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Sturgeon's House

Launch Methods that aren't Rockets

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Let's talk about non-rocket launch methods. This includes things such as the space elevator, Project HARP, and one of my personal favorites, the

Launch Loop.




It's held up by its own momentum (an iron ribbon moving at 14km/s), so you don't have to worry (as much) about strength of materials limits (like you do with the space elevator).


Also, the cross section is decently small;



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The paper says 60MJ per kg to low orbit. The paper says it can launch 80 5 ton payloads to orbit each hour, so that's 60MJ/kg*5000kg*80/hr = 2.4*10^13 J/hr, or ~7GW. Probably closer to 15-20 GW assuming various inefficiences, so about 20 fission reactors of power. A shitload, but not infeasbible (especially considering the paper claims the launch loop could reduce costs to the order of dollars per kilo to orbit).


Edit: Later in the paper it actually accounts for cooling needs and the like, and says that a power of 17GW would be needed to launch 80 five ton vehicles per hour. Probably closer to 30 once various other ~losses~ are taken into account.

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