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Engines to reach the orbit and - later - other planets

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Tue Jul 20, 2004 7:53 am
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Engines to reach the orbit and - later - other planets 
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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 02, 2004 6:04 pm
Edwards didn't say never that the space elevator is possible today.

In his report available at the NIAC site dting from 2002 he is looking at the years 2010 until 2015. He is taking into account scientific and technological progress. He is trusting this progress but not because of optimism. The reason is to give the progress that direction required for the elevator. Conscious management of technological progress for the use of space missions, space activities and space travels.

There might be some misunderstanding between Edwards an the scientist arguing against him cited a short time ago.

I don't say this to assist Edwards - I'm considerung suborbital flights as a possible source of testing nanotubes and nanotube-cables. Yes - sure - they can be tested very well on earth but space travellers or private developers of spacchips may h<ave a special incentive to make them work and find a way due to the fact that "emergency is stimulating inventions".

Edwards concepts really is including not only nanotubes and cables made of them but other materials assisting them too. The answer is "experiments, experiments, experiments"

NIAC is ordered to design future technologies that today are not possible yet but might become realistic years later.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:07 pm
Click on this link. It seems pretty feasible to me. Obvious even. Finally we can do away with re-entries and massive, crude booster rockets.

http://www.space.com/businesstechnology ... 327-1.html

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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:05 am
hello Ekkehard Augustin

It is a pitch for additional funding and i think there is no doubt about that. Neither does anyone doubt that nanotech has a promising future and will be a key element of our society in many areas, from medical to space construction.

But he is over promising by pegging it to some dates. Scientific progress does happen but it is not usually a straight arrow up. To achieve what he suggest will require breakthroughs to occur nearly every few years which is unrealistic. The person which i quoted gave his comments based on his experience in the area and judged that the breakthroughs required will NOT come so fast. I am just worried that while he is trying to get more coverage in this area, it is at the expense of scientific credibility, creating a impression of eminent success.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 03, 2004 7:03 am
It's allright - my point was that Edwards by the purpose of NIAC and by his order is forced to do some advertising and might know what the person you quoted was commenting but doesn't say it in his documents. The reason will be that those who give the budget will misunderstand it, overreact and refuse to give. The budget he requires is given from the politicians and he has to suggest that his proposal is very realistic to get money neede for the research for wether it's realistic really.

Edwards' situation is tricky and difficult. He has to convince politicians...

Partly we should take his documents in serious not too much. He might agree further to the person quoted than we think...



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Post    Posted on: Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:11 pm
Someday all payloads will be delivered to orbit via a space elevator.

That day is not soon. The cable/ribbon/shaft must reach to geosychronous orbit. I am hoping that I correctly remember that to be some 30,000 miles. The proposed material to be used in construction has not been made yet in lengths that are visible to the naked eye. That difference is huge, massive, exponentially exponential.

It's a great idea, though, and we should spend R&D money... but I think Kevin is right in that it will be something our grandchildren might see.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 09, 2004 7:09 pm
There was some talk about running out of Helium a while ago, and personally I dont believe that to be true, in an overall sense. Maybe mining from the ground maybe. He-3 should should not be considered for ballons, as it is extremely rare on earth, and relativly rare on the moon (4 parts per billion) but it is extremely valuable for nuclear fusion (doesnt exist yet) and due to being so rare could be worth up to $1 million/kg (gold is $15,000/kg) which makes mining it worth the difficulties, and also all four gas giants posess even more of this which could be mined. He-4 is common Helium and readily availabe in most planets and (duh) stars.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 09, 2004 7:22 pm
I highly recommend "Entering Space" by Robert Zubrin for this and also as a good read. Also other possibilities of propulsion that I like:
- Electric Engines; Deep Space 1 was solar electric, but nuclear electric also is a more robust design
- Antimatter; yes it does exist, but would require making it cheaply and in bulk, which probably will never happen
- Nuclear pulse; Project Orion, already tested, with conventional explosives though, and is very effecient
- Magsail; using magnetic winds to accelerate/decelerate a craft, difficult but very effecient
-Solar sail; hmmm, interesting but hard to do, need a sale miles across, and oh yah, how do you stop... ... with a magsail. :wink:
-Wormholes; just had to say it, because they are so interesting, but probably not going to happen
-Warpdrive; and yes this does (theoreticly) exist, withought precious dilitium crystals. shrink space ahead and expand space behind, so the space around the ship is moving, not the ship, also can theoreticly go faster than light sinse Einstiens laws dont prohibit space expanding/contracting faster than the speed of light, just matter.
-space elevator; already discussed, very cool, but equally hard to build
-orbital tether; similiar to space elevator but rotating, launches ships away...

so many possibilities.....


