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Can we send satellites to space with balloons?

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posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:09 PM
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Boy sends camera to edge of space.

So maybe this is a silly question, and I'm by no means a physics person but is it possible to use weather balloons to get satellites part of the way to space, and then use a smaller, more efficient booster engine to get it the rest of the way there rather than using giant rocket engines?

Is this possible? Would it be more financially efficient?




posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:12 PM
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As yourself, what do balloons use to float? When there is no more air, do you think a balloon will still rise up into space?



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:14 PM
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Again, not saying all the way to space --- but we can get whether balloons pretty high up, front there use a small but powerful booster rocket of some sort to go the rest of the way. Would it be more efficient than launching from the ground or cost effective or even possible? Weight of course being an issue.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:14 PM
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Originally posted by schuyler
As yourself, what do balloons use to float? When there is no more air, do you think a balloon will still rise up into space?
I was thinking that, and then I read the post


The idea is that you would use balloons to get it up in the athmosphere, and then use rockets for the rest of the way.

The balloons would have to be absolutely massive, probably too big to contemplate being worth it.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:16 PM
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Agreed. That was something I considered. However another though, could you use a small engine combined with the lift of the balloon to use less fuel? Or perhaps something similar to a hot air balloon?

Obviously this is way outside the box here.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:17 PM
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Has been used as a launch method by research agencies for decades. Google "balloon rocket launch".



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:19 PM
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reply to post by dainoyfb
 


Rockoons

Yah. Google. Amazing thing. ::face palm, note to self for the future, lol::

But it doesn't seem like it's being used nearly as much as it could.

Possible conspiracy here: Are balloon launches less of a spectacle and too silly sounding for Nasa to use/research? Going out on a limb here. LOL.
edit on 12-9-2012 by powerdrone because: typo.

edit on 12-9-2012 by powerdrone because: another typo.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:27 PM
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reply to post by powerdrone
 


i think the answer (or relevent info at least) is in this earlier thread based on the same report

www.abovetopsecret.com...




It would need to enter an orbit fast enough to counter gravity. That takes lots of energy. Way more than you can fit in that foam box of his.




"Because of the atmosphere it is not useful and hardly possible to give an object near the surface of the Earth a speed of 11.2 km/s (40,320 km/h), as these speeds are too far in the hypersonic regime for most practical propulsion systems and would cause most objects to burn up due to atmospheric friction or be torn apart by atmospheric compression. For an actual escape orbit a spacecraft is first placed in low Earth orbit (160–2,000 km) and then accelerated to the escape velocity at that altitude, which is a little less — about 10.9 km/s. The required change in speed, however, is far less because from a low Earth orbit the spacecraft already has a speed of approximately 8 km/s."


hope this helps, cant take any credit for it tho



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:32 PM
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Originally posted by schuyler
As yourself, what do balloons use to float? When there is no more air, do you think a balloon will still rise up into space?


reading comprehension is a lost art and I know that his post was a whole paragraph but come on..

I like the idea op. Besides saving the energy for all that distance there are a few other energy saving pieces in this equation.

1) air density/drag... the air density would be much less the higher you get up, so any rocket would have less molecules to run into slowing it down.

2) Gravity. The further you get away from center of mass the weaker the pull is that you are trying to escape. meaning that you will effectively weigh less the higher you get.
edit on 9/12/2012 by Dustytoad because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:33 PM
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Since space programs of US/Russia are just "side effects" of developing weapons (ballistic missilies) - slow relatively inacurate baloon delivery systems were not prioritised.
Thus now we have relatively reliable well developed expensive system that can be used to launch very very expensive unique cargo with limited tonnage. Using much cheaper but much less developed inacurate delivery system to launch the same very very expensive unique cargo with even more limited tonnage can backfire very fast.
I guess those are the reasons that it is not used by big players in space.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:34 PM
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reply to post by powerdrone
 


It's not particularly practical for many types of launches for a number of technical reasons. There is a practical limit to the rocket weight. It is difficult to orientate the rocket to a workable launch location and to the correct attitude during the launch sequence. It is also difficult to retrieve the rocket safely if a fault detection causes shutdown prior to launch which happens nearly half the time.

edit on 12-9-2012 by dainoyfb because: of typos.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:38 PM
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It's not practicable since the main problem, requiring escape velocity to be able to leave Earth would still exist - putting a rocket high into the atmosphere would not really make things easier. (Such a height would be reached by a conventional rocket launch within 30 secs or so anyway, just guessing.) Then add the problem of bringing any load first high into the atmosphere before actual launch....it might actually things more expensive/complicated and the benefit is simply not there.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:45 PM
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I do not know allot about rockets and balloons. But I would think sending something floating so high and expecting to then control it would be adding extra risk.. Don't they apply hours upon hours of mathematics just to launch from a stable platform??
Therian



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:46 PM
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Originally posted by powerdrone
Again, not saying all the way to space --- but we can get whether balloons pretty high up, front there use a small but powerful booster rocket of some sort to go the rest of the way. Would it be more efficient than launching from the ground or cost effective or even possible? Weight of course being an issue.


