Alternate means to leaving gravity well, as opposed to launches

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Cretin42, Oct 28, 2001.

  1. Cretin42 Registered Member

    If we are to ever seriously build an interstellar, or even intra system ships with any efficiency, we are going to need a spaceyard- a platform, or station in orbit where we can build without wasting incredible amounts of fuel and materials, just to leave orbit. Now in relation, I was thinking about how we can get materials/whatever into orbit in a much less costly manner.
    In Red Mars, they pull an asteroid into geosync orbit, and from materials in the asteroid, made a loooong cable that reached to the ground. There may have been a counterweight, but I don't think that would work well from that height.
    I have also read (scifi of course) of platforms that were built to that incredible height. Perhaps there is a way to combine the two, as neither is very feasible in itself, imho.
    Are there any other ideas out there, or improvements to these?

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  3. FRAMPITO Registered Member

    Well it's interesting about using these methods, allow me to
    ask you to try an experiment when you finish with it tell me how you think then, ok.

    materials: stainless steel 3x5 tray withflanges to retain fluid.(mercury)
    flange is to be 3mm H.

    one 60 cc of pure mercury.
    2 x 12" 14 awg wire insulated.
    Frequency generator 2g / omega
    ice pack or controled tempreture enclosure.

    building instructions.

    solder one wire to steel 3x5 and connect end to generator lead
    place steel 3x5 into temperature controled enviroment or ice pack
    pour the mercury keeping it evenly other lead on top
    of mercury but not allowing it to go to the bottom.
    when mercury hardens begin applying frequency starting with 5+v
    at 2g Hz slowly increment the frequency and observe what happens.
    if properly constructed you would have acheved Anti- Gravity in your lab.
    also for a more interesting result please contact me.
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  5. Holy Registered Senior Member

    Very interesting! I dont have the means of constructing the experiment, please explain how it looks and works.
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  7. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    Methods for cheaper launch are already being experimented with. Witness the X-33 which was a plane to space concept, reducing the price considerably from the disposable rocket boosters.

    Also is the laser launch system. This is now being tested in model size in the desert. It uses a laser to shine upwards into a small model of the general design of a saucer. The idea of it is to shine into a chamber in the bottom of the model. This creates plasma within the chamber, which leaves through nozzle ports around the perimeter of the model. The problems are that we do not have a laser of sufficient size to do an actual launch. The model tears up from excessive velocity and has stability problems. But it is feasible.
  8. SeekerOfTruth Unemployed, but Looking Registered Senior Member


    In the most recent tests I am aware of, the team has used models that have holes bored through the axis as well as holes bored perpendicular to the axix. The hole in the axis allows the laser light to pass through the model and vaporize the air ahead of the model. This creates a vacuum that actually provides lift as well as reducing air resistance and thereby damage to the model.

    The holes perpendicular to the access are being tested from the standpoint of allowing computer control to open and close them as need for guidance. If a hole is opened perpendicular to the model during flight, the air is vaporized in the direction of the hole, causing a vacuum and a pull in that direction. This would give you the possibility of control.
  9. John Devers (AVATAR) Registered Senior Member

    G'day all, they sound like a couple of good ideas there, my opinion is there will be a number of competing ideas in production soon.

    I like carbon nanotube structures and the space elevator.

    Did you know we have started building a 1km high tower in Mildura Australia to provide a power source?

    Only 120 more ks to reach space and 6000 for a geostationary

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  10. Pro. Max Arturo Good God, I'm not Howard! Registered Senior Member

    The Big Gun of Gerald Bull.

    The late Gerald Bull proposed the idea of "firing" payloads into orbit before his untimely death. In fact it is largely held by many, that Dr. Bull would have successfully put a variety of satellites and equipment into earth orbit if the United States Government would have backed his research into this very promising field.

    The main advantage of putting payloads into orbit is the simplicity of the design, as well as the low cost. Besides there being far fewer components to fail during launch, the cost of supplying the main thrust energy is far less than that of a conventional rocket engine. Reliabilty is also a major factor, since the launch mechanism itself (the super gun) would be far more reliable than any chemical propulsion vehicle that has been developed to date. Dr. Bull had many forward looking ideas for his super guns. I believe that he had even envisioned a way to launch people into orbit as well.

