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Listening to Dark Imperium yesterday there was a battle where Guilliman told the reserve fleet to stay 3,000,000 miles behind the main fleet and that got me thinking about response times. How quickly can a fleet 3,000,000 miles away get to the battle if needed.

In basic terms, at half the speed of light, or 93,000 miles per second, it would take around 32 seconds. At quarter speed, just over a minute, so not a lot of time at all, however. Those ships are sitting their, on station, not moving, so they have to accelerate, and how long does that take? Lets say Guilliman wants the fleet to arrive in no more than 5 minutes. Thats roughly 9,900 miles per second.

Im not a maths person and generally you dont see maths articles about the acceleration characteristics of fictional space ships on the internet unless they involve the words Star Trek. However, it seems 1g = 9.8 meters per second or 0.006 miles per second. To accelerate up to 9,900 miles per second would take 19 days. Assuming things are scalable, accelerating at 10g would still take around 45 hrs.

Lets assume that the ships have power plants capable of moving that sort of mass to that sort of speed and lets assume there is some sort of technology that stops people insides into their outsides. Void war is pretty brutal. They are not flicking peas at each other. Is 2 days a realistic time frame for reserves to arrive? if not, is 3,000,000 miles away a ludicrous distance to station them?

Of course, in battle, ships wont be stationary. What speeds will they be travelling? the reserves would have to match speed so they wont be excellerating from 0. And if they are trying to match speed, what sort of lag time is there for seeing what is happening 3,000,000 miles away? Radar waves travel roughly the speed of light, so to get there and back is 6,000,000 m, of 16 seconds. Easily enough time to match things. - (that brings up another issue i'll have to re-examine and thats space battles in the Lost Fleet series where time lag is a massive deal)

Of course, I could just be waffling bollocks, but is an interesting thing to ponder, just how space combat would work.
 
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