That whole American Revolution thing is water under the bridge for two forward-looking spacefaring organizations. In a joint venture between the Tau Zero Foundation, a private American advanced space propulsion charity, and the British Interplanetary Society, a spacecraft known as Project Icarus has taken shape.
So, what exactly is Project Icarus? To put it simply, Icarus is an outgrowth of the 1973-1978 interstellar mission study spearheaded by the British Interplanetary Society called Project Daedalus. In Daedalus, details of how to achieve a flyby mission to nearby Barnard’s Star were worked out, leading to the proposal of a massive, two-stage, nuclear-fusion-propelled spacecraft (see image above). As designed, Daedalus would cover the six-light-year (36 trillion miles) distance between us and Barnard’s Star in only 50 years(!).
Icarus aims to achieve generally the same goals but with one important difference – Icarus will use technology available today, similar to the US Navy’s Project Longshot in the late 1980s. Check the Icarus Project out if you get a chance, and should you feel philanthropic, offer them some support.
It’s initiatives like these that can produce the breakthrough technologies we need to get interstellar exploration off the ground.
One thought on “Yanks and Brits join forces to design private interstellar spacecraft”
Hi Ben. Many thanks for the plug for Icarus! It’s a very exciting project to work on, with some very tough engineering constraints. We’ll soon be entering Phase 4 of the project, where we start doing trade-offs and design. So much to do!
BTW Good choice of WordPress theme. 🙂