I've thought about stability (i.e. the ship becoming top heavy and flipping over). The cargo is more than enough to lower the center of gravity so it will always be right side up (as long as you have cargo). I also thought about adding water tanks just above the cargo, or near the tail (in engineering) to balance out the weight distribution. The belly of the ship (just above the cargo hold) is 45K+ sq.ft. a 1 ft. deep tank would hold 342K gallons (or 1300+ tons) of water (more than the ship can lift). There is plenty of space to pump water around if necessary.
I still have concerns that the ship is just too big, needs less cargo space
, or even more lift capacity (it just increased 46 tons with the "version 3" redesign
). I'm sure it will all balance out eventually.
As far as ballast for jettisoning. There was a hint of that topic discussing recompressing helium to reduce lift
. Rather than dumping weight to gain lift or venting gas to reduce lift, the ship could re-compress the helium (or hydrogen?) for descent, and re-expand the gas for lift. Need the engineers to figure out how exactly to accomplish this. It could take hours (or days?) to compress the helium before detaching the cargo hold (and losing that 500 ton ballast).
I believe the idea is that the ship will be electric. The turbines are huge (I think 80'-100' diameter). Not sure if those will work, or will be replaced with many smaller versions to add redundancy (and not have a 90' fan blade : )
Energy storage could be achieved by batteries, splitting H2O (then recombining when needed), or your spinning flywheel idea (thanks). Though flywheels and batteries are very heavy, so I don't know if they would be preferred (it's not up to me).
Collecting water from the air and splitting into hydrogen & oxygen seems like pretty cool way to store energy (even if it's not efficient). If the ship really gets 20 acres of solar panels, you would have more energy than you'd need (and not worry about efficiency).
I'm not sure how the Merlin engines would work. I suppose you can generate your own liquid oxygen, but would still need to carry & store kerosene/rocket fuel. Maybe they can be upgraded to hydrogen engines like Blue Origin's BE-3 engine
Still trying to think about the solar panels. The existing setup isn't very flexible (no pun intended). They can only be deployed in space and don't move to track the sun. Someone would have to study the feasibility of covering the entire ship in solar panels (including the wings). Currently the most efficiency comes from pointing directly at the sun. Orienting the ship to always be perpendicular to the sun would be much less practical than unfolding a "sail" that can pivot in any direction.
A "flight deck" could be on top of the ship. Possibly at the front where the big gun is located (currently just for looks). That turret is almost 60' diameter. The upper deck is over 65K sq.ft.