Skip to comments.Huge 'Launch Ring' To Fling Satellites Into Orbit
Posted on 10/03/2006 2:51:24 PM PDT by blam
Huge 'launch ring' to fling satellites into orbit
16:00 03 October 2006
NewScientist.com news service
A ring of superconducting magnets fires a projectile off a ramp at 8 kilometres per second, fast enough to reach orbit (Artists conception: J Fiske/LaunchPoint)
A cone-shaped shell would protect the payload during its passage through the atmosphere into space, and includes a rocket at the back end to adjust its trajectory (Illustration: J Fiske/LaunchPoint Technologies) An enormous ring of superconducting magnets similar to a particle accelerator could fling satellites into space, or perhaps weapons around the world, suggest the findings of a new study funded by the US air force.
Proponents of the idea say it would be much cheaper than conventional rocket launches. But critics warn that the technology would be difficult to develop and that the intense g forces experienced during launch might damage the very satellites being lofted into space.
Previous studies have investigated the use of magnets to accelerate satellites to the high speeds required for launch. But most have focused on straight tracks, which have to gather speed in one quick burst. Supplying the huge spike of energy needed for this method has proven difficult.
The advantage of a circular track is that the satellite can be gradually accelerated over a period of several hours. And the setup is technologically feasible and cost effective, suggests a recent, preliminary study of the idea funded by the air force's Office of Scientific Research.
The air force has now given the go-ahead for more in-depth research of the idea. The two-year study will begin within a few weeks and be led by James Fiske of LaunchPoint Technologies in Goleta, California, US.
The launch ring would be very similar to the particle accelerators used for physics experiments, with superconducting.
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientistspace.com ...
I propose we use Ted Kennedy to test it at a 200% power setting
Oh, great, now I have that song in my head.
The acceleration (in the ring) will be a killer. a = v^2/r. For an 8 km/s speed with a 10-km-diameter circle, the acceleration will still be ~1300G. Typical satellites are designed for the 6-8G range.
Da-da-da-da da dada.........
I'll bet this would win the "Pumpkin Chuckin" contest hands-down!
Should be able to get small, adamantium pellets into space.
Thats why you only use it for cargo. You need a larger ring and a longer windup for fragile cargos such as humans, and even then it may be pretty tough.
Oh brother... make sure you don't have steak & eggs for breakfast.
Sounds kinda like a exotic weapon.
Niven used this launch system in Ringworld,or
was it for landing
You got that right. As the article said...
...could fling satellites into space, or perhaps weapons around the world...
I wonder if they could aim that thing at things in orbit with any accuracy?
The COVENANT won't be pleased that we humans are developing our own 'Ring'. [HALO ranting off]
Sounds like a Gerard K. O'Neill idea.
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