Bonus Episode 60 – capital ship combat

* (1:45) Setting up the topic and defining some terms. Project Rho.

* (8:06) Chapter 1: The nature of space combat. The X-Wing and acceleration.

* (23:40) Chapter 2: Weapons, distance, and targeting.

* (36:44) Chapter 3: Fighting on the broadside.

* (48:35) Chapter 4: Submarines and battleships. Finding an enemy ship in the vastness of space.

* (57:30) Chapter 5: Faster-than-light and long-distance travel. NASA’s advanced propulsion. The 2-dimensional race track. Alcubierre drives.

* (1:14:26) Chapter 6: Relativistic Kill Vehicles.

* (1:19:18) Chapter 7: Robots vs Humans.

* (1:23:35) Chapter 8: Ship damage and shields.

* (1:25:54) Chapter 9: The influence of the Air Force. Tabletop games.

Hosts: Dan

Comments (12)

Nick P.June 26th, 2015 at 4:10 am

Oh man oh man oh man, I’ve been listening to you guys for…six years?

Seven? Maybe longer? I don’t know, but I’ve always kind of been like, “I should sign up for the forums sometime…” and I might actually have to do it now as I have more to say on this topic than is probably appropriate for a comment post.

RedJune 26th, 2015 at 10:44 am


I loved the episode. Very worth hearing.

Michael PhillipsJune 26th, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Relativistic Kill Vehicles don’t actually need FTL. You get an object up to relativistic speeds you still get the potential for planet cracking booms. And if your target is is big and immobile and you are patient, you can do your acceleration far enough away that the target will need to notice a tiny object moving close to C with no extra heat or exhaust or whatever. Much worse than meteor defense.
(Space Stations, space docks, any other sort of large structure is a possible target for this tactic. Also mass murder on giganormous scales)

DanJune 26th, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Though this only deals with mass (not kinetic energy), here’s a fun little calculator for seeing how apparent/effective mass changes as you approach c.

Zachary CowleyJune 28th, 2015 at 5:00 am

A good example for Alcubierre drives,

There is a finger exercise that you can do, place a weight on a towel, and then pull the towel with your fingers. If the towel is fabric of space time, then your fingers are the effect of the Drive, pulling space time with out exerting energy onto the weight, your ship.

Lasse Rosenkilde OlsenJune 29th, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Awesome episode, feel free to geek out more about space combat and travel I will most certainly be listening.

Tom StephensJune 30th, 2015 at 2:00 pm

I loved this episode. I thought it was really well covered. You’d start talking about something, and I’d think “but…” and then you’d talk about the exception. If you ever what a physics/astronomy geek to bounce ideas related to this topic off of, let me know.

I posted a few thoughts that came to mind while listening to the episode on my blog (

FoxFangJuly 5th, 2015 at 10:33 am

Listening to you trying to describe vectors and delta V for the layman was fantastic. Though as a representation in science fiction, I am reminded of how they explained it in the Robotech Novels by Jack McKenny. The Veritechs were flown by a combination of gross motor movements and thought control via ‘thinking caps’ that relied on visualization by the pilots interpreted by the onboard systems to handle the rest of the details of maneuver. Because the pilots were hastily gathered together from a naval aviation tradition, they thought in aerodynamic terms. This is mentioned as being grossly inefficent and odd for space fighting, and used up alot more reaction mass for thrusters, but the veritechs were capable in atmosphere and out, so had plenty of thrust to spare.

BluebogleJuly 22nd, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Great episode Dan! Keep up the great work.

DragonringAugust 29th, 2015 at 7:08 am

You should read the Honor Harrington series of books. David Weber does a great job in describing capital space ship combat.

jacobOctober 5th, 2015 at 1:34 pm

I love these solo podcasts just FYI

DanOctober 8th, 2015 at 7:06 pm

Thank you, Jacob! :)

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