LIVESTREAM: Engineering the Scorpion

Speaker: Mark Hempsell
: 6 May 2020
Start Time: 19:00
End Time: 20:30

The Q&A for this talk will be livestreamed on the above date.
Watch the talk beforehand here:

Scorpion is a result of study into a large general purposed spacecraft that can deliver crew and payload to high Earth orbits, the Moon and everywhere between Venus and Mars. It has provisions for six people and has six payload attach points which enable it to carry several hundred tonnes to high Earth orbit

The performance to achieve this comes from a nuclear engine called the Serpent. It means that the Scorpion can travel to the Moon’s surface with twenty tonnes of payload and return, while protecting the crew with full solar storm shielding and is even capable of spinning to provide the crew with artificial gravity.

Its key constraint was that the technology either currently exists or, it  was in development before the 1980s but the programme was never completed. The talk will work though the key engineering decisions showing their heritage and feasibility, a showing that the Scorpion represents a system that could have been operational in the 2000- 2010 timeframe.


About the speaker: Mark Hempsell

Mark Hempsell is a Past President of the British Interplanetary Society, and a former editor of the Society’s Journal. Mark has a BSc in Physics and an MSc in Astronomy and Astronautics. He has forty years’ experience as a systems engineer in the space industry and has around a hundred publications. He worked for thirteen years as a spacecraft systems engineer at British Aerospace and then worked for seventeen years at the University of Bristol lecturing in Astronautics. In 2009 he joined Reaction Engines Limited as the Future Programmes Director responsible for the Skylon airframe. In 2013 he left Reaction Engines to form Hempsell Astronautics Limited a systems engineering consultancy and to write science fiction that considers what is possible in spaceflight with the technology we already have.

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