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My Idea for a cheap way to launch into space

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posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 06:21 PM
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As long as the stuff is unmanned, I still think some kind of mass driver is the best bet for replacing rockets.

Something like a long gun that would look like a tunnel heading into the ground at the Equator at an angle, but is actually straight and comes out some where along the curve of the Earth, thousands of miles away.

Shape the payload into a needle. Get it going using either a pneumatic or magnetic charge, push it through the barrel and have it blow out the other end, heading east. It'll be pretty noisy, so it needs to be placed away from people. Enter barrel in South America, exit tube in Africa? That might work.




posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 06:31 PM
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Now this is a surprise!! Thems were the days.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 07:27 PM
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What amount of the total energy used to launch something into orbit is consumed fighting atmospheric resistance? Once the payload was detached from the balloon, it would still have to be accelerated to reach a circular orbit or crash back into the earth.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 08:13 PM
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Originally posted by Silcone Synapse
reply to post by amonza
 


Thats what I was thinking about,those guys are well ahead of me




www.jpaerospace.com...

Great link,thanks amonza






You might want to read the book "Floating To Space".

Its author is the President and Founder of the company (and an old friend).



He also holds a patent on the method of using a lighter than air vehicle to reach Earth orbit.


Using a balloon to launch a rocket, a Rockoon, was an idea developed by James Van Allen, the man for whom the Van Allen radiation belts are named.




And, if you look at one of the other video clips included with that old black & white newsreel footage, the one in color showing a rocket being launched from a box hanging from a balloon (the clip was provided by JPA)...


...I was the guy who built the box, erm, ahem,


Launch Tube!



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 08:29 PM
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reply to post by Tearman
 




By far, most of the fuel burned by a conventional rocket is used to just achieve altitude. Intially, a large percentage is "wasted" just over-coming interia; getting the bulk of the beast up off the first few feet from the launch pad.

The fuel used to actually get the craft up to orbital velocity is a relatively small portion of the burn.


The beauty of a rockoon, or a system using a Lighter than Air Vehicle (LAV) is that instead of fighting the dense atmosphere, you're making it work for you by, essentially, providing lift and countering inertia.


Yes, LAV's with orbital potential would be enormous beasts. But they would be completely re-usable. The cost savings would be remarkable.


But I ramble.


Read the book.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:46 AM
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Originally posted by Silcone Synapse

You are right though,we should learn to get along here before we go messing up space..



No we shouldn't.

That is just an excuse that lazy people make to hold back those who want to make actual progress.






[edit on 13-4-2010 by Exuberant1]



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 04:51 AM
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I doubt this would lower the costs much. You still need to accelerate the payload to orbital velocity. It would be far cheaper and simpler to just add some reusable boosters (like shuttle has) to help your first stage.
Remember, fuel is not why rocket launches are costly, complexity and need for a skilled workforce is.

I think that the best way to lower launch costs is to mass produce a simple cargo only rocket, essentialy just a big tube with some basic systems. Even if a third of your launches fails, savings could still be considerable.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 05:50 AM
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Originally posted by Bhadhidar


You might want to read the book "Floating To Space".

Its author is the President and Founder of the company (and an old friend).



He also holds a patent on the method of using a lighter than air vehicle to reach Earth orbit.


Using a balloon to launch a rocket, a Rockoon, was an idea developed by James Van Allen, the man for whom the Van Allen radiation belts are named.




And, if you look at one of the other video clips included with that old black & white newsreel footage, the one in color showing a rocket being launched from a box hanging from a balloon (the clip was provided by JPA)...


...I was the guy who built the box, erm, ahem,


Launch Tube!


Wow ,thats really cool,I bet it was a great experience working on such a project.
I will look out for the book "floating to space" as well.
Cheers!



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 06:07 AM
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To get to orbit you do not simply need to be high above the ground. You need to get to orbital velocity which is over 25,000 kilometers per hour - that's where much if not most of the energy goes. That being said, launching from high altitudes does help, some rockets like the Pegasus (rocket) use the technique by launching from aircraft.

[edit on 13/4/2010 by C0bzz]



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 06:46 AM
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Originally posted by killuminati2012
I still don't understand why we don't just build a ladder.


