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Magnetic Accelerator to Launch Space Payloads .

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posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 02:47 PM
Magnetic Accelerator to Launch Space Payloads .

A team of scientists have unveiled a concept which, if successfully implemented will slash the cost of launching payloads to orbit from the current astronomical figure of tens of thousands / KG to a potentially down to earth sub £200 / kg, once the “break point”

This breakthrough might be achieved by building a massive magnetic accelerator several kilometers in diameter which would accelerate a payload in a specially deigned sled / launch capsule to speeds > that mach 10 before ejecting it on to an angled launch ramp. From which, the launch capsule containing consisting of an aerodynamic protective nose , the payload, and attitude thrusters to ensure that the effects of weather, or tiny deviations in the launch trajectory can be corrected.

The LaunchPoint team envisage Building a launch facility similar to this artists impression :" border=0>

Which will launch payload capsules of this design :" border=0>

The team claims that the current prohibitive cost of conventional rocket launches is stifling the expansion of space based technologies, and that if the cost is reduced then the market would explode.

Though I am concerned that with their hoped for 3000 launches / year , unless many are disposable and designed to have a short lifespan before being deliberately destroyed.

Orbits will get very crowded, very quickly.

As with much new technology, the military applications of such a system have been seized on by some. With claims that the launch system could be used as a lo-cost bombardment system capable of attacking any point on earth with devastatingly accurate bombardment . delivering nuclear or conventional payloads, as well as WMD devices.

The full story is available on the new scientist magazine news page . And more details about Lauchpoint LLC , the company backing the proposal are at their website

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 03:06 PM
That's cool. But I wander how would they get the power for the system? I mean...accelarating some tens or hundreds (thousands?) of kg at 10km/s isn't quite easy.

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 03:36 PM
This has been floated around for a long time, and I really hope enough money is put into it to see it get off the ground.

The idea of building it on a dry lake bed is great, but I think a straight line going across the lake bed and up the side of a mountain would be a better design. That way the centrifugal forces don't need to be accounted for.
With a long enough track to reduce g-forces you could even launch people on a system like that.

I'm sure the first one built will be a combination of a rocket mounted on a sled that goes over to it's own power once it leaves the track.
For an example, the craft would gain it's initial acceleration on very flat ground and then be boosted up the side of a mountain or hill, but have a rocket lift it to orbit once it leaves the track.

It's viable if electricity is cheeper than rocket fuel and the cost of building the facility isn't prohibitive. Research being done on maglev trains could offer a boon to this sort of launch vehicle.

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 03:43 PM

Originally posted by anxietydisorder
It's viable if electricity is cheeper than rocket fuel and the cost of building the facility isn't prohibitive. Research being done on maglev trains could offer a boon to this sort of launch vehicle.

Yes...but maglev can't travel 10km/s....

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 04:01 PM
Your right.
The system would need to be a cross between a railgun and a maglev train.

You can only put a human body into an environment of a few g's, but cargo can launch under higher stress depending on what it is.

With a very long straight track you can have the same exit speed you need to achieve orbit without the stress of an overly high acceleration.

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 04:16 PM
True, but my point was on the energy needed for such a thing. If you shoot the payload in a few hundred meter/ few kilometer or tens of kilimeter will require the same amount of eneregy (ie, the kinetic energy of the payload as it leaves the track - ½mv²). If you consider a spacecapsule of 1tone traveling at 10km/s you'll have a 50 GJoule (0.5e12 Joule) kinetic energy. Now compair this with a maglev train, lets say 500tones traveling at 100km/h (that is 27.7m/s). This we'll have around 200kJoules (192.9e3Joules). This is around two and a half milions times less energy for the maglev. This is what I'm talking about!

posted on Oct, 3 2006 @ 06:20 PM
Makes Gerald bull's Super-Gun seem pedestrian. Do you think it might be rather loud... wouldn't accerating four hours involve a certain amount of aero-heating or is the "ring" equipped with a special environment of lower than ambient pressure? Refrigerate the whole works and cryo cool the magnets and ring?

This is a very interesting concept, I wonder how they'd adjust trajectories to allow for dofferent orbits? 2000 gee for hours? If something structural "let go" in an uncontained fashion that might be bad and highly energetic regardless of payload type.

The Payload material sciences must be significant obstacles... any bets on where I'd be built? Utah, NM, NV? Where ever it might make sense to locate it near a big-time electrical power source... the location would seem to need to be geologically pretty stable. I'm sort of surprised at the sled notion as opposed to hanging the payload in a toroidal doughnut mag field like many accelerators use already. I suppose a sled would work just as well.

I saw a plexy-glass test impact slug from the old Chalk River accelerator and it was hit by a particle... lots and lots of energy is involved. These guys are gonna need a reactor or four maybe more. Awesome. I hope it's not used to kill people.

Victor K.


[edit on 3-10-2006 by V Kaminski]

posted on Oct, 4 2006 @ 05:19 AM
Sorry for the math but at 1 am I can't see
we have a 1 ton payload accelerated at 10km/s- this means a kinetic energy of
50G Joules
for the maglev train, lets say 500 tons at 100km/h (27.7m/s) we have a kinetic energy of around 200 M Joules
This means that the train has an energy 250 times less than that of the space capsule....Sorry for that

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