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A launch loop or Lofstrom loop is a design for a belt-based maglev orbital launch system that would be around 2000 km long and maintained at an altitude of up to 80 km (50 mi). Vehicles weighing 5 metric tons would be electromagnetically accelerated on top of the cable which forms an acceleration track, from which they would be projected into Earth orbit or even beyond.
The published cost estimates for a working launch loop are significantly lower than a space elevator, with a greater launch capacity, lower payload costs and similar or greater payload masses; and unlike the space elevator no new materials need to be developed. The structure would constantly need around 200 MW of power to keep it in place.
The system is designed to be suitable for launching humans for space tourism, space exploration and space colonization with a maximum of 3g acceleration.
Lofstrom estimates that an initial loop costing roughly $10 billion with a 1 year payback could launch 40,000 metric tons per year, and cut launch costs to $300/kg, or for $30 billion, with a larger power generation capacity, the loop would be capable of launching 6 million metric tons per year, and given a 5 year payback period, the costs for accessing space with a launch loop could be as low as $3/kg.
In contrast to a space gun, a mass driver can have a length of hundreds of kilometers and therefore achieve acceleration without excessive g forces to the passengers. It can be constructed as a very long and mainly horizontally aligned launch track for spacelaunch, targeted upwards at the end, partly by bending of the track upwards and partly by Earth's curvature in the other direction.
Natural elevations, such as mountains, may facilitate the construction of the distant, upwardly targeted part. The higher up the track terminates, the less resistance from the atmosphere the launched object will receive.
By being mainly located slightly above, on or beneath the ground, a mass driver may be easier to maintain compared with many other structures of non-rocket spacelaunch. If not underground then it still needs to be housed in a pipe that is constantly vacuum pumped in order to reduce drag.
In order to be able to launch humans and delicate instruments, it would need to be several hundreds of kilometres long. For rugged objects, with magnetic assistance, a significantly smaller, circular, track may suffice.
A mass driver on Earth would be a compromise system. A mass driver would accelerate a payload up to some high speed which is not high enough for orbit. It would then release the payload, which completes the launch with rockets. This would drastically reduce the amount of velocity needed to be provided by rockets to reach orbit, since most fuel is needed for the initial phase of conventional rocket launch. On Earth, a mass driver design could possibly use well-tested maglev components.
Originally posted by GEORGETHEGREEK
reply to post by tooo many pills
Αs the guy below your post suggested it cannot be donne due to restrctions in material properties ( quite as suggested )
MOREOVER thousands of miles of cable is a false statement
Most manmade sattelites orbit at altitudes of only a few hundred kilometers or even less
I won t suggests exact orbit heights since i am not a specialist but its prety low and certainly not thousands of miles
Originally posted by tooo many pills
The cable needs to reach a geosynchronous orbit of 22,236 miles to be geostationary.
If the cable is not geostationary then whatever the cable is attatched to will fly around the Earth like a satelite and the cable would snap and both would fall back to Earth.
[edit on 18-1-2010 by tooo many pills]
Geostationary orbits can be achieved only very close to the ring 35,786 km (22,236 mi) high, directly above the equator. This equates to an orbital velocity of 3.07 km/s (1.91 mi/s) or a period of 1436 minutes, which equates to almost exactly one sidereal day or 23.934461223 hours. This makes sense considering that the satellite must be locked to the Earth's rotational period in order to have a stationary footprint on the ground