Powering-Up, and OOO Until Wednesday

Hey Folks! Fusion reactor control panel is shaping-up, and I've got a first draft that I'm fairly happy with.

While a little more effort went into research today as questions came up, most of the effort went into problem-solving the layout. I started by making sure all of the gauges and controls I expected were there, then ran through the pre-flight checklist to make sure each step could be executed. Turns out I missed a few things that the pre-flight revealed, so that was good!

Once everything was on the board, it was clean-up time. The batter bank had way too much complexity, as I tried to accommodate some unknown number of batteries. In reality, only one or two will be necessary to fire the ignition lasers and run the pumping equipment, and I left room for up to 8 on this layout (far right).

I also consolidated a lot of the power management stuff into a single module in the top left. "TOTAL" represents the complete output of the fusion reaction in TW. "FUS" is the minimum required to feed back into the fusion reaction to maintain it. "MHD" is the power being diverted to the magnetohydrodynamic generator, and "THR" is the remainder being exhausted as thrust. Also in the module, a selector for the power bus to switch between drawing from the battery and charging the battery (and off), a dial for controlling distribution of power to generators vs. thrust, and a toggle for the MHD.

The "FLOW" slider controls the rate of fuel/propellant fed to the reaction, and the "CYCLE" controls how wide the exhaust nozzle is. Both of these have an impact on the health of the reaction, a lot like feeding a fire in a furnace. And that plays out on some of the indicators to the right. "CORE" shows the core temperature, which also has the toggle for the cryogenic cooling system. "CORE PRESSURE" must be a vacuum before fusion can be initiated. "CAPACITOR CHARGE" must be full in order for the lasers to completely ignite the fuel pellet target, initiating the reaction.

We also have some indicators for dangerous X-RAY output, ablation wall failure, and ready lamps for laser capacitor charge, laser alignment, and pellet feed. Plus the toggles to activate those systems. Below those are the toggles to power the forward and rear field coils (which help direct the reaction plasma), and the fuel regulator (which allows flow control). The "CORE PURGE" selector cycles between off, roughing pump to get the bulk gas out of the core, and turbo pump to get the final few gasses out.

The fuel supply and flow rates are listed in the lower left. And finally, the "IGNITION" switch to fire the lasers when all the other tests are ready.

What do you think? This thing look like serious business to you? I think it came out alright. I'll have a weekend to think on it, and see it with fresh eyes next week.

Which reminds me, I'll be out of the office Monday and Tuesday next week for Christmas. Happy holidays, all, and see you next Wednesday!

Tags: Ostranauts