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 10, 2004 6:42 am
Warp Drives are existing only by physical formulars and require exotic matter never found anywhere in the universe yet.

A few time ago a scientist detected at least one error in the formulars behind the warp drives leaving the question wether they are really physical possible.

I only have two or three articles about the topic and they are all written in german but if someone is interested I'll tell the authors etc. and look fpr links.

On the NIAC site there are additional exotic drives and engines to be found nobody has listed here yet - it would be interesting which of all these exoticconcepts may be constructed at costs a private spacecraft firm or a private space travel frim is able to finance.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 10, 2004 12:35 pm
mskeane wrote:
Warpdrive; and yes this does (theoreticly) exist, withought precious dilitium crystals. shrink space ahead and expand space behind, so the space around the ship is moving, not the ship, also can theoreticly go faster than light sinse Einstiens laws dont prohibit space expanding/contracting faster than the speed of light, just matter.


aahh....the famed Alcubierre Drive. Maybe not as soon as some other forms of propulsion, but i'm optimistic. The exotic matter with a negative enrgy density may not have been found or made yet but scientist are already working on known cases of negetive energy such as the Casimir effect.

As for private companies using novel technologies, some are more likely to be used than others because of the infrastructure required, for example private solar sails are already on the cards. I can only see the others being used if companies a big as Boeing and Lockheed get a free reign in space.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:14 pm
yes, negative pressure and density stuff, funn....
It is also needed to create stable wormholes so if you were to somehow make it viable, youve got some nifty ways to go around the universe.
I was just kind of rambling on, but it is a very intersting topic, and the NIAC presents many more ideas; http://www.niac.usra.edu/studies/ as recommended above. I believe if I recall the Russians have tested a small solar sail, or was it just launched by them, whatever, it was on space.com. so yah... just rambling.....


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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 4:33 pm
I still believe a Rocket Based Cycle Scramjet is the most efficient way to take a ship to orbit.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Aug 11, 2004 4:58 pm
109Ace wrote:
I still believe a Rocket Based Cycle Scramjet is the most efficient way to take a ship to orbit.


Details? I assume you're talking about an airbreather that carries an extra rocket engine to give it the extra kick out of the atmosphere?

By the way, welcome to the boards! Might I ask what you're a grad student in?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 30, 2004 11:10 pm
Concerning near future development... never say never, even to nuclear engines.

It seems that the Hafnium-178 isotope has some remarkable qualities; when bombarded by soft X-ray radiation, it produces 60 times the amount of energy in Gamma radiation. The X-ray radiation causes an avalanche reaction in Hafnium nuclei, speeding up the natural decay by thousands of times; also, the reaction will cease as soon as the X-ray bombardment is stopped. The explanation I've read is really like Star Trek technobabble even down to the reactor name; "Quantum reactor". However, if it does work as reported, it will have a major impact in... well, almost anything.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:10 pm
There is a method of space propulsion perhaps similar to that of the space elevator, possibly even cheaper and readily available. There is no need for ultrastrong cables from nanotubes, the propulsion system can work with well-tested Kevlar cord just few tens miles long. See www.xprize.cz .


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 02, 2004 8:27 am
It looks a like another kind of the concept to catch a payload from an airplane by a cable coming down from a spacecraft diving into the atmosphere from orbit and then returning to space.

This concept might be much cheaper if it proves to be working.

But what about the costs of the electricity?

This concept still requires repeated propulsion for lifting without use of the nearly unexhaustable energy of space - but it might be one step to the space elevator. Perhaps the team should compete for the elevator-prize.



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