Space startup wants to sling satellites into orbit with a huge centrifuge

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,481   +2,660
That's a very good point you make. Personally, I think that all of these ideas, while having merit, cannot replace the ultimate idea of a space elevator. Space elevators will ultimately be how we travel to space because they'll be cheap, clean and gentle to use:

Also theoretically well beyond our current engineering abilities though. The strongest known material we have ever built in terms of tensile strength are carbon nanotubes.

These are manufactured on a nanometre scale, that would be a few microns high if you stacked a bunch of them or maybe a metre if made the longest single one you could. Slightly short of the 22,000 miles needed for a tether to geostationary orbit.

So you need them about 50,000 times longer and simultaneously 50 times stronger.

The technology to mass produce them, of a size practical, of a strength minimally estimated is beyond humanity for our lifetimes.

Probably never. But I try not to shut the door on science when it has given us so much so many never thought possible. I have learnt science and nature frequently outstrips human imagination. So I won't rule out some magical technology nobody has envisaged just yet.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 6,965   +5,480
That's a very good point you make. Personally, I think that all of these ideas, while having merit, cannot replace the ultimate idea of a space elevator. Space elevators will ultimately be how we travel to space because they'll be cheap, clean and gentle to use:
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A space elevator is a great idea, however, from the last that I knew, the problems are the mass of the elevator and/or the strength of the materials. On the one end, if the mass is too great, it collapses under its own weight. On the other end, if the materials are not strong enough, it breaks - I assume due to the centrifugal forces acting on the space end of it. However, that has not deterred research into the idea. https://science.nasa.gov/science-ne..., payloads, and power between Earth and space.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,481   +2,660
A space elevator is a great idea, however, from the last that I knew, the problems are the mass of the elevator and/or the strength of the materials. On the one end, if the mass is too great, it collapses under its own weight. On the other end, if the materials are not strong enough, it breaks - I assume due to the centrifugal forces acting on the space end of it. However, that has not deterred research into the idea. https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2000/ast07sep_1/#:~:text=A space elevator is essentially a long cable,people, payloads, and power between Earth and space.
The sci-fi tech I really liked was something like mass manipulation, gravity field creation etc. We know so little about gravity there is a wide open field right there completely beyond our knowledge. Behind the veil.

It seems like fiction but who knows what the future of humanity could do. If you become the master of gravity you can do whatever you want. Want to build a space ship that would have a mass of a 100,000 tonnes but you can just create a bubble where in this universe it is equivalent to 1 kilo? Sure.

You could launch it inside massive Jupiter's gravity and accelerate to a good fraction of the speed of light within a few weeks like it's nothing. That's with our existing propulsion technology on that scale. Piece of cake.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,965   +5,480
The sci-fi tech I really liked was something like mass manipulation, gravity field creation etc. We know so little about gravity there is a wide open field right there completely beyond our knowledge. Behind the veil.

It seems like fiction but who knows what the future of humanity could do. If you become the master of gravity you can do whatever you want. Want to build a space ship that would have a mass of a 100,000 tonnes but you can just create a bubble where in this universe it is equivalent to 1 kilo? Sure.

You could launch it inside massive Jupiter's gravity and accelerate to a good fraction of the speed of light within a few weeks like it's nothing. That's with our existing propulsion technology on that scale. Piece of cake.
There is recent research that I am aware of which indicates that, this is slightly off-topic, fictional warp drives might not be so fictional - though no one has done it - yet.

This article cites the following two papers
Maybe someone will start a warp-drive "kickstarter". 🤷‍♂️ :laughing:
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,958   +1,144
The Space Gun has already had a long history that could be harnessed (so why start from the beginning here with Spin?).
Off the top of my head: you can accelerate a centrifuge more slowly than you can 'accelerate' a projectile out of cannon. It would be a less violent launch
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,989   +2,338
TechSpot Elite
A space elevator is a great idea, however, from the last that I knew, the problems are the mass of the elevator and/or the strength of the materials. On the one end, if the mass is too great, it collapses under its own weight. On the other end, if the materials are not strong enough, it breaks - I assume due to the centrifugal forces acting on the space end of it. However, that has not deterred research into the idea. https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2000/ast07sep_1/#:~:text=A space elevator is essentially a long cable,people, payloads, and power between Earth and space.
Certainly that catch-22 has been an issue but I believe that with either modern or next-gen composite materials, we may finally have an answer.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 297   +259
Off the top of my head: you can accelerate a centrifuge more slowly than you can 'accelerate' a projectile out of cannon. It would be a less violent launch


I'm saying that one is vastly easier to build than the other (stadium-sized 100mx100m incredibly flat and balanced circle, versus under 50m meters of gun barrel?).

If you can modify the explosives design, they could reduce the initial impact on the cargo (that was the second link I provided, if anyone out there actually cared to Crowdfund it)
 

sauri

Posts: 30   +14
This will never work. For starters, 10,000G is the power not to just destroy any electronics, but to flat-squash it. In fact, the only thing they might deliver to the orbit this way, without destroying fully, is a ball of steel.

Could be worth it for delivering raw minerals for orbital constructions.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,958   +1,144
I'm saying that one is vastly easier to build than the other (stadium-sized 100mx100m incredibly flat and balanced circle, versus under 50m meters of gun barrel?).

If you can modify the explosives design, they could reduce the initial impact on the cargo (that was the second link I provided, if anyone out there actually cared to Crowdfund it)
You can probably never modify an explosive chemical reaction to have a 'more gentle' acceleration. If you do, then all you've done is built a rocket.

Now, a railgun would be another matter - but that have their own complications and challenges that we haven't quite solved yet. Which brings us back to a centrifuge (which, to be clear, I am also skeptical about - just less skeptical than a canon or or railgun)
 

defaultluser

Posts: 297   +259
You can probably never modify an explosive chemical reaction to have a 'more gentle' acceleration. If you do, then all you've done is built a rocket.


What's wrong with that? Amateurs launch Solid Fuel Rockets for peanuts.

And, if you ask SpaceX, the most expensive part of a rocket is certainly not the fuel...they're planning on launching full Starship for a few hundred k per
lift

if you can get enough people interested in more than just two stage artillery shells to plop down the development dollars, then you could mass-produce them at 1/100 the cost of each Falcon 9.

The gun barrels themselves are already a solved problem (Rail Guns will never be viable as artillery, let-alone space guns , due to the complex repulsion forces on the longer models)
 
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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,958   +1,144
What's wrong with that? Amateurs launch Solid Fuel Rockets for peanuts.
Nothing; just been done before, as you point out. This startup's goal seems to be to try something radically new, in the hopes that it is radically cheaper/safer/cleaner (because most rocket propellants are anything but safe or clean).
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,014   +6,823
If you can modify the explosives design, they could reduce the initial impact on the cargo (that was the second link I provided, if anyone out there actually cared to Crowdfund it)
And I agree. If they're stupid enough to continue crowd funding Star Citizen, they're way dumb enough to fully support this. (y) (Y)