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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.

 

300px-LaunchLoop.svg.png

 

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;

 

OEeOclJ.png

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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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