Over forty years after man landed on the moon the status of the space program is rather disappointing to say the least. Most of us can’t really do anything about it but an anonymous electrical and systems engineer going only by the moniker BTE-Dan seems to have done a lot of brainstorming on the matter and posted very elaborate plans for a full-scale, functioning Starship Enterprise. He has even provided a timeframe of twenty years in which his plans can be turned into reality. His projections are backed by detailed specifications, costs, mission plan and funding strategies. Dan disapproves of the International Space Station for its lack of gravity and cramped quarters. In his assessment the money could have been used more innovatively with much better results. In his opinion it is quite possible to build a full scale USS Enterprise that could function as a spaceship, a space station and a spaceport and accommodate up to a thousand people at a time.
Dan believes that the ship configuration of Enterprise in the movie and the TV series Star Trek is quite functional. However, the Gen1 Enterprise, the name he has given to his proposed craft, would be functionally very different. According to his estimates his craft would be capable of covering the distance between Earth and Mars in just ninety days and reach the moon in just three days. His proposed craft would have ample living space and generate a gravity of 1 g. To achieve this he has proposed a rotating magnetically-suspended gravity wheel. In order to prevent the body of the ship rotating he has suggested a counter-rotating ring. He also suggests that water, propellant, or other materials that would be needed aboard ship could be stored in the second ring. He has proposed a Universal Lander to function as a ferry when the mother craft operates as a space port orbiting around a planet. The lander would be designed to enable it to relaunch from planets with the rockets and fuel it carried on board without the help of any boosters.
The craft that Dan proposes would be built entirely in space and over a twenty year period it would not require more than US$1 trillion. The dimensions of the proposed craft are large with a length of 960 meters and a mass of about 85 million kilograms. He justifies the expense by claiming that it would constitute only 0.27% of American GDP which compares favorably with the Apollo era when NASA spent 0.5% of the country’s GDP. A budget of this proportion, he claims will allow the country to build an updated advanced spacecraft every 33 years. Dan’s propositions have caught the public imagination and the traffic to his site which started with 100 visitors a day has reached over 40,000 hits a day which forced him to purchase a dedicated server to prevent the site from crashing. The details are simply amazing. Dan has even worked out an ambitious mission schedule. He proposes that first the Gen1 spacecraft would be used as a space station and then sent on missions to the Moon, Mars and Venus. It could finally be used for diverting asteroids and sending hydrobots to Europa. Simply fascinating!