Sunday, April 06, 2014


Leverage G-force concepts from the Interplanetary Volume to modify current concept of space elevator.
BACKGROUND. Current Concept of Space Elevator. This table reviews "transport via tether"; how a very long cable can provide vehicle transport from the Earth's surface into space or orbit, without large rockets.
TE Solution.  TE proposes alternative non-rocket transport method from the Earth's surface into space. Replace physical tether with virtual cable of ions.
BACKGROUND: Current Concept of Space Elevator
This concept proposes vehicle transport from the Earth's surface into space or orbit, without large rockets.

APEX ANCHOR (previously known as “counterweight”) rotates at GEO orbital velocity to maintain  high tension.  It will keep the tether taut (much like a tether ball stretching a rope from a pole).

Geostationary Orbit (GEO) Node processes climbers as they transit GEO.  GEO objects circle the globe in exactly one day.  Thus, a GEO object can"park" directly over any point of Earth's Equator.  

Co-located habitat provides comfortable quarters for over 1,000 people.  Like other habitats throughout the Solar System, it will simulate Earth's gravity via spin induced centrifugal force and obtain power from solar light reflected via attached mirrors.

Tether connects the GEO platform to both top (spaceward) and bottom (Earthward).  Earthward tether connects to Marine Anchor on Earth's equator. Spaceward end might extend to 100,000 km from Earth to Apex Anchor.  Theoretically possible, but tether seems extremely impractical.  Is there something more practical than 100,000 km of tether?

Current Climber Concept:  Use "rollers" to grab ribbon to travel up/down entire length of cable. Planners now assume climber velocity of 200 kph (130 mph) for a 7 day transit time between GEO Node and Marine Anchor.  This is 7 days of confinement, surviving on sparse supply of oxygen and other consumables, enduring low gravity and high radiation, and risking tether disaster.  Perhaps there is a quicker, safer, more comfortable way!!!

Thought Experiment (TE) Solution
Leverage G-force concepts for some useful changes.
Apex Anchor is not needed for this alternative solution.
A Geostationary Equatorial Orbit (GEO) is a circular geosynchronous orbit in the plane of the Earth's equator approximately 35,786 km above mean sea level.
A GEO platform could be available to process climbers for transit between upload and download trips.
Adjacent to the platform could be a previously discussed habitat with:
1) room for over 1,000 people;
2) simulated Earth gravity via centrifugal force from carefully controlled spin about the longitudinal axis;
3) power and light provided from Sol's light reflected via large, colocated mirrors.
Replace Extremely long, physical cable by a "virtual" cable of ions.  Thus, the permanent cable and associated problems can go away, and each climber can use on demand, particle beam to propel itself from Earth's surface to the GEO platform.

TE assumes collective particle momentum accelerates vehicle at g-force. By midway to GEO node (about 17,893 km), g-force elevator gains velocity of 18,7 km/sec (an enormous speed!!!); thus, elevator must decelerate back to 0 km/sec before it reaches GEO Node.

Climber repeatedly carries pax/cargo between GEO and base station at Earth's Equator.  
At 1G acceleration to midway (17,893 km)
and 1G deceleration from midway (17,893 km), 
climber takes 63.7 min to travel the 35,786 km between Earth surface and GEO.
Safely nestled among the retired vessels which make up Marine Anchor, a particle accelerator can generate streams of high speed ions to between platform at GEO and base station at Earth's equator.  

Negative electrons lead positive ions upward to climber’s ion collectors.  

TE speculates that properly powered propulsion of g-force elevator can use particle beam
  • to accelerate SE vehicle as required up to GEO Node (likely midway).
  • to decelerate SE vehicle as required for safe return back to Marine Anchor.
Speed Up Climber to greatly reduce:
  • travel time,
  • radiation risk
  • boredom.
SE vehicle will likely use ion beam from base station to accelerate (and decelerate) as required.

To minimize climber damage, from high speed particles, combine electromagnetic fields with on-board tokamak to store/release plasma as needed.
High Stage One might be a good way to lift climber 40 km above Base Station to start receiving particle beams.  It leverages a concept proposed by Lofstrom in 1985.
It would be an extremely tall structure (40 km high) which towers above the mesosphere but based firmly on the Earth’s surface.
Space Elevator (SE) vehicle (i.e. “climber”) and payload would routinely use electric trams to reach a 40 km high, firmly based platform which easily supports 400 metric tons.

High Stage One avoids stresses throughout Earth’s turbulent atmosphere and reduced gravity decreases weight of vehicle to facilitate vehicle propulsion via particle beams from base station.
Launch procedure still needs to be worked out such that Launch Loop does not get impacted by particle beams from base station.
SUMMARY: Change current concept of Space Elevator.  
Possible changes include:

a) Replace physical cable (carbon nanotubes) with virtual cable, ion beam, which "pushes" elevator between GEO platform and base station.
b) Replace cable climber "rollers" which grab cable's physical ribbon. Instead, use elevator’s "collector" system to capture momentum of high speed ions from base station.



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