Weight is the biggest issue. You have to fill the balloon with something. If it is helium, you can get a lifting force of about 1 gram per liter. The space shuttle without SRBs and without main engine fuel weighs 230,000 pounds. That is 104 million grams. So you'de need 104,000 liters of helium. The US only produces about a billion liters per year. So one launch usus more than 10 % of all the helium the US produces. And the size of such a balloon. It would have to b 3,672,725 cubic feet. That's a third of the size of Madison Square Garden in NYC.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by F4guy

Originally posted by powerdrone
Again, not saying all the way to space --- but we can get whether balloons pretty high up, front there use a small but powerful booster rocket of some sort to go the rest of the way. Would it be more efficient than launching from the ground or cost effective or even possible? Weight of course being an issue.


Weight is the biggest issue. You have to fill the balloon with something. If it is helium, you can get a lifting force of about 1 gram per liter. The space shuttle without SRBs and without main engine fuel weighs 230,000 pounds. That is 104 million grams. So you'de need 104,000 liters of helium. The US only produces about a billion liters per year. So one launch usus more than 10 % of all the helium the US produces. And the size of such a balloon. It would have to b 3,672,725 cubic feet. That's a third of the size of Madison Square Garden in NYC.


Thanks for the imagery.

I just imagined a space shuttle with a huge balloon on it floating through the sky.

Something new every day, that was fun, thanks for the mental gymnastics.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:50 PM
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reply to post by powerdrone
 


This exact thread was posted earlier.. The OP of that thread even asked the question you did verbatim. I'm just stating the fact, we could add to his thread since he did post first.. Also your mammoth DNA thread was posted already earlier too and you were even a part of it.. Out of respect for those OPs maybe you could add your opinions to their threads instead of creating your own? Just a thought.. Your choice though.,



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 02:55 PM
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The way I look at it is through the "gas and liquid are both Fluid" perspective.

And since gas acts as a fluid, than we can use the word "float" in a relevant way.

To "float" an object needs a more dense or heavier object underneath it to grant "buoyancy".

Once the termination point between the upper atmosphere and outer space is reached, there is no more material to act as a buoyancy facilitator.

So you could in theory reach the edge, but you cannot go beyond it.
This is very similar to the concept that a submarine can reach the surface of the ocean but cannot lift itself beyond that.

In order to pass the termination point of the atmosphere (or even the surface of the ocean), you need propulsion that will push the object beyond it's limitations.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 03:04 PM
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A satellite has to achieve very high horizontal speed in order to orbit the Earth. This requires a lot of fuel, more than what can be lifted by baloons. Also, there's a matter of controlling the trajectory exactly, which you can't do with a baloon launch. Satellites don't just go up and hang there. If you've seen the Shuttle launch you know that the rocket goes in a progressively flattening arc, and the last few minutes are spent flying almost horizontally to reach the required speed.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 03:04 PM
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Good points so far on how high and how difficult it would be to use balloons. Although one would not need to lift an entire space shuttle off the ground - just the satellite and the "upper stages" needed to get it into its orbital position, so there would be somewhat less helium needed, though it wouls still be a large amount.

It seems the idea if for getting satellites to a height that could reduce the energy expenditure and costs to get it into orbit. Instead of using balloons, Spaceship One uses a carrier plane to lift the rocket higher before its own engines take it into space. I think the US Air Force has something called Pegasus that can be carried by a modified B-52 bomber and launched at a high altitude to take a satellite into orbit.

Then again, we could go with the proposed space elevator to take satellites all the way out so that they would just need positioning rockets to move them to their desired orbits once they're up there.



posted on Sep, 12 2012 @ 03:17 PM
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reply to post by Katharos62191
 


I honestly did not see them. Wasn't trying to hijack their threads.
To be honest, now looking at it, I didn't see him pose this question that I did. Rather he was pointing out the awesomeness of this kid (which I agree).
edit on 12-9-2012 by powerdrone because: Second thoughts.



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