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Would a giant rail gun be an affordable 1st stage launch application for space bound cargo?

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posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 07:47 PM
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I was reading a story on fox news that talks of a rail gun that fires metal at supersonic speeds thanks to the help of electricity.

www.foxnews.com.../innovation

science.howstuffworks.com...

My question is if we built a big enough rail gun, could we use this technology as a 1st stage to launch cargo(maybe passengers later on) into and out of orbit?

I always like thinking of new ways to get out of orbit, could a giant rail gun be part of the solution?

I say this because I also remember reading somewhere that the US has plenty of extra electricity it can use, as long as it's not peak hours.

[edit on 21-1-2007 by Low Orbit]

[edit on 21-1-2007 by Low Orbit]




posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 08:19 PM
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It depends on what your payload is and what you consider to be cost effective.

Remember that if you intend to rely upon the railgun to supply all the energy require to boost your payload to orbit, it will have to accelerate your payload to better that orbital velocity at luanch: gravity and, more importantly, atmospheric drag, will be working from the moment of launch to reduce your velocity.

Unfortunately, the G-forces induced by such an intense acceleration would tend to reduce most payloads to worthless mush.

Then there is the cost factor. Railguns use huge amounts of power to energize the magnets of the linear-induction motors most such devices are based upon. You have to provide that electrical power cheaply enough to make the system cost-effective as compared to more conventional launch systems (ie.: rockets). And of course, the bigger the payload (the higher its mass) the more power your railgun will require to accelerate it to launch speed.

Have you priced the construction and maintenence of a dedicated nuclear power-plant recently?



posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 08:40 PM
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Gerald Bull was on his way to proving if this was feasable when he was killed by the Mossad et al.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 10:05 PM
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Technical considerations aside, a rail guns use in launching people would not be ideal, unless your intention is to have them turn into goo.

You could launch cargo and have measures in place to mitigate G-forces, but those same measures would be inpractical for people.

You'd need some sort of inertial dampener....



posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 10:23 PM
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What will you use for the outer plating of this launch craft? I don't think the best ceramic's has to offer could possible withstand the heat that will be encountered by the launch craft. Mind you this is a projectile you are refering to, not a rocket with a sustained propulsion to reach orbit.

Your craft in all likelyhood will disintegrate before it ever reaches the end of the gun barell.



posted on Jan, 21 2007 @ 10:29 PM
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Maybe one could use electromagnets so that the projectile doesn't have to touch anything.

Even if magnets can't do the trick I'm sure there is some sort of alloy out there that is strong enough to handle it. Maybe nanomaterials could lead to an answer?

[edit on 21-1-2007 by Low Orbit]



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