    <img src="">

    Dr. Bull was actively working toward these ideas, and I believe that he would have etched a very postive name for himself in Aerospace history, if he hadn't ran afoul of Corporate money and dirty politicians.

    Unfortunately without the USA government as a primary backer, he did seek investment monies from Iraq, to further his promising research. I am saddened at his untimely death and the suspicious circumstances surrounding it. I believe that if the competing Aerospace companies had not influenced the politicians (lawmakers) of the USA, then Dr. Bull would have recieved the necessary financial backing for his research. In fact, as I watch the money trail of Congress, it isn't very difficult to to take a "God's Eye" perspective & see what goes on "behind closed doors."
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2001
  11. kmguru Staff Member

    Rumor has it that Iraq could have used the big gun to send bio terror towards Israel. Some one capped him before he can finish it up. I saw it in TLC, but do not remember if it was a magnetic gun principle.

    Unless, we find a cheaper way to put millions of pounds in space, forget interstellar travel. My feeling is that one of these days we will find a way to teleport matter to space, which will go around the gravity issue (unless someone finds a way to nullify gravity which looks daunting with present science).

    In the meantime magnetic gun sounds good, so does some type of tether system...

    How much force one needs to send 100,000 pounds of load to geo-synch orbit? If I have a gadget that provides a constant force, what minimum force I need, even if it takes 5 hours to reach the top?
  12. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

    Nix, kmguru ...

    Conventional explosives were used in Bull's designs.

    Pro. Max Arturo
    You are referring to the Canadian HARP project for upper atmospheric studies.

    <a href=><font color=RED> The Harp Project</font></a>
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2001
  13. rich68 Registered Senior Member

    super gun?

    interesting ideas from above...but surely using a huge gun...with undoubtedly massive amounts of tnt..would just shatter whatever sits in the talking huge velocity..put against the satellite...surely it would suffer some damage...let alone placing human cargo in the thanks...more like scrammble egg job there...why not try using helium balloon on a huge scale...carry the load to high alttiude....then release the payload....and use a final small rocket to place in orbit...surely this is doing things on the cheap side!!what do u guys think on this one...
  14. Holy Registered Senior Member

    This could work on a small scale at least. Has anyone the numbers on the atmospheric pressure and weight of helium at different pressures?

    I mean: - How high could a large helium balloon (approximately 1000 cubic meters at 1 atmosphere preasure -sea level-) carry a payload of approximately 1 ton?

    Also, the balloon has to be very elastic due to the expansion of the helium at a greater altitude.
  15. HighlyFanatic Registered Member

    the idea of building an "elevator" to space has been around for a while, but is not feasible with current materials because simply put the combined mass of the "elevator" would be to great (structurally impossible to stay supported)....

    However, new research into organic (carbon) nano-tubes polymerized in a particular fashion would completely revolutionize materials design, and this problem as well.
  16. Ana Registered Senior Member

    how 'bout....

    ONE HUGE repelling magnet? sorry. just feeling silly....please continue...

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  17. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    There is another problem with the tensile strenght of materials. At present we just can not make them strong enough.

    One of the thoughts is that you need a counter weight to maintain the elevator taunt. This is usually pictured as a small asteroid or something of sufficent mass to do the job and put into syncronsis orbit relative to the ground where the elevator is based. The stress upon the elevator from this mass overcomes the strenght of any material we can yet manufacture.
  18. Steph Registered Member

    A Single body space craft would be a good start. For some reason
    I don't like the elevator or balloon concept. To limited and rigid.
    The real problem right now is that 98% of the weight of a space
    craft is fuel.

    To quickly solve this problem, I see combination of a 2 kilometers
    magnetic acceleration track, combine with a laser driven engine
    to get past mach 7, and then engage onboard scamjet engine to
    get to orbit at full velocity, get back to earth, fill the small fuel
    thank and get on the track a couple hours later if needed. This is
    full reusability, flexibility, performance and low cost in the same

    With the space craft on the magnetic track, you can reach some
    serious speed without friction on the track itself with relatively
    low G acceleration. When your off the track, the ground based
    laser beam is activated to push you from track launch speed to
    mach 7 where the scam jet take the relay to achieve the desired
    orbit velocity.

