Skip to comments.Will We Ever Stop Using Rockets to Get to Space?
Posted on 08/19/2018 11:08:03 PM PDT by BenLurkin
One of the most futuristic and far-fetched is the space elevator....simple enough on paper extend a 22,000 mile set of cables from a space station in geostationary orbit to a corresponding structure somewhere at Earth's equator.
... The problem...is that the cable system must be constructed from a material far stronger than anything known. Carbon nanotubes have been hypothesized to fill this niche, but they aren't ready yet.
Another potential rocket replacement is StarTram .
Magnetically-levitated spacecraft will be propelled inside a curved tube aimed skyward. All air will be evacuated from the tube in order to eliminate drag. Craft will exit the lengthy tube at a speed of 8.8 kilometers per second in order to escape Earth's atmosphere. A generation-1 StarTram design intended to launch cargo vessels will feature a 81-mile tube built up the side of a mountain to reach a launch altitude of 12,000 to 20,000 feet.
The beautiful thing about StarTram is that it's surprisingly feasible. All the required tech exists today; it just needs to be scaled up big time. That makes building StarTram a matter of time and money rather than a flight of fancy. Is StarTram's $20 to $50 billion price tag worth it? Possibly. It could reduce cargo costs to space to just $20 to $50 per kilogram, potentially unlocking trillions of dollars worth of new industries.
Another idea, courtesy of JP Aerospace, eschews fiery rockets for giant airships that gently ascend all the way to space. A massive V-shaped "Ascender" aircraft would ferry cargo and passengers to the permanently floating "Dark Sky Station" at 140,000 feet. From there, an "Orbital Ascender" airship powered by ion engines would complete the journey to space. JP Aerospace's original funding came from the Air Force, and they're still highlighting progress on their blog.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.com ...
I just don’t see NASA making the switch from rockets to Rickshaws. That would absolutely ‘break the internet’ for sure!
Well, we could sling shot him to space I guess, but he won’t like it.
The hard part about star tram is finding an 81 mile tall mountain to build it up the side. Perhaps they could just pile up the BS from this article.
the wall thing will keep Mexico away but ( and I got this from a 2nd friend of Cliff Claven ) that the outta space aliens will just fly over the wall. ?!??!!?!?!
Wasn’t this an actual working system in “Childhood’s End” or a similar Earth to Moon sci-fi novel?
It certainly was in another bad scifi book about spiders coming down to earth through gigantic web tunnels. It was about earth creatures becoming plant creatures due to a changing environment.
The problem...is that the cable system must be constructed from a material far stronger than anything known.
Nope, the problem with the so-called space elevator is that materials are beside the point. Each point on the Hindooo Rope Trick has a different orbital period, and don't argue with me about it, argue with Kepler. A 22 mile long rope would be a test bed, and within current materials science -- once it is discovered that it can't be deployed, or that once deployed it won't stay that way, some lucky taxpayers will be grateful they didn't pay for the entire boondoggle 1000 times longer. Anyone who votes for a space elevator better feel good about it, because it'll be last time they ever feel good about anything, if I'm alive to see them pull that ****.
The other two ideas might be feasible, but won't turn out to be all that easy or economical, considering all of humankind's past experience. A balloon-launched suborbital craft (the team was out of Canada I think) was one of the projects in the original X-Prize, and of course, they lost. The idea is to skip the thicker part of the atmosphere and the gravity losses associated with that, and cut a bunch of fuel mass and tanks and such out of the design, to increase the percentage of overall mass budget that relates to payload. It'll still need a chemical booster for the first stage, then a few weeks or (more likely) months for the ion engines to push the vehicle to escape velocity.
We likely already have everything in place as far as space travel / recon / intelligence, especially with the announcement that a “Space Force” has been created (probably in existence for a while). With that being said, instead of spending money to go back to the Moon or the ridiculous voyage to Mars, put those enormous funds toward the very best border wall that can be built (South and North) and bolster the National Guard to keep it real.
Amateur high-powered rocket, with a GoPro aboard, launched in 2011 to 121K feet. Alas for the nitwit Flatearthers, the curvature of the Earth and the black sky shows clearly.
The height would 4 miles 20,000 ft, the length of the run 81 miles. The location would likely be up a western slope of the Andes in South America, as close to the bulging equator and as far from the the center of the earth as possible. Launching to the East near the Equator takes advantage of maximum rotational velocity of the Earth’s surface.
I like this thread. Ping for more reading later.
Scale this up. Use retired C5 cargo planes. Slide the rockets out the back from 40,000+ feet.
Common misconception (has been around since at least the mid-1960's.) But you were given a clue: "launch altitude of 12000-20000 feet." Most of the 81 miles is (almost) a straight horizontal line, curving somewhat upwards at the exit (but still not vertical) -- the exit angle is to reduce the time the launch capsule must fight atmospheric drag, and to follow the shape of the mountain as much as practical. The mountain should have a long, gradual western slope.
On a body like the Moon, the entire magnetic catapult including the exit could be nearly horizontal. The launch capsule need only clear any downrange mountains (not even a factor if they are sufficient distance away.)
In about an hour after we figure out, and flip the switch to “OFF” .... gravity.
Why don’t we just use the technology we reverse-engineered from crashed UFOs?
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