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Is a Vertical Mass Driver Possible?

  1. Apr 1, 2013 #1
    I was wondering, if a Mass Driver launching only vertically would be best used to attain escape velocity, or if it could be coupled with horizontal propulsion to reach an orbit around the earth.

    (P.S. I apologize if this sounds a tad unclear and hastily written, I lost my original post)
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2013 #2


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    I'm not sure what you are asking but there is an advantage to be gained by launching rockets at the equator.
  4. Apr 2, 2013 #3


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    There are two parts to this problem - acceleration from rest to some 'launch' velocity at the end of the mass driver, and deceleration from that velocity to some velocity at orbit or to near escape velocity at some altitude from the launch site.

    Aerodynamic heating is a major concern, as are the loads on the spacecraft.

    The benefit of a mass driver is the reduction of propellant and total mass required to get the launch going.

    The utility of a mass driver may be as a launch-assist, but one will likely need some propulsion.

    An equatorial lauch takes advantage of the earth's rotation.
  5. Apr 2, 2013 #4
    Sorry I wasn't very clear.. Assume for a second the mass driver extends up past most of the atmosphere. Would it be possible to reach L1 With as little horizontal thruster burn as possible?
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