The Elusive Space Pirate: hide in the fridge from the cops, defeat the droid war and spit in Sauron's eye

    The article was written under the vivid impression of the post “Piracy in Space - Insidious Delta-V and Hydrogen Stealth Steamboats - Part 1” and is an alternative look at the presented universe. We will often refer to what is written in it and write so that there is no need to read it.

    Purpose : To convince you that piracy in space is inevitable, elusive and eternal. We will look at an incomplete list of ways to rob and how a pirate can deal with threats.

    In this article, a couple of myths will be dispelled and superficially studied engineering solutions that make life easier for a pirate.


    Insidious Delta-V
    The insidious delta-V is so insidious that it circled even the author’s finger!

    From the words of the author it is clear that:

    1. The insidious delta V (aka dV) is a value that characterizes the amount of increase or decrease in speed. Which is understandable, but not quite
    2. Reserve (aka reserve) dV not dV
    3. Acceleration dV not dV and not stock dV
    4. In most cases, pirate ships should have a dV supply greater than that of the target.
    5. For every meter / second of acceleration of the target, the pirates will need 1 m / s to accelerate and another 1 m / s to brake to attack
    6. Pirates need more than two times more dV than any target they are trying to capture
    7. To catch the target at a speed of 20 km / s, the pirate must accelerate to this speed, use up a dV reserve of 25 km / s, and then perform a braking with an impulse of 45 km / s to a complete stop

    What is wrong with the insidious Delta V?
    To understand the mechanics of convergence, let's talk about Newtonian mechanics in uniform space.

    Characteristics of interest
    1. Target speed relative to the star and pirate speed (Vs)
    2. Approach Speed ​​(v)
    3. Maximum target and pirate acceleration (a)
    4. Mass of target and mass of pirate ship (m)
    5. Impulse of target and impulse of pirate (p)
    6. Distance between target and ship at the start of maneuvers (S)
    7. Target fuel supply and pirate fuel supply (f)
    8. Target and Pirate Fuel Consumption (c)

    • To catch up with the target, you need S = 0
    • To freeze motionless relative to each other (to dock without risks and damage), one needs v = 0
    • The mass of the target and the pirate ship, as well as the impulses of the target and the pirate, are of interest to us only for finding the accelerations of the target and the pirate according to the formula: p = m * v, then v = p / m. From this formula it can be seen that the speed of the ship is lower, the greater the mass at a constant total momentum of the engines. This means that a heavy transport ship needs more fuel to gain the same speed, while it needs a more powerful total momentum from all engines to get the same acceleration per unit of time

    From this we conclude that most transport ships consume more fuel and they always have less acceleration than pirates.

    We will simulate several options for the initial parameters of the characteristics in order to understand the mechanics of approach at a distance between the ships of 50 m:

    Target: [a = 10 m / s * c, f = 200 kg, c = 40 kg / s], pirate: [a = 11 m / s * c, f = 100 kg, c = 20 kg / s]
    • The target runs away at full speed, the pirate catches up. They take 10 m / s * s per move, the pirate has 1 m / s * s left to accelerate - he gives a short impulse for 1 second, as a result of which their approach speed (v) becomes 1 m / s
    • Within 5 seconds, the target leaves at full speed and spends all 200 kg of fuel, the pirate spends 10/11 turns, holding the acceleration equal to the acceleration of the target, spends (10/11) * 20 * 4 + 20 = ~ 93 kg of fuel
    • The pirate extinguishes the approach speed of 1 m / s with a pulse of 1/11 engine power, burning another 2 kg and it has 5 kg of fuel left. Ships docked without a scratch

    Target: [a = 10 m / s * c, f = 100 kg, c = 10 kg / s], pirate: [a = 11 m / s * c, f = 100 kg, c = 10 kg / s]
    1. The target runs away at full speed, the pirate catches up. They take 10 m / s * s per move, the pirate has 1 m / s * s left to accelerate - he gives a short impulse for 1 second, as a result of which their approach speed (v) becomes 1 m / s
    2. For 10 seconds, the target burns all the fuel, the pirate at the power of 91% of the course burns 92 fuel. Turns off the engine and is still approaching a speed of 1 m / s
    3. At about 50 seconds of flight, the ships are compared, the pirate accelerates in the opposite direction from the approach (-900 grams of fuel). Ships dock without a scratch.

