Friday, March 02, 2007

Could Maglev Launches Enable Cheap Access To Space? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas

(Hat Tip: Lifeboat Foundation Blog)

With chemical rockets not exactly bringing down the price of space transport, one group of scientists from China have come up with a unique way of reducing the cost of space without losing the ships that bring us there.

( Most recently, researchers in a group including Wenjiang Yang and his colleagues from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have investigated the possibility of the "Maglifter," a maglev launch assist vehicle originally proposed in the 1980s. In this system, a spaceship would be magnetically levitated over a track and accelerated up an incline, lifting off when it reaches a velocity of 1,000 km/hr (620 miles/hr). The main cost-saving areas would come from reduced fuel consumption and the reduced mass of the spaceship.

"Magnetic levitation is a promising technology for future space transportation," Yang told "The most expensive part of space missions to low-Earth orbit is the first few seconds—getting off the ground."

This technology seems very familiar to the magnetic sled (designed by Launch Point), with the only major difference being that humans will be able to ride "this pony."

Although this is not a direct "ground to orbit" launch mechanism, it may drop prices for satellite launches and the space tourism industry, not to mention make constructing a space elevator all the more feasible.

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1 comment:

  1. Maglev on the Earth is marginal, the atmosphere gets in the way. However it is viable on the Moon, simply run some steel or aluminium rails around the inside of a medium sized crater. Lunar escape velocity is 2.38 km/s. Speed of sound is 6.1 km/s in steel and 4.877 km/s in aluminium.

    A Maglev may still be viable on Mars, escape velocity is 5.03 km/s if steel rails are used.

    The Maglevs can be solar or nuclear powered.


You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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