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The unsolved engineering of the "Space Ladder"

  1. Sep 6, 2017 #1
    Spent several hours reading about the approaches and methodology of engineering the conceptual idea of a space ladder. I had no idea it was such a relevant project still.
    I had a few thoughts on it though:
    1. In every proposal it seems the objective was to build a "connect a here to b up there" system.
    -I feel that it's the wrong approach. I believe the "barrel full of monkeys" approach is better.
    2. Tons of thought by very smart people on solving the material of the "cable" and engineering behind essentially overcoming the ability of the cable to maintain the stress of its own weight.
    -Why fight gravity and atmosphere? Instead envision a helium/hydrogen line that supports its own weight but also supplies hydrogen to a "hot air ballon" type stage 1, that transports the "climber" to a atmospheric platform suspended by helium (obviously requiring a piloting mechanism is needed). From there, at "stage 2", the hot air ballon craft could deploy back.
    3. At first, yes. A lot of hydrogen/helium gas may need to be used in constructing "stage 2 and stage 3" together. Stage 2, the atmospheric platform would then need to be joined to a space orbiting structure/craft.
    4. Now this portion of the connection would have to be along the lines of carbon nanotubes, however we have eliminated 60 to 80 miles of cable material length needed which = a lot less weight.
    5. 60-80 miles does not put you in a geo synchronized orbit. Perhaps this device may need to be assisted either by a type of propulsion fuel at the beginning to resist re-entry, but what about a concept of having the device fixed with a repulsion element that would "like a magnetic force" push itself away from earths gravity?
    6. Last, this device would be able to tether to a station in a stable orbit. Then the station would also have to be counterbalanced to another focal point to counteract centrifugal forces.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2017 #2

    phyzguy

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    Synchronized orbit is 25,000 miles up. Eliminating 60-80 miles of it isn't much help.
     
  4. Sep 6, 2017 #3

    phinds

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    Are you saying that you believe in anti-gravity?
     
  5. Sep 7, 2017 #4
    I do believe in oppositional magnetic force...besides.. 20 years from now when you figure out anti gravity we won't worry about it.
     
  6. Sep 7, 2017 #5
    What about the distance between the stage 2 atmospheric platform and the 60 to 80 mile mark? The altitude record for a helium balloon is 53 km, or about 33 miles.
     
  7. Sep 7, 2017 #6
    Good point. I know that some of the atmospheric balloons that get sent up for example to get images of the earth at high altitude will be affected by the conditions of the upper troposphere. For this purpose though, the typical balloon type system wouldn't be very useful.

    Is it conceivable to create a high atmospheric platform?
     
  8. Sep 7, 2017 #7

    anorlunda

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    You should read the PF guidelines. We don't allow:
    That leaves plenty of room to debate space elevators within the rules.
     
  9. Sep 7, 2017 #8
    I humbly mistook this site as a forum for open thinking and I do believe it is more geared towards academia. I apologize.
     
  10. Sep 7, 2017 #9

    phyzguy

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    Perhaps it will help you learn the difference between open thinking and fantasy.
     
  11. Sep 7, 2017 #10

    phinds

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    Thinking outside the box is an admirable activity, BUT ... first you have to learn what's IN the box.
     
  12. Sep 7, 2017 #11

    anorlunda

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    Make that a bit shorter and we would have another great PF tee shirt.
     
  13. Sep 12, 2017 #12
    Easy way to get into outer space, build a ramp so you can drive your car. Put a Cul-de-sac at the top to turn around and drive back. When the space station comes around get out of your car and take a ride on the space station. Car with magnetic tires needs to be fueled by nitrous oxide. You can even base jump and bungee jump from the ramp. 1f600.png

    21728157_279475069218443_4696824677668259599_n.jpg
     
  14. Sep 12, 2017 #13
    so....thats what you have IN the box? A giant cul-de-sac ramp? How about stacking up all of the garbage and waste the entire human race disposes of in to one giant pile. Wouldn't be surprised if it grew large enough to reach space. Not really a fantasy either, rather a brutal reality.
     
  15. Sep 12, 2017 #14

    phyzguy

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    Well, gary350's proposal is also fantasy. How could you build a ramp over 5000 miles long?

    You realize that even if you could build such a thing, that when "the space station comes around", it will go by at roughly 18,000 miles per hour? Do you propose to just grab on?
     
  16. Sep 12, 2017 #15

    rbelli1

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    Getting up there is the easy part. Going fast enough so that you miss the earth when you fall back down takes quite a bit more effort. At least at space station orbital altitude.

    BoB
     
  17. Sep 13, 2017 #16
    gary350 was not proposing anything except being sarcastic. Having said that...i thought it was funny and to be honest if there is one equation in this universe that really needs solving it's trying to maintain some levity and nonsensical humor in this world
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2017
  18. Oct 10, 2017 #17
    OK, but for the sake of argument, if the ramp was 5000 miles long, would it not "stick out" into space quite far? I would think this would give the end of the ramp a much higher "tip speed", and therefor, the question would not be how fast is the space station moving, but rather the differential between the two moving points... My understanding of the space elevator concept is that this is what would generate the centrifugal force that is supposed to hold the whole thing up in the first place...
     
  19. Oct 29, 2017 #18
    Don't forget the space elevator needs a massive counter-weight on the far end to keep it taut...
     
  20. Oct 29, 2017 #19

    rbelli1

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    Yes. That is not very far as space is concerned.

    Yes. A space elevator needs to stick out "far" to actually work. 22K+ miles to be inexact.

    BoB
     
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