecraft .

You could compare a spacecraft with a submarine, or a sea faring ship.
Where are those cockpits?
 
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  • #5
Spacetraveler73
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You could compare a spacecraft with a submarine, or a sea faring ship.
Where are those cockpits?
Yeah, the comparison with a submarine is how I'd imagine it would make sense. Since the rockers don't split their propulsion system off but stay a skyscraper/tube and the engine only takes up the rear part of the ship.
Since there is no need for windows, like in a submarine, it isn't a concerning factor in positioning the cockpit. But the G forces still are.
I guess my question is if it is better to be sitting closer or further away from the center of rotation when doing high G maneuvers with a tube in space?
 
  • #6
256bits
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Well, with linear acceleration, F = ma, it shouldn't matter the location. All locations on the ship experience the same linear acceleration.
With passive orbital motion around say a planet it shouldn't make much of a difference --> zero-G situation.

So, one would have to consider a rotation about an axis, or axes, and the distance of the cockpit to the axis of rotation, and the effect upon the occupants, and their possessions, such as a cup of coffee. Of course, in space under zero-G conditions, one doesn't drink put of a cup of coffee, perhaps a bag of coffee instead, but you get the point I think, what would happen to that cup of coffee if it isn't nailed down when doing a rotation manoeuvre.
Air force pilots, as you know can go through high G's on some of their manoeuvres, such as coming out of a dive. Here the whole plane experience high G's as it courses through the arc.

A space ship would have to produce an arc like an airplane goes through with thrusters, rather than the lift from 'wings'. No atmosphere to ride on in space.
Would they do that.
Not too sure it would.
I would think what a practical spacecraft would do would be to first change its orientation - > a rotation about a central axis, and then fire a main thruster to change direction. So we are back to a linear acceleration.

The question then is asking about the change in orientation of the spacecraft and cockpit location.
If you know anything about centripetal acceleration, you may be able to answer your own question.
Any flaws in my argument so far are welcome.
 
  • #7
Drakkith
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It would be closer to the center of rotation and maybe even better protected.

protection from what
Locating the 'cockpit' near the center of the vessel would potentially protect people from radiation better than having the cockpit near one end. Especially if you have large fuel tanks or water tanks surrounding the cockpit. A few meters of liquid protects far better than a few cm (or less) of aluminum or some other metal, at least until the tanks are drained.
 
  • #8
berkeman
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specially if you have large fuel tanks
I don't think I want my cockpit in the middle of a bunch of fuel tanks... :wink:
 
  • #9
Drakkith
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I don't think I want my cockpit in the middle of a bunch of fuel tanks... :wink:
No worries. If your fuel tanks explode in space, it's not going to matter that much if you're inside them or in front of them. You'll either die a quick death, a slightly slower death, or a much slower death (you survive the explosion but now you have no fuel to maneuver).
 
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  • #10
berkeman
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No worries. If your fuel tanks explode in space, it's not going to matter that much if you're inside them or in front of them. You'll either die a quick death, a slightly slower death, or a much slower death (you survive the explosion but now you have no fuel to maneuver).
Thank you Mr. Sunshine! :wideeyed:
 
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  • #11
Vanadium 50
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No worries. If your fuel tanks explode in space, it's not going to matter that much if you're inside them or in front of them. You'll either die a quick death, a slightly slower death, or a much slower death (you survive the explosion but now you have no fuel to maneuver).
That's the reason why I liked submarines for the Navy.
 
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  • #12
Rive
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the cockpit and control room
The term 'cockpit' comes from aircrafts and it means - well: a cockpit. With windows.
If you put it inside the vehicle, then it's no longer called a cockpit, but rather a steering station/room or something like that and better to switch to the terminology of battleships or submarines instead (with a CIC deep in the armoured sections of the ship).
 
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  • #13
Algr
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and it means - well: a cockpit.
Cockpit: An arena where angry chickens fight.
 
  • #14
DaveC426913
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Boats have cockpits; ships have bridges.
 

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