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420chan is Getting Overhauled - Changelog/Bug Report/Request Thread (Updated April 10)
Who needs a fancy-assed space elevator anyway? Ignore Report Reply
Heinrich Olbers - Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:02:26 EST ID:VFweXWOA No.54411
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Not that I know anything about anything, but I had a few ideas to make getting into space easier, maybe, but probably not. The space elevator has a shitload of engineering challenges to surmount before it's workable. Materials challenges, construction challenges, hell even environmental challenges. Let's think outside the box.

Idea 1: We build a huge, elliptical track around the Earth that at it's nearest point passes within 75,000 feet of the highest peak (something like 100,000 feet above sea level). You take a plane to the track, load onto a spacecraft and away you go to the other end of the ellipse where you're more like 1 million feet from Earth.

Idea 2: Place a solar orbiting space station 100,000 feet outside of Earth's orbit (75,000 plus 25,000). Have the station travel just fast enough to avoid getting caught by Earth's gravity, and about once a year (or maybe not) the Earth and the station make a close pass during which cargo and passengers can be transferred from planes to the station. Rockets can then be launched from the station.

I'm sure these ideas are both bad. Very bad. The both pose engineering challenges that dwarf those of the space elevator. The important thing though is that we're thinking outside the box. What kind of bright ideas have you got?
Kocoayello !jxaL03vL/Q - Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:55:01 EST ID:Ar8ZIqLY No.54414 Ignore Report Reply


Basically what you are describing
Johan Galle - Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:55:52 EST ID:diJG2mNU No.54417 Ignore Report Reply
space escalator
Johan Galle - Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:56:43 EST ID:diJG2mNU No.54418 Ignore Report Reply
impossible to brake because then itll just become space stairs, nb.
fish - Sun, 21 Sep 2014 00:52:06 EST ID:t13h7whT No.54424 Ignore Report Reply
Temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience. nb
Karl Swarzchild - Tue, 23 Sep 2014 23:57:10 EST ID:cEGy78pj No.54434 Ignore Report Reply
just make rockets more gooder.
or engines that can function as jet engines and then rockets once they reach high enough altitudes.
Edward Barnard - Wed, 24 Sep 2014 07:46:04 EST ID:psUbi2cW No.54435 Ignore Report Reply
They're already trying just that.

About making rockets better, they're trying that too, but the gains are pretty minimal.
Henry Draper - Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:21:56 EST ID:YF1E3C5p No.54450 Ignore Report Reply
I reckon the best way to make long distance space travel more viable is to just spend a decade or two getting assloads of fuel into LEO in a big ass orbital tanker. Then do the same thing with the places our LEO depot allows us to go then boom interstellar within the century governments please contain your funding
Irwin Shapiro - Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:12:10 EST ID:ebB9xD/+ No.54452 Ignore Report Reply
Spend a couple decades burning vast amounts of resources to get less than 1% of it into orbit? That's a great way to make space travel economically less viable and fuck up the planet even more. What we need is ways to get off the planet as cheaply as possible, not brute force waste fuel.
Walter Baade - Wed, 01 Oct 2014 22:20:33 EST ID:u/gNUxAU No.54458 Ignore Report Reply
Jules Verne that shit and fire all non-fragile items into orbit with a giant goddamned cannon.
Kip Thorne - Wed, 01 Oct 2014 22:36:06 EST ID:F4bhmJIC No.54459 Ignore Report Reply
chemical rockets are already extremely efficient and arent going obsolete soon, if ever. so what if you can only lift a small percent of the weight of the fuel, theres plenty of it - rockets can run on hydrogen and oxygen, both of which you can make from water, which wont fuck up the planet even if we use it by the bucket loads.

the problem is cheap energy that will separate oxygen from hydrogen and fool proof technology that will make space flight a less risky investment.
Walter Baade - Thu, 02 Oct 2014 10:16:45 EST ID:YHjXylC8 No.54464 Ignore Report Reply
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That's actually really difficult. There's a reason all very fast aircraft only go very fast when they're very high, go up only 10 km and you've got 1/5th the pressure.

The major expense in rockets isn't fuel, it's rockets. Though fuel is most of the mass, it's less than 1% of the cost.

