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Aerospace Maglifter as the first stage of a space launcher

  1. Nov 14, 2009 #1
    Hi, I am an Italian student of aerospace engineering.
    I'm writing a thesis on maglifter as the first stage for a space launcher, but I can't find any recent information.
    Do you know any reliable source for my research?
    But more importantly, do you know if the project is still under investigation or has been abandoned or are being made experiments?
    Thank you very much!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 14, 2009 #2
    I think you're referring to a railgun-type launcher. The tech is out there, the US Navy got one from BAE back in '08 and I've seen several homemade ones. The biggest problem is power generation and storage. Also, launching a craft would be slightly more difficult than launching a projectile meant for destruction, simply because you can't just turn it on and fling the craft, g-forces would tear all kinds of things up. Like, I don't know, the people inside maybe, lol. Here is a link to a homemade railgun that just fires projectiles. gizmodo.com/.../diy-rail-gun-is-terrifying-comes-with-building-instructions
  4. Nov 14, 2009 #3
    Hi J.ofalltrades, I don't know much about railguns, but the Maglifter is a space launcher...generally with a guide, on the ground, composed by magnets(or SC coils) and a sled (with magnets too or SC coils) on which is put the shuttle (or payload carrier). Its configuration depends by suspension and propulsion systems.
    The question is if it will ever use as a space launcher or not... my teacher didn't tell me something about and,this is not a subject of my study, so I'm trying to get more informations I can!
    Thanks for your post!

    Another question is: what is a slipper (not the shoes)? It has to be a suspension system, but I can't find an italian name for it!

    Thanks again!
  5. Nov 14, 2009 #4
    Oh, I get it. Probably a set up like a Mag train, such as the ones in Japan. But this launcher would have a ramp at the end?
  6. Nov 14, 2009 #5
    Yes, it has a final ramp, and when it reach the final speed, it is launched! Actually it has also a traditional propulsor to reach the orbital speed!
  7. Nov 14, 2009 #6
    I found several sources calling this a "Space Tram" or Magnetic levitation launch assist.

    Here are some links

    http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6311926.html - a patent application it looks like

    http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/M/magnetic_levitation_launch-assist.html - tiny story about one built in 1999


    Last one opens a PDF. I didn't read all of these because I'm at work, but this should help you track down more links at least.
  8. Nov 16, 2009 #7
    Thank you!
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