posted on Mar, 18 2009 @ 02:03 AM
reply to post by spacebot
It's interesting when you think about the possibility of space balloons. The balloon would have to be extremely resilient though..Possibly a layup
consisting of carbon fiber and other exotic stuff.. Maybe even with one of those fancy exterior spray-coatings that is being developed (mainly for
homes) for capturing solar energy for powering all on-board systems. It would have to carry a return capsule too but when you think about it
maneuvering it in space would be extremely difficult if not impossible. The light weight of the craft would make it more energy efficient (sofar as
thrust is concerned) and more maneuverible in a way.
One of the biggest hurdles would be to design a balloon that won't flop all over the place in zero gravity. You could use the balloon to be
pressurized, maybe even store breathable oxygen.. The problem is the connection point(s) between the balloon and the spacecraft. It would have to
either not exist (the balloon being part of the spacecraft itself) or be extremely rigid to take the kinds of loads and punishment it would inevitably
But when you consider all this its quite possible it could be done. The balloon would mainly act to assist the efforts of the craft and make it more
efficient (less fuel and also act as a giant solar panel). But the balloon could be designed to extend and retract like an actual solar panel so that
when the balloon reaches its peak altitude, the spacecraft could retract it so that direct thrust could take over for the spacecraft to reach escape
velocity of earth's gravity. Then, in space, the balloon could be easily folded out again to act as a giant solar sail/solar panel.
(alot like that one little solar-sail spaceship in star wars if you've ever seen episode II)
[edit on 18-3-2009 by BlasteR]