This is the most sensible suggestion - and is exactly what is being worked on right now - it is known as a a space elevator and constructed out of carbon nano-tubes with self climbing robots on it - the ironic thing is that once the tether reaches the outer ionosphere it is self supporting - cool.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 07:30 AM
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Thanks for the ideas/replies.

Maslo,you are right that some form of engines would be needed to get the craft into orbit,but by using the balloons to get your craft to the very upper atmosphere,you have saved a lot of fuel up to that point I think.

You only need to fire up your rockets/engines when you are 100 000 feet of more up.

Thus saving all the fuel that it would have taken you to get your ship that high with conventional means(rocket from ground).

I was wondering if some kind of orbital barge could be sent up as the first stage,maybe in parts which self assemble at the correct height.

This barge/tug would then orbit the planet,and could possibly be used to tow other parts/crafts into a low earth orbit-but of course the barge would have to be powered-maybe with solar panels..

Hmm.




posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 07:43 AM
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Rutan has it right. Build an aircraft to get your vehicle above most of the Earth's atmosphere and drop launch your spacecraft. Think BIG SR-71 with a BIG D-21 on top. No special facilities needed other than a crane to mate the two aircraft. With two of SR-71 types and six of the D-21 types, you should be able to manage three or four flights a week. I'd use solid rocket motors on the D-21s. Sort of like the current Estes kits. This would reduce the complexity of the D-21s and give more room for cargo. If you could get the SR-71 types to use hydrogen and oxygen as fuel it would be a big savings in fuel costs.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 10:12 AM
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reply to post by amonza
 


That project farside video was great.I noticed they appeared to fire the rocket straight through the balloon,which I had not expected.

Proves 2 things though,

1 it is possible.

2 Its far from a new idea!

Amazing to see those "farside"guys pulling it off with all that ancient looking analogue equipment...You could probably run a similar operation with an I-phone these days.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:48 PM
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I have been thinking about this a little more today,and thinking about those people who have built a balloon with camera /gps and got some great videos of earth from the upper atmosphere.

One guy from the UK who has had some excellent results for approx £500 outlay, was recently covered by the media over here.




gnews.com...

How fantastic is that?
So I am thinking the great thinkers of ATS should have a go at something similar-Maybe I could track down a contact for Mr Robert Harrison,and get some tips off him as to the equipment he used.

Anyway,I was thinking along with the camera and gps(for altitude),we send up a small RC plane,a cheapo one made from polystyrene/styrofoam type stuff,like this one:

www.trendtimes.com...

Obviously the RC will not communicate over such a distance,so we rip that out,replacing it with one or two Estez type rocket engines(like the sort JIMC5499 mentioned earlier).and its own altimeter,which comms wirelessly back to our gps and then ground hopefully!


These are connected to the altimetry readings of the gps,and are set to fire at our balloons max height.
(fired via a pre charged capacitor maybe?)

Our camera is set so that it views the trajectory of our rocket equipped modified plane,which is set to lauch at approx 70-80 degree(??)


So we use the camera to watch our craft zoom up,and hopefully report back what alltitude it reaches.

Got to be worth a pop I think,and I have already aquirred a roll of mylar with which to experiment on some balloon designs.

I have a few quid to throw at the project too,and time off work at the moment,so any tips/feedback/help would be much appreciated.

My (slightly scaled back,but I believe possible)vision is that one day we ATS folks could get together and send up a cluster of these babies at the same time,each with a mini payload which we could join up and use maybe as ATS first obital satellite.


Even if we fail to get into orbit,we will still get some cracking pictures,and great confidence building experience.

Its win win!

I believe ATS could get a small object into space.

It would be fun trying,and who knows we could end up being given a contract by NASA or the ESA,with our own lab,and test facility!

Worth a try...



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:29 PM
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We could make our own micro satellite,maybe 5-10 centimetres across,launched on a micro budget equipped with gps recognition,radio transmitter,sensor array,IR,gamma,object detection,cameras,solar cells...

And something that small,we could have a chance at getting it into some kind of an orbit i think.

Another point,
Could we exploit the many orbiting satellites which already circle the globe?

Would it be possible to create a satellite in the form of a small flexible piece of cloth/thin foil like material?
With micro,even nano circuitry impregnated into the material to achieve the sensors I described..

Could it be possible to fire a rocket craft(from our high altitude balloon),loaded with a tube full 1000s of these foil/cloth like sheets,which would then be scattered(via a compressed air source) amongst satts/space debris clouds,essentially surfing their slipstream,and getting a "free ride"into orbit so to speak.