    Target: [a = 20 m / s * c, f = 1000 kg, c = 1 kg / s], pirate: [a = 22 m / s * c, f = 50 kg, c = 1 kg / s]
    1. The target runs away at full speed, the pirate catches up. They take 20 m / s * s per move, the pirate has 2 m / s * s to accelerate - he gives a short impulse for 1 second, as a result of which their approach speed (v) becomes 2 m / s
    2. For 25 seconds at full speed, the target burns 25 kg of fuel, leaving 976 kg of fuel. The pirate burns 1 kg of fuel in the first turn, and for the remaining 24 seconds another (20/22) * 1 * 24 = 22 kg of fuel, 27 kg remains. Ships are compared
    3. The pirate gives an impulse equal to 2/22 of the engine’s power, burning another 100 grams of fuel, extinguishing the approach speed of 2 m / s - remains more than 27 kg of fuel. Docking without a scratch

    As you can see, you do not need 2 times more fuel to dock to the ship. You also don’t need 2 times more acceleration and without a magic dV you can handle it - just exceed the acceleration goal, and the rest is a matter of time.

    Had seen

    Kilometer Stealth Asteroids
    In the region of Chelyabinsk, on February 15, 2013, a meteoroid fell.

    Despite the statements of the Russian authorities that they knew about the approach of the meteoroid, it was hard to believe in it: they did not report either its working name or its trajectory, and only after the fall there was a commotion in the special services with the introduction of a state of emergency.

    Astronomers of Switzerland, Colombia, Ukraine and other countries tried to recreate its trajectory only from video camera records - a meteoroid with a diameter of 20 meters, presumably, was invisible to ground and orbital telescopes.

    On this occasion, Neil Degrass Tyson spoke on CNN USA and talked about another asteroid:
    Later that day, an asteroid came close to Earth. We followed him for about a year. Based on the laws of physics and orbital trajectories, you can accurately calculate where it will fly. And here's what's interesting: he not only flew between the Earth and the Moon, he not only flew here - we tracked many such celestial bodies.
    But he entered our developed outer space, passed closer to our planet than our orbital communications satellites. And this should be noted, because that asteroid was the size of half a football field. And the one that exploded over Russia is somewhere three times smaller than him. And we have no way to protect the Earth from such small objects.
    Original news InoTV.

    From his conversation with the presenter, it is well understood not only powerlessness in eliminating such a threat, but also powerlessness in the seemingly trivial task of calculating the trajectory of huge objects the size of "half a football field".

    After analyzing data from 3 ground-based observatories that are able to find up to 276 near-Earth objects, according to researchers on the Cornell University website (New York), within a year each of them found less than 30%. Moreover, 50% of the detected objects have absolute magnitudes (absolute magnitude, i.e. luminosity) greater than 25, which corresponds to objects with an approximate diameter of less than 30 meters.

    For understanding, the asteroids of the Appolo group alone (approximately 54% of the totalpotentially open NEOs) about 10 000.

    That is, two observatories during the year saw less than 1% of already known bodies .
    According to Detlef Koscchny , head of the near-Earth objects department at the ESA Space Situational Awareness Department, the total number of near-earth objects with diameters from 100 to 1000 meters can reach up to 430,000 .

    Eye of Sauron
    The author of the article, which inspired me to this post, claimed a world in which a certain satellite system would be so all-seeing that it would record all objects in the solar system up to space debris with a diameter of at least 1 centimeter.

    He will not only record, but will track the trajectory of each grain of sand in real time and, at the slightest deviation from the course, sound the alarm and raise land rats in a fighting stance.

    I will not say that such a system is impossible. On the contrary, we will consider how to make it.

    A bit about the mechanics of celestial bodies

    Newtonian astromechanics is a discrete system of two points with arbitrary masses. I will not go into the intricacies of calculation by successive approximation, I can only say that on modern computers in real time this is a very easy task.

    Why then were the astronomers of Neil Degrass unable to correctly calculate the trajectory?

    This system is designed for quick rough calculation of the position of 2 bodies with mutual attraction.

    But in order to calculate the position of 3 bodies, it will be necessary per unit of time, frame by frame, to attract each body to each body.

    For 2 bodies, it is necessary to calculate the attraction 2 times, for 3 bodies - 6 times, for 4 - 12 times.
    In a unit of time, it is necessary to make (N-1) * N attractions, where N is the number of bodies in the system.

    If there were only 10,000 objects in our system, we would have to do 99,990,000 calculations per frame - and this provided that we have Newtonian space! And our space can be distorted, despite the fact that we do not take into account gravitational tides, the solar wind, the shape of asteroids, luminosity, and so on.

    For 1,000,000 dead objects, 1,000,000,000,000 operations per frame must be done. Moreover, the smaller the unit of time, the more accurate the result.

    It is worth considering that you are unlikely to guess how to parallelize these calculations - you need to perform them sequentially, using the results of previous calculations!

