Author Topic: Space Track Launch System  (Read 37608 times)

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #80 on: 02/25/2012 11:04 PM »
Well I think you're off your rocker ....
  Probably, but since no one has convinced me that my physics is wrong, I'll continue on.

  I'm working on a first generation system that uses currently available materials. The ribbon material is either Spectra 2000 or Kevlar 49. Since the ribbon makes up the majority of the mass, I've had to introduce a new flexible ribbon model. Instead of a constant angle with respect to the axis of rotation as with a CNT ribbon, the ribbon has a definite curvature. In other words, each 100 m ribbon segment makes a slightly different angle with respect to the axis of rotation. The angle the ribbon makes with the axis of rotation has an impact on the tension in the ribbon, the mass of each ribbon segment, and the total mass of the ribbon. I've updated my web site. You can review the paper covering the flexible ribbon model by clicking on the concept paper link.

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #81 on: 09/04/2012 12:19 AM »
I am proposing a 25 km proof of concept tower. Because of atmospheric heating the ribbon is only 2 km long. It is long enough to demonstrate most of the capabilities of the Space Track Launch System. The counterweight is about 25 metric tons and reels in and out for maintenance, repair, and down time. The second stage is a single place suborbital launch vehicle about the size of the Mercury capsule.  The tower is made of Kevlar inflatable beams 1.5 km long and 2 m in diameter. The beams mass about 10 metric tons each making maintenance, repair, and/or replacement possible. It is stabilized by four sets of guy wires radially out from the base about 14 km. There are 24 beams at the top and 600 beams at the bottom. Ground loading is about 200 psi. I've updated my website. For more details, visit www.fisherspacesystems.com, click on the concept papers button, and review the Proof of Concept pdf. Your comments are welcome.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #82 on: 09/04/2012 12:56 AM »
What's your cost estimate?
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline ptolemy1977

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #83 on: 09/04/2012 07:58 AM »
How do you propose building the tower when it is 2 magnitudes taller than anything ever built?

That's a good question. Much, much research and development is required for this to be feasible. For a second generation tower, the tower will be approximately 150 km tall and support an estimated 3,100 metric tons. The tower will precess since it will be located anywhere from 0o to 50o north latitude. (What aerospace company wants to operate out of the north pole?) IMO, a tower under tension is the only possibility. Several authors have theorized on the possibility of tall support towers (references below).

The analysis for the support tower relies heavily on the work presented in "Feasibility of a 20 km Free-Standing Inflatable Space Tower" by R. K. Seth, B. M. Quine, and Z. H. Zhu. For the case of a second generation system, the material of choice is a carbon nanotube material with a working tensile strength of 25 GPa. The tower would be filled with hydrogen from 20 km to 150 km and helium from 0 km to 20 km. The top 10 km of tower will have to be pressurized to 4.8 x 105 N/m2. The pressure will increase as more mass is added to the tower. The initial design of the tower is in 10 km increments for the hydrogen fill and 5 km increments for the helium fill. Guy wires will be attached to retard the precession. Unfortunately, due to the elasticity of the CNT cable, the tower will sway an estimated 10 km southward with a period of 4.4 minutes. Strong stomachs are advised.

References

Fisher, J.F., 2011, Space Track Launch System - Tower, www.fisherspacesystems.com

Smitherman Jr., D.V., 2000, Space Elevators: An Advanced Earth-Space Infrastructure for the New Millennium, MASA/CP-2000-210429

Seth, R.K., Quine, B.M., and Zhu, Z.H., 2009, Feasibility of 20 Km Free-Standing Inflatable Space Tower, JBIS, Vol. 62. pp. 342-353, 2009

Bolonkin, A.A., 2003, Optimal Inflatable Space Towers with 3-100 km Height, JBIS, Vol. 56, pp. 87-97, 2003


I was just reviewing an article on Physicist Robert L. Forward's Space Fountain. This structure does not depend upon material strength to build tall structures but rather is a device which has as its characteristic that it can support a structure of any height! Its function is described in the articles below, essentially however it uses superconducting magnets to keep small conductive particles in constant motion to support the structure via a transfer of momentum, see below.  This should be a much cheaper mechanism to large structures or even a tether.

Please, see the following links for further information:

Space Fountain:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_fountain
http://orbitalvector.com/Orbital%20Travel/Space%20Fountains Space%20Fountains.htm
http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030714/orbital_railroads.shtml

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #84 on: 09/04/2012 12:01 PM »
What's your cost estimate?