A SSTO would do much more to lower costs than cheaper fuel.
We could use an energy source a few thousand times denser. <5% of the saturn V was rocket. The rest was fuel.
Arthur Eddington - Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:31:51 EST ID:1rmrngAY No.54469 Ignore Report Reply
You're all still thinking inside the box. Six corners in three dimensional space. As for the space elevator, why does it need to just go straight up from a fixed point to nowhere in particular? Why not tether it to the moon, have the earthbound side slide along an enormous, globe-encircling track, factor in some +/- for variability in the distance of the moon over time, and go to the moon instead of LEO? I know it's a butt load more complex an engineering task than just going straight up, but it also kills two birds with one stone, namely the track that the elevator runs around on doubles as a planet-girdling superhighway.

But seriously, start thinking outside of the mother effing box! No rocket convoys to LEO fuel depots, no plane-rocket hybrids, and WTF no stupid launch cannons (thank you very much Mr Steampunk)
Vera Rubiin - Fri, 03 Oct 2014 21:36:25 EST ID:XJHlYsmW No.54470 Ignore Report Reply
>But seriously, start thinking outside of the mother effing box!

Better to think inside the box that is reality than outside of it.
I predict we'll have FTL before we ever have a space elevator.
James Christy - Sat, 04 Oct 2014 03:02:39 EST ID:YHjXylC8 No.54471 Ignore Report Reply
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You really don't need much fuel for a very high dV if you've the proper engine once you're in orbit.
Virtually nothing if you use gravity assists and Lagrange points.
Roger Penrose - Sun, 05 Oct 2014 20:45:37 EST ID:CSdYKNqU No.54479 Ignore Report Reply
Well for one the Moon isn't just in some perfect circular orbit with the earth thats entirely symmetrically on all sides and angles.
Harlow Shapley - Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:44:48 EST ID:u/gNUxAU No.54491 Ignore Report Reply
I bet it would be easier and cheaper to build a gun that fires it's payload however far it takes to get it into orbit than it is to rocket it up there.
George Airy - Wed, 08 Oct 2014 20:45:04 EST ID:1rmrngAY No.54492 Ignore Report Reply
>factor in some +/- for variability in the distance of the moon
Robert Wilson - Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:42:20 EST ID:ru24LBy8 No.54494 Ignore Report Reply
>Why not tether it to the moon
Because there is no hint that a material with the tensile strength to do so could exist.
Karl Jansky - Sat, 11 Oct 2014 00:17:08 EST ID:moirIfsX No.54496 Ignore Report Reply
too bad the kinetic input would liquify any passengers though...
Daniel Kirkwood - Sun, 09 Nov 2014 09:39:39 EST ID:Kc+YGl6y No.54645 Ignore Report Reply
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> more gooder
John Wheeler - Sun, 09 Nov 2014 23:03:16 EST ID:Y4Cx7lpS No.54646 Ignore Report Reply
now, I'm just kinda spit balling here, instead of a space elevator, what if we space..... escalator.

eh? ehhhhhhh??

ok, well I tried.
Joseph Lockyer - Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:38:21 EST ID:Vw7qtBK2 No.54656 Ignore Report Reply
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space elevator
Karl von Weizsacker - Mon, 17 Nov 2014 19:35:09 EST ID:u/gNUxAU No.54701 Ignore Report Reply
Passengers, yeah, but fuck the passengers, bring them up there in space shuttles or something AFTER you've already chucked the materials up there with lethal velocity. Seriously. Build a sturdy ass series of spherical units, fire them all up there, and then send a couple guys up to link them together. You'd have something four times the size of the international space station and you won't have had to bring it up with the dudes.
Johan Galle - Tue, 18 Nov 2014 23:31:02 EST ID:Zbe0PVOU No.54702 Ignore Report Reply
That's not a bad idea. Maybe like a massive rail gun. I think it's way more feasible than a space elevator, as neat as that might have sounded.
Riccardo Giacconi - Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:11:53 EST ID:d7Dhf0QA No.54711 Ignore Report Reply
Indeed. That reminds me of this guy:
It sounded like he had a pretty solid plan for the future, but then nothing was heard from quicklaunch again and the website has been taken offline now.

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