    According to the author, all this is for the protection of ships from garbage that you are unlikely to meet. I find it cheaper to hang sensors and armor on ships to avoid being hit.

    But the Eye of Sauron is, and it works: several satellites revolve around the sun and burn through every inch of the solar system, calculating incredibly powerful brains every movement of the screw.

    Hide in the fridge
    Immediately, the author offers us an interesting solution: black anti-reflective coating, refrigeration systems with forced surface cooling and engines: from low-temperature hydrogen to mass accelerator.

    I choose a standard high temperature engine and shunt any.

    How to get on the trajectory of cargo routes in the refrigerator if the Eye of Sauron sees a thermal trail from a gas stream?

    We will gain more speed at the beginning of the path (pericenter or apocenter), after which we will dive into the shadow of celestial bodies, entering stealth mode, or if it is not possible, then dive into stealth at any remote point and use shunting engines as we move only to change the trajectory going to the right one.

    The structure of shunting engines can be different:

    • Hydrogen can be used by releasing a chilled stream.
    • High-temperature can be reduced in size and let out a stream in small portions, dividing them by time (like a jellyfish).
    • In a mass accelerator, use chilled bullets with a diameter of less than 1 cm.

    And the excess temperature with the help of forced gas cooling or heating of the radiator and radiant heat transfer directed to send outside the system.

    If necessary, you can simulate the light of stars on the surface of the apparatus, directing it towards the famous observatories.


    So, you didn’t catch the target, the Eye saw you, and the legalists are already harnessing the horses to your soul.

    But you can still win
    To pirate without catching up with a goal:

    • Set on the trajectory or throw towards the flight path of the target remote mines with shrapnel and demand a load, bitcoins, a ship or another.
    • Threaten to shoot in the direction of the ship, being on the course of the ship.
    • Damage the engine.
    • Come up with it yourself.

    Since the main supply routes will be known, there is no difficulty in setting up an ambush. And high masses of ships with low maneuverability will make them vulnerable to various types of attacks.

    If lawyers fly to you, let them fly
    It will take a long time before that. You take the ship - it will be more valuable than the cargo - and throw the cargo in the direction of the cargo ship - there will be a surprise for the cops when they meet shrapnel from goods with their crazy acceleration.

    The larger the shrapnel cloud, the more difficult it is for them to dodge, and if they do not lose their fervor, they will still have to equal the speed of the shrapnel - when the cloud approaches - it will greatly slow them down if it does not kill them.

    In the meantime, you can drag the ship (think about how to hide it), or steal all the equipment, part of the fuel, and send the ship at full speed to the cops base - let them deal with it, and not with you.

    Dropping feces

    Have you won or has everything gone wrong? It’s time to get away.

    Spit Sauron in the eye
    Take along a “smoke bomb”, or “a bunch of sparkles” and spray them around, or blow a huge “balloon” around the ship, and after that - start spitting out your inflated copy-balls in all directions, and pretend to be a balloon yourself - let the traps fly in all directions, imitating each other’s maneuverability and mass - the Eye won’t guess which of the ten, hundreds or thousands of traps you need to drive the cops.

    And if there are a dozen such pirates like you and everyone will apply this trick?

    Approximately this principle is used to conceal the warheads of a nuclear missile during a vertical dive.

    Even if lawyers as a result catch one present, the trouble is not great - you will find a new partner.

    Droid war is inevitable
    Lawyers will not burn a bunch of fuel, sending entire fleets in your direction, will not wage guerrilla wars among asteroids with you, will not play cat and mouse, trying to catch up with a stealth ship, imprisoned not under direct armed conflict, but under speed, maneuverability and secrecy.

    Moreover, there are many of you and you all rushed to the alluvial.

    Not. They will send droids for you!

    If cargo ships are more expensive than cargo, if they are defenseless against pirates, and sending entire military fleets with escort is unprofitable - there will be no cargo ships.

    Now there will be an era of catapults.

    Cargo will be sent by special ships, bringing containers filled with explosives and cargo to the necessary trajectory, and at the end there will be receiving ships. Each container can fly through space for years, while a never-ending flow of goods from one station to another is being built.

    Semi-automatic drones in half-sleep mode will fly through such trading threads, waking up from suspicious signatures or if some drone fails. These drones are cheaper, they are not a pity, and they are more effective than people.

    A drone patrolling the distant boundaries of a system, or pursuing an intruder, can do this for years, consume less fuel, be more agile, and withstand loads above 20 g. And there may be hundreds of thousands or even hundreds of millions.

    The pirates will have no choice but to steal drone technology and use it for their dark affairs - the war of robots will begin, and it will probably be eternal.

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