It is still to soon to say. I'm still defining the system. I don't want a ball park figure. I can pull something out of the air and make it sound competitive but that would be worthless. I want to do a detailed cost analysis and then compare it with the new commercial systems such as SpaceX. The SpaceX system has real cost associated with it. SpaceX and other companies that are competing for the commercial launch business are my real competitors. I first need to convince myself that the Space Track Launch System is cost competitive before I proceed. It may not be.

Offline FinalFrontier

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #85 on: 09/04/2012 12:22 PM »
Really doubt this would ever work. Seen this sort of thing before.
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Offline JohnFornaro

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #86 on: 09/04/2012 07:02 PM »
Well I think you're off your rocker .... but I hope the permitting goes smoothly ...
  Probably, but since no one has convinced me that my physics is wrong, I'll continue on.

Unfortunately, you left out part of DCPorter's comment, which I bolded.  There may not be anything wrong with your physics equation.  You can't build it without a permit.  Or a cost estimate.  Or the engineering particulars of how such a tall tower would be constructed.

But hey.  What do I know?
Sometimes I just flat out don't get it.

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #87 on: 09/06/2012 12:17 PM »
Really doubt this would ever work. Seen this sort of thing before.
Where? Please post your references. We can debate this further if I know what you are referring to.

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #88 on: 03/17/2013 10:12 PM »
     To build a 25 km support tower for the proof of concept system, first I have to build a 1.5 km multi-beam construction tower. I propose using four relatively thick inflated beams evenly spaced around the circumference of the first level, one construction beam (CB) per cluster. The beams will be thicker because of the stress placed on them by climbers. The critical buckling load limits the height of a single inflated beam to about 500 m. The beam is divided into five 100 m air cells. Each cell has an independent air supply. The beam is inflated 100 m at a time. The climber climbs the first 100 m and the beam is stabilized with guy wires and ribbons attached to the climber (atch #1). The second 100 m is inflated, the climber climbs that 100 m, and stabilizes the beam (atch #2). The process is repeated until all five 100 m air cells are inflated and the beam is stabilized. Construction begins on all four clusters at the same time.

     Once stabilized, a beam inspection, maintenance, and equipment repair, robot (BIMERR) ascend the ribbon attached to the climber. The BIMERR carries a monorail section and installs it on top of the 500 m CB. The BIMERR returns to ground level. Two BIMERRs carry a rail car to the top and place it on the monorail section. Ribbons are also attached to the rail car. Two BIMERRs climb the ribbons attached to the rail car guiding the inflation of another CB with a monorail section attached to the top. Once inflated, the monorail sections are connected. The rail car moves over to provide support for the BIMERRs to inflate the next support CB with a monorail section. The process is repeated until all 50 beams on the cluster are inflated. When the four clusters are connected, the CBs become part of a mult-beam structure and the critical buckling load increases by six orders of magnitude.

     The second 500 m layer and the third 500 m layer are completed using the same procedure resulting in a 1.5 km mult-beam construction tower with a critical buckling load of ten to the ninth newtons. BIMERRs bring up sections of the first level interface ring and assemble them over the construction tower. BIMERRs guide the inflation of 1.5 km support beams and attach them to the interface ring (atch #3). The CBs are deflated and moved to ground level. Support beams are inflated to fill the vacancy left by the CBs and the first 1.5 km level of the 25 km support tower for the proof of concept system is complete (atch #4).

     The CBs are moved to the next level to construct the second level of the support tower. The procedure is repeated until all 16 levels of the support tower are completed. BIMERRs bring up sections of the elevator support structure, assemble the structure, and drop elevator ribbons to ground level. Construction crews travel to the top of the tower and assemble the rest of the system and proof of concept begins.

     A more detailed description of the proposed construction technique can be found in the concept papers section of www.fisherspacesystems.com under the title Proof of Concept System - Addendum A - Tower Construction.
« Last Edit: 03/18/2013 10:24 PM by Jerry Fisher »

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #89 on: 06/10/2013 12:42 PM »
The Critical buckling load is the main design driver for the 1.5 km support beams of the Space Track Launch System and is the main reason for using 500 m inflated beams for the construction tower. I was using the elastic modulus of Kevlar to design both the support tower and the construction tower. According to the results in Task #1, increasing pressure has a minimal effect on the elastic modulus of the Kevlar/Mylar inflated beam. The elastic modulus was an order of magnitude less than the material modulus of Kevlar. In the Euler equation, the critical buckling load is directly proportional to the material modulus.

