Shrivatsa System

From Growing Horizons

The Shrivatsa System has originally been developed by the Indian Space Research Organization, who was looking for a cheap, but powerful propulsion system during the 2010s, compared to the powerful, but expansive nuclear thermal propulsion used by the other space going nations. In its basic form the Shrivatsa system is a mini magnetospheric plasma propulsion system (M2P2), making use of a magnetic sail inflated in size by a plasma, increasing the thrust of a conventional mag sail. As the size of the field expands with growing distance to the sun, its thrust remained constant. A welcome side effect of this method of propulsion is the magnetic field as well as the thin plasma within provides increased protection against solar and cosmic radiation.

The first use of the Shrivatsa propulsion system was a M2P2 sail with a diameter or nearly five thousand kilometers outside of Earths magnetosphere, resulting in a constant thrust of 40kN on the entire trajectory, allowing the spacecraft to reach Mars within 40 days\footnote{The constant acceleration was 0.1m/s² or about 0.01g.}.

Following this success other space agencies began to develop similar systems and the next step for the system was the Chinese Feng Hao system, which augmented the plasma within the sail by use of specially produced Smart Dust Nodes. These Nodes were of the cubic millimeter class, containing optical and EM sensors, full mesh networking capabilities, solar and magnetic energy harvesting system and had the ability to move within the M2P2 system. They were also designed to have a programmable reflectivity, allowing to further augment the thrust of the magnetic field. Additionally, the independent movement capability allowed recovering about 99 percent of the Nodes. While augmenting the thrust of the M2P2 system is t he main use of the Nodes, they have many additional uses. With their meshed sensors they are useful as large aperture optical instruments and long baseline radio antennas, and can be used to monitor the outside of a spacecraft.

Until the development of the first Talaria He-D Fusion Thrusters in the late 2050s, the Shrivatsa system has been the main propulsion system of most space powers and corporations, but was retained afterwards as a backup system. The propulsion effect of the Shrivatsa system is also the reason for the massive Chinese missions into the Main Asteroid Belt and to the Outer Planets in the 2030s and 2040s, largely searching for alien artifacts.

During the time of its use as primary propulsion system, crews discovered many additional uses for the Smart Dust Nodes. The programmable reflective properties of the Nodes allowed them to spoof optical and EM sensors alike by sensory ghosts within the Magnetic Field, with the ability to project a blurry version of the parent spacecraft during the later stage of these sort of experiments. While the optical sensors of a spacecraft and the Node Mesh network itself can distinguish these sensory ghosts from the parent spacecraft, smaller sensors could reliably be spoofed, getting the interest of the various nations militaries.

Extensive tests showed the Shrivatsa system has various military applications. Aside from the extended optical and sensory capabilities from the Smart Dust Nodes and protection of most forms of radiation, it provides an almost 75 percent protection against particle beam weapons due to their vulnerability to magnetic fields, with the effectivity of Cabasa Howitzer type nuclear warheads being reduced by up to 50 percent. A limited thermal blooming within the plasma can affect a laser beam, as well a partial reflection from the Nodes. Usually the effectivity of lasers is reduced by up to ten percent. Missiles and drones can be successfully be spoofed by sensory ghosts projected within the magnetic field, though usually the parent spacecraft of these weapon systems provide additional guidance. Conventional kinetic energy weapons are only affected if they are using metallic projectiles, but most national militaries have moves towards ceramic smart projectiles.

The mini magnetospheric field itself used to be projected by a large ring of magnetic coils in the aft part of a given spacecraft, but it has been replaced by the ring coils of the Heim-Feynman Event Generator.

It is of interest to note none of the non-human sentient species known to humanity has been the only one to develop this multi-use system.