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Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:34 pm
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Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets 
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Post Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:34 pm
This is Startram, a proposed launch system that would use magnetic levitation trains, a 1000-mile tunnel, and a superconducting cable to reach low Earth orbit. Amazingly, we already have the technology to do it...at far less than the cost of rockets.

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http://io9.com/5892333/we-already-have- ... of-rockets

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:08 am
Had to check if it was April first or not. :lol:

Seems silly at first glance, but the concept is plausible. I think though I would put it in the Pacific somewhere, anchored to a equatorial island or atoll and oriented East to take advantage of maximum free Earth rotational velocity.

But much like any other concept of this type like beamed power, it has the fatal flaws of having lots of tough technical issues to solve, it would be extremely capital intensive (even for aerospace) before you can launch the first payload, and most lethal of all, its different.


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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:23 am
Have you read my thread? I have been working on using a maglev system to accelerate a ship to mach 1. At that point a scramjet gets the craft going fast enough to create plasma on the heat shield. At this point a system draws power from the heat on the shield and uses emf to both repel the plasma and accelerate the ship by throwing the plasma.

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:36 am
This concept overcomes the drawbacks/problems addressed in your topics by encasing the track or path of the vehicle with a "barrel" and maintaining a vacuum with in it. It terminates at a sufficient altitude to be clear of most atmospheric effect and with sufficient velocity to achieve orbit without needing on-board propulsion (i.e. the holy grail of rail gun ideas).

However a 1000 mile mag tube that climbs to 18 miles MSL is no small feat and is as equally improbable as your concept in different ways.


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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:41 am
I dont see any flaws in my idea accept not actually test firing a scale model..

I think that a small heat shield could be made that could propel itself by accelerating the envelope of plasma. Also a o2 and fuel module would probably better as the envelope :idea: would not allow any type of intake

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:54 am
Sigma wrote:
Have you read my thread? I have been working on using a maglev system to accelerate a ship to mach 1. At that point a scramjet gets the craft going fast enough to create plasma on the heat shield. At this point a system draws power from the heat on the shield and uses emf to both repel the plasma and accelerate the ship by throwing the plasma.


You still need a hell of an energy source to keep the craft accelerating. You cannot use the heat shield energy to keep it accelerating - that would be creating energy out of nothing.

Notwithstanding the technical challenges, the theory might work but how to extract energy from the heat shield? How to create a powerful enough EMF?


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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:54 pm
Well, I think a nuclear reactor, that exploited the emission of heat as light like the new M.I.T led.... like psiberserker suggested.

But its just a framework.

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:18 pm
If the reactor was nested in the heat shield, it could exploit the shield as a secondary hot side

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Sat Mar 17, 2012 4:22 am
Nuclear reactor does not get nearly hot enough unless you are suggesting an open fission or fusion reaction (a bomb). Sort of like a reverse Orion.

THAT is not ever likely.


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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Mon Mar 19, 2012 1:55 am
Why not cool a reactor with thermionics or the field effect, and have it able to move more heat then the reactor can move, no turbine etc just pure dc and heat out?

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:16 pm
Sigma wrote:
Well, I think a nuclear reactor, that exploited the emission of heat as light like the new M.I.T led.... like psiberserker suggested.

But its just a framework.
It's not a framework, it's a bunch of nifty tech you don't understand cobbled together in a blender until something usefull hopefully falls out. That LED by it'self isn't going to do anything useful for you besides efficiently adding running lights, and sparcle like a Twilight vampire. A side-effect, the superconductive thermo-electric conductance ming make a useful follow on technology in a couple years, but by people who understand how these technologies work instead of dreaming about them like lego blocks.

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:47 am
So....... why are you so aggressive?

I Know that a reactor that runs cold because it is emmiting light could possibly happen, Is there any evidence that thermionics or this field effect could not cool a reactor? If By putting x energy in from thermionic I can draw x from heat. So if I can absorb half the energy via thermionics, what is to stop you from extracting the other half via emmision? Would cooling a reactor to very low temps slow its energy release?

Another possibility would be to look to see if cooper pairs are involved in heat to light transormation.

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:58 pm
Aggressive? Why are you taking these as personal attacks? Look, your ideas, without science to back them up, are about as effective as using pyramid power to get into space. They stem from the same source, dreaming about "Designs" at the level of thinking about these technologies as modular building blocks is magic in drag.

No, there's no evidence period. It's a new technology with what looks like a useful side effect until we do some studies to determine this one way or, another. These studies are going to be done by people who understand physics the way they actually work, not as incantations with magical words like "Wave harmonics", and "Thermionics."

You want to join the space race, learn the science. I'm just sick of this scientific deiscussion always boiling down to me trying to troubleshoot a mismatch of theoretical BS. When you learn to run some actual numbers, and think about these things in realistic concepts, then you may be able to come up with a workable idea.

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:07 pm
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/24307/

I am not sure where thermionic cells are magical....... hot side.... cold side... voltage....
induced photon emmision can cool things...

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Post Re: Send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets   Posted on: Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:16 am
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=w ... _GdKbvzZbA

Thermionic cell....

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