In the 1960s, NASA was interested in inflated beams for satellites, space stations, and reentry vehicles. W.B. Fichter, NASA Langley Research Center wrote a NASA technical note titled "A Theory for Inflated Thin-Wall Cylindrical Beams" in which he derived a theory which indicates that the radius of the beam has a more significant impact on the elastic modulus of the Kevlar/Mylar beam than pressure. The radius of the tested beam was 6 cm. The radius of the support tower is 1 m. I'll be exploring this variable in the next research task.

Go to my updated web site at fisherspacesystems.com to review my end of task report (ETR20130510) in more detail.

Offline gbaikie

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #90 on: 06/11/2013 02:45 AM »
The Critical buckling load is the main design driver for the 1.5 km support beams of the Space Track Launch System and is the main reason for using 500 m inflated beams for the construction tower. I was using the elastic modulus of Kevlar to design both the support tower and the construction tower. According to the results in Task #1, increasing pressure has a minimal effect on the elastic modulus of the Kevlar/Mylar inflated beam. The elastic modulus was an order of magnitude less than the material modulus of Kevlar. In the Euler equation, the critical buckling load is directly proportional to the material modulus.

In the 1960s, NASA was interested in inflated beams for satellites, space stations, and reentry vehicles. W.B. Fichter, NASA Langley Research Center wrote a NASA technical note titled "A Theory for Inflated Thin-Wall Cylindrical Beams" in which he derived a theory which indicates that the radius of the beam has a more significant impact on the elastic modulus of the Kevlar/Mylar beam than pressure. The radius of the tested beam was 6 cm. The radius of the support tower is 1 m. I'll be exploring this variable in the next research task.

I can't say I grasp the details of this concept.

Generally it seems you want to put a rocket at higher elevation.

Also seems like you want to use air pressure with large structures, and for large structures, and 30 psi a quite a significant pressure.

A way I would begin to look at it, is that if dealing with such large structures would be to make them float.

A problem with lighter than vehicle is they must be big- but also if something needs to be bigger it's easier design it to float.

Or if going to go to the trouble to encase entire city in glass, it not much a of leap to go to the floating the entire city- Buckminster Fuller stuff:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_city_%28science_fiction%29
But encasing a city in dome, isn't cheap or easy, but I mean if going to such extreme it's not much added to it.

So just building an entire city is hard, putting dome on it is hard to do, but in comparison to that scale of difficulty, making a floating city not much harder.
Particularly, if lots of people actually really wanted to live in a floating city [for whatever reasons].

Now, as I said elsewhere, making any structure 5 km high could be desirable as restaurant.
Could make more money selling food than launching rockets. And restaurant business is tough business to be profitable. Though having safe rocket launches and restaurant might be winning combination.

So a structure +5 km high and say less than billion dollars seems like it
could be marketed for various purpose. A 1000 tons is big restaurant- if this mass is mostly customers and kitchen.

Location of such structure is important for restaurant or for launching rockets. So where a 25 km or 150 km tall structure be placed?
For instance, the equator is generally good for rockets to get to GEO.

More specifically I would like to get more information about buckling and thin-walled structures. And without reading the book [which I would like to get] it's not surprising that pressure doesn't help much in terms of buckling and larger diameter [and pressure] is more significant.
Though there seems there some limit in terms very large diameters. By which I mean a very large diameter becomes less curved more similar to a flat structure.
Though I am more interested in metal rather than Mylar.
So thing I am interested in is say 20 meter diameter 1/2 steel thick wall
and 20 meter tall- that would require massive amount of load [far more than 1000 tons] to make it buckle, though much less, if 100 meter tall. Pressure would help a little bit- but I assume not much.
And making the large cylinder from smaller cylinders- one is simply adding more material, but also increasing the curved surfaces- making the large cylinder less like a flat surface.


Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #91 on: 06/14/2013 11:46 AM »
What's your cost estimate?
It is still to soon to say. I'm still defining the system. I don't want a ball park figure. I can pull something out of the air and make it sound competitive but that would be worthless. I want to do a detailed cost analysis and then compare it with the new commercial systems such as SpaceX. The SpaceX system has real cost associated with it. SpaceX and other companies that are competing for the commercial launch business are my real competitors. I first need to convince myself that the Space Track Launch System is cost competitive before I proceed. It may not be.

It's never too soon to make a cost estimate.

You can make a rough order-of-magnitude estimate of costs that is neither a detailed cost analysis nor something out of the air.  Then you can continue to refine the cost estimate as you go.

My guess would be you'll find the cost with current technology is at least a thousand times the cost of putting the same payload into orbit with existing expendable launch vehicles, even assuming there's a market for the several tons per day you're talking about.