Got to be worth a try I think.
Before they make it illegal...


[edit on 13/4/2010 by Silcone Synapse]



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 03:45 PM
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reply to post by Silcone Synapse
 


It wouldn't be illegal if you got properly certified for the larger motors. Anything past a G size motor requires a certification. To even have a shot at getting something into a low orbit, you are looking at a multistage rocket consisting of at least 3 "O" motors on the first stage and probably 2 or 3 "K" or "L" motors on the second stage. Total weight of about 400 lbs for just the motors alone. Call the entire rocket at about 625 to 675 lbs.

Figure 4 balloons seperated by a light weight frame to keep the rocket stable for the flight. Don't even think of a guidance system. Then your rocket becomes a missile which has legal headaches out the ass.

Unless you hit the lottery for a few hundred thousand pounds I don't see you doing it. Powerball lottery is up to 120 million $ US. Drawing is tomorrow and I have tickets. Never know. I could put this right after me getting my A-4 Skyhawk. Come to think of it, if I were to get the Skyhawk we wouldn't need the balloons. We could drop launch the damn thing from about 50,000 ft.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 03:55 PM
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Maybe its possible to have a long cable tethered to a stationary satellite or space station and the other end tied to the ground at the departure point and travel up like a cable car .Its not that far into space ,it would be like a pressurised box with seats in it and windows ,might need a little tweaking to get right maybe send some "volunteers" first until we get it right.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 04:30 PM
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reply to post by JIMC5499
 


It is not out of the realms of possibility that we ATS folks have the capacity to achieve the permits of these high power engines.

Slowly slowly,small things can change big things IMO.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 08:42 PM
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Originally posted by Silcone Synapse

Anyway,I was thinking along with the camera and gps(for altitude),we send up a small RC plane,a cheapo one made from polystyrene/styrofoam type stuff,like this one:


Obviously the RC will not communicate over such a distance,so we rip that out,replacing it with one or two Estez type rocket engines(like the sort JIMC5499 mentioned earlier).and its own altimeter,which comms wirelessly back to our gps and then ground hopefully!


These are connected to the altimetry readings of the gps,and are set to fire at our balloons max height.
(fired via a pre charged capacitor maybe?)

Our camera is set so that it views the trajectory of our rocket equipped modified plane,which is set to lauch at approx 70-80 degree(??)


So we use the camera to watch our craft zoom up,and hopefully report back what alltitude it reaches.

Worth a try...




First, anything with "wings" will be virtually useless at extreme altitude.

Not enough air to provide lift, unless the craft is going above mach 1.


Second, for reasons of "National Security", no commercially available GPS transponder will provide a reliable signal at speeds above aprox 600 MPH: the rationale being that some "terrorist" could just walk into a neighborhood Radio Shack and pick up the biggest part of a Guided Missle navigation system if commercial GPS's weren't "speed limited".


We hacked our GPS for the "Project Spaceflight" Cheap Access To Space (C.A.T.S) prize entry, so we were able to get around the limit, but we had some top-notch EE's on our team.


Third, start working on your Amature Radio (AKA: Ham) Operator's license. Ham radio gear is relatively cheap, and it has the range you'll need. Oh, and you'll need to set a Ground Control Station for operations. If you look over the JPA web site check out the big white van with the logo on the side: They're still using that ld heap. I hear Toshiba Electronics helped with the flat screen monitors inside.


And finally, if you are really serious about launching a rocket from your rig at altitude, forget about using conventional solid fuel boosters.


Tempurature at 100K + FT and above can be below 0 degrees Farenheit. Solid fuel cracks when it gets too cold (below 32F). Craked fuel doesn't burn evenly and tends to explode.

Instead, think about using a Hybrid fuel motor, unless you can design a cheap cryonic liquid system (Good Luck!). Liquid NOX under pressure and doped butadiene might work for a hybrid.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 10:37 PM
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Originally posted by Silcone Synapse
reply to post by JIMC5499
 


It is not out of the realms of possibility that we ATS folks have the capacity to achieve the permits of these high power engines.

Slowly slowly,small things can change big things IMO.


Never meant to say it was. I was just addressing the criteria. I happen to hold a level 2 license. We do need a 3.



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