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Launching spacecraft with ramps?

  1. May 10, 2015 #1
    Sure, it sounds silly, because it is. But would it work? Say, would the rockets use less fuel?

    And yes, I'm horrible at starting threads.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2015 #2
    If we had a long enough, strong enough ramp, then maybe. However, the ramp would have to be so steep that it'd hardly be worth using when it's possible for a rocket to take off vertically.
    So to answer your question, it could be possible, but it would not be worthwhile.
  4. May 10, 2015 #3


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    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    There are some ideas. Even a rocket sled could help, if you can refuel and reuse the sled easily. First stages burn fuel in the range of tons/second, if you can accelerate the rocket on a ramp for 10-20 seconds the rocket can get much smaller and cheaper or carry more payload at the same size.
    The downside is the increased complexity, and you need some large mountain nearby.
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