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #92 on: 06/16/2013 12:09 PM »
I can't say I grasp the details of this concept.

Generally it seems you want to put a rocket at higher elevation.

Also seems like you want to use air pressure with large structures, and for large structures, and 30 psi a quite a significant pressure.

A way I would begin to look at it, is that if dealing with such large structures would be to make them float.

   Launching a rocket at a higher elevation contributes about 3-4% of the total mechanical energy for orbit. It is true there is an increase in rocket performance due to reduced air pressure but, in my opinon, the advantages do not justify the expense. Therefore, floating a rocket to high altitude is not the solution.

   To justify the expense, the second stage launching from the Space Track Launch System (STLS) has a significant kinetic energy and, along with the potential energy, contributes about 12-13% of the total orbital mechanical energy. The rest of the orbital energy comes from the chemical energy stored in the launch vehicle. Also, the STLS can launch up to six launch vehicles a day. Of course, the present market will not support six launches a day but, the day is fast approaching when it will (e.g. Deep Space Industries, Planetary Resource, NSS Roadmap, etc.).

   Finally, the working pressure for the inflated beams is about 130 psig and, as stated, is quite a significant pressure. I've had my test beams over 70 psig and it was a little nerve racking. Getting the beams up to 130 psig and holding that pressure for up to a year or more is one of many challenges.
« Last Edit: 07/16/2013 12:05 PM by Jerry Fisher »

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #93 on: 06/23/2013 02:31 PM »
It's never too soon to make a cost estimate.

You can make a rough order-of-magnitude estimate of costs that is neither a detailed cost analysis nor something out of the air.  Then you can continue to refine the cost estimate as you go.

My guess would be you'll find the cost with current technology is at least a thousand times the cost of putting the same payload into orbit with existing expendable launch vehicles, even assuming there's a market for the several tons per day you're talking about.

   Nah! It is still way to soon to make a cost estimate besides, what's the big rush? I've just started my research and have at least 5-10 years of research ahead of me. There are many technical issues to be resolved any one of which could doom the Space Track Launch System (STLS).

   The recent results on the test beam show that the elastic modulus is an order of magnitude less than what I used in the design of the first generation STLS. Since the critical buckling load is directly proportional to the elastic modulus, the buckling load is 10 times less than the design value. Therefore, the elastic modulus of an inflated beam using Kevlar 49 is a big technical issue.

   Kevlar 49 is one of the cheapest readily available high strength fabrics I could find. Spectra 2000 (TM) is 10 times more costly and graphene is about 100 times more costly (and they are not yet readily available). This fact alone blows an order of magnitude cost estimate out of the water (or out of orbit). If the elastic modulus of the inflated beam does not increase with radius, the first generation tower using Kevlar 49 may not be possible. I'll have to reduce the length of the inflated beams (which means more beams) or go with more costly materials. My research is my hobby and hobby funds are limited.

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #94 on: 07/01/2013 10:42 AM »
Or if going to go to the trouble to encase entire city in glass, it not much a of leap to go to the floating the entire city- Buckminster Fuller stuff:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_city_%28science_fiction%29
But encasing a city in dome, isn't cheap or easy, but I mean if going to such extreme it's not much added to it.

So just building an entire city is hard, putting dome on it is hard to do, but in comparison to that scale of difficulty, making a floating city not much harder.
Particularly, if lots of people actually really wanted to live in a floating city [for whatever reasons].

   I am not sure what you are referring to. I have no plans to enclose an entire city in a glass dome. However, a floating city at 5N125W is an option. This lat/long is near the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), has a very mild weather pattern, and is near enough to the equator to give an extra 0.4 % of the total orbital energy required.

   The inflated beams at the base of a second generation system have a load of about 200-400 psi and would sink approximately 200-300 m below the surface of the water. The radius at the base of the tower would be about 500-600 m (large enough for a small city) and the six sets of guy wires anchoring the torque buffer and support tower would fan out to a radius of about 100 km. It is possible that a water based tower could be constructed by inflating the beams below water making construction of the tower relatively easier. After looking into it some, building the Space Track Launch System in the pacific ocean on the equator compared to building the tower in the continental United States has a lot of advantages.

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #95 on: 07/08/2013 01:50 PM »
Now, as I said elsewhere, making any structure 5 km high could be desirable as restaurant.
Could make more money selling food than launching rockets. And restaurant business is tough business to be profitable. Though having safe rocket launches and restaurant might be winning combination.

So a structure +5 km high and say less