The Space Catapult, an Alternative Solution to the Room Elevator?

In his story “From a giant brother was described by the soil to the moon” ( 1865 ) Jules Verne, maybe the first SF author with a straight barrel of 274m duration which sent a projectile with 16.5km/s to the moon. Mr. Verne dismissed perhaps knowingly two dilemmas of this endeavor:1) The speed in the barrel will be 50 000g. An individual of 80kg mass will be forced down with a force of ca. 4000t. You might imagine the implications yourself.2) After making the cannon the projectile would move with 16.5km/s through the atmosphere and would act such as a meteorite.To build a modern and well performing place cannon, you’ve to over come these 2 obstacles.1) You have to lessen the speed by prolonging the barrel. To attain the necessary 8km/s (1st cosmic velocity) for hitting LEO (low orbit) with “moderate” 2.6g, it has to be 1250km long.2) The barrel should finish well away from atmosphere, about 120km (70miles) high, so your projectile would not drop an excessive amount of its precious kinetic energy or even be incinerated. To stop this to happen currently in the barrel, you need to leave it.Point 2) implies what’s promising that the barrel can be put not quite horizontally and somewhat towards the area most of its way rather than vertically, which makes its building immensely cheaper and easier. If the barrel starts horizontally and continues in a direct line for 1250km, its muzzle will soon be 123km above ground as a result of its curve. The perspective to the outer lining at that stage is approximately 11 levels and in that way the projectile begins increasing to an orbit or farther. Working on top for too long and bending upwards just by the end would cause centrifugal causes too large for people. Yet another benefit of increasing horizontally is, that the acceleration of 2.6g and gravity of 1g don’t add up to 3.6g just like vertical starts, but simply to ca. 2.8g (Pythagoras). It’s maybe not essential to put a lid on the muzzle of the evacuated barrel regularly, since there’s very little air up there to fall under it. To visit GEO, the moon or further, you’ve to realize at the least the real escape velocity/2nd cosmic velocity of ca. 11km/s, which meets the very first cosmic velocity by the aspect square root of repayments. So the period of the pipe and the kinetic energy needs to be doubled (velocity staying the same). Of the 2500km driveway the first 1250km may be on the surface. The vertical force will steadily go to zero, because the centrifugal force pays more and the weight more. In return you might boost the acceleration a little bit. The others of just how would be a straight line again.In recognizing this Space Catapult (“Space cat”), you’ve to meet up repayments good challenges:1) To produce an drive, linear engine, railroad rifle, mass driver… that can increase freight of up to 10t or more to desirably much more than 11.2km/s (escape velocity) in a vacuum tube sliding by magnetic suspension (maglev ).2) A structure of a few 1000km length heading up from zero to 120km peak at the end to carry the tube. From the detailed study on space lift matters we realize, that this is achievable with present products and techniques. It could consist for instance of an extended line of pylons looking like the highest radio masts: thin lattice systems with folks that are secured about as far sideways as the height of the tower. The risk of folks and masts for aircraft-traffic should be looked after. Some advantages of the space catapult:1) You can deliver spacecraft to any orbit from LEO, MEO to GEO (-stationary orbit) by varying the heating speed.2) You can create the space pet on nearly every place on land where there is some 1000 km (=Mm) room. It could be integrated your personal country it need not be placed at the equator and on the water. The start station can be situated in a spot where many individuals live and can make it easily. E.g. Vandenberg Air Force Base near La and the pipe going to the New Orleans region. (Going eastward and closer to the equator offers kinetic energy from earths rotation. )3) You should use the space cat for return traffic from space to earth also. The projectiles need certainly to hit exactly the muzzle of the tube and in the exact direction (with just a little aid from laser beacons, radar and computers). Then the linear motor acting as a turbine could “softly” slow them down and win the kinetic energy right back as electricity.4) The travel time is somewhat short: about 6 minutes increasing in the tube and quite a few more for the ballistic trajectory increasing to the orbit, where some steering jets do the exact positioning.5) The transfer capacity is extremely large. The package products may start in times of seconds or less, their range when making the tube being many km’s nevertheless.6) The building material need perhaps not be mentioned to space by rockets (charging ca. 10M$/t )7) The susceptibility against harm is relatively small. Destroying one mast or one man should not damage the whole structure thanks to the redundancy of the construction. Going to a guy of several cm size from the exact distance is difficult. The masts are relatively slender too and secured by cameras, radar and qualified personnel. The tube could be struck in the first several 100 km’s before it vanishes in the atmosphere, but air might flush in to the tube, preventing the closest cars. To hit a vehicle itself, heading that fast and not to be seen from the outside is quite improbable.8) Maybe a much greater benefit than for space travel would be the “spin-off” for terrestrial transport. Envision maglev railways in vacuum tubes with speeds of a large number of km/h touring in hours through entire areas. You may drive from London to New York on a lawn quicker than having an aircraft, If the long prepared bridge over the Bering Street is made. Possibly it will be the other way round: The growth of maglev railgun vacuum pipe travel engineering for terrestrial uses will make the space launch possible.One shortcoming of the space cat against rockets shall not be withheld: It could take only at one fixed position with the equator. Maybe other nations may create space cats also, and when they choose other aspects, they will use their space cats mutually by international assistance. But there is an approach to change the emitting direction of a room pet up to 90 degrees without additional energy: A tether is spanned from the barrel of the tube to an point on the floor in 1250km range and in a direction at right angles to the tube. If the projectile leaves the tube, the tether is secured to it, so that it swings in a massive circular arc. If the desired direction is attained, the tether is clicked off. A wire is secured to the free end of the tether to draw it right back fast enough, that it will not touch floor. You are able to mount 2 of the tethers on there is never any question about its feasibility and both sides of the tube.The space launch has been recognized for quite a while for use on the moon (and perhaps other planets). But on the moon it’d be easier to build: That you don’t need a vacuum tube, the escape velocity is lower (just 2.4km/s) and the track could possibly be put on the surface on the whole period. At the end the railroad has to contain the projectile down contrary to the centrifugal force. Maybe the fantastic spaceships for upcoming interplanetary or perhaps interstellar travels will be made or put together on the moon and in moon orbits, transport up and down done by the railroad gun. Actually hydrogen and oxygen as rocket fuel may be produced on the moon, if we find water there. The energy comes from solar panels during the half-month-day of the moon.A area elevator on the moon would be only suboptimal: The moon fixed orbit (MSO) is very high up because of the slow turning of the moon. You can utilize the Lagrange point/libration stage L1 between earth and moon instead, which is “selenosynchronous” too. But being 58 000km (58Mm) above the space cat is also more than the GEO.Back to earth and a better future, when the space cat is getting merrily (and cheaply) to and fro space. An ordinary family could do a trip to the orbit on its free evening. They will curl up for many hours in the LEO satellite hotel, which turns slowly around its axis to provide the alternative of gravity and after going one or two times around our world enjoying its beauty they return home contentedly.

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