    The only resources needed onboard would be a small amount of
    propellant to power the scamjet, oxidant is taken directly from
    atmosphere and initial acceleration is provided by electromagnet
    on the track and laser on the ground. The payload/fuel ratio
    would then be greatly improved. The maintenance and operating
    cost would be greatly reduced, mainly because most of the
    energy required would be ''offboard'', which is a 1000 times more
    efficient procedure. Maintaining and operating a magnetic track
    and a laser is far less costly than many other concept. Scamjet
    has no moving part so very low maintance needed.

    All the technology involved here are within reach. We know it
    work, we only need an other 5 to 10 years to polish it to make it
    reliable. Can't wait for my fisrt space flight in 2015 !

    After we reach 100% payload/fuel weight ratio (no fuel on board),
    the next and final step will be to get anti-gravity device to lift
    insane mass to space at will. But this is an other story...

    Last edited: Dec 5, 2001
  19. McGuyver Registered Member

    Don't mean to butt in on the discussion

    The electromagnetic rail gun may well become reality. In this idea, there is a very long electromagnetic rail that is a lot like magnetic levitation trains which are presently being used all over the world. With the rail gun, a capsule of sorts would be gradually accelerated to tremendous speeds before leaving out and speeding through the atmosphere into orbit. The nice thing about this idea is that the G-force load on the equipment payload and (or) passengers could be controlled so as not to crush the human or equipment payload. From orbit, the payload could either be boosted to any orbital height with small onboard rockets or ion engines, or be accelerated into deep space if necessary.

    The project Harp (Gerald Bull) gun idea could be feasible if the payload was accelerated in explosive stages along the theoretically huge gun barrel. I recall reading something like that in some of the proposed theoretical designs. Basically, there would be explosive charges that would be detonated at various stages along the gun barrel. As the capsule (bullet) passed certain points, another explosive charge would be detonated. This would continue successively so as to increase barrel pressure, and therefore capsule velocity.

    With both ideas however, there is still a problem with excessive atmospheric pressures and therefore temperatures. I suppose this heat problem would be something that could be overcome since the space shuttle routinely travels at similar speeds, though not at the lower altitudes.

    Either way would be extremely cost effective in comparison to Space Shuttle Launches. I have often heard that either system would cost a mere fraction of today's conventional rocket systems. This would set aside far more money for NASA to build space stations, launch satellites, send exploratory probes to other planets, or to even build some kind of permanently space based craft, like the Enterprise.
  20. Teg Unknown Citizen Registered Senior Member

    Why an asteroid?

    Wouldn't the moon work just as well? With no gravity, and an enviable amount of surface space, it would be a perfect base of operations for launching. Also consider that at any given time any point on the light side of the moon is facing some part of Earth, perfect for communications. It is a very hospitable environment for any kind of human habitation, but would suffice as a launching point.
  21. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member


    Maybe I misunderstand. The reason for an asteroid is for an anchor point, as a beanstalk can not just stand on it's own.

    The topic was basically how to get out of earth's gravity well by some means other than chemical rocket boosters. The boosters are extremely expensive and make sending something up like the ISS a project that no one country wants to strap their GNP to do. If the cost per pound could be reduced to a few hundred dollars or less to put an object into orbit a lot would be possible that isn't today due to economics. If the cost per pound were say $5 per pound, (I realize that is not a practical figure) then some of today’s businesses and corporations could afford to expand and make their products in space where it would be cost effective and better control and quality could be obtained than can be here on earth with it's gravity as a problem. Also energy could be obtained at a cheaper cost than what we now have to ante up for to help pay for the manufacturing costs when you purchase a product from a store.
  22. Teg Unknown Citizen Registered Senior Member

    I was only suggesting that the moon would have all the benifits without the work of dragging an asteriod into Earth's orbit, which if significantly large enough might change the rotation of the Earth by affecting our tides.
  23. wet1 Wanderer Registered Senior Member

    I see your point.

    I have long been a supporter of the idea of using the moon for an initial base.

    The only problem with the moon is that it is not geosyncronsis. It does not remain fixed over one point of the planet, which would be necessary if it is to serve as an anchor point. I am sure that you are correct that it would have some additional drag in the earth through tidal action but I would think that the mass of the asteroid would be small compared to the moon. I will do some looking later as all this as been figured already, maybe I can come up with a link to give you an idea of the size that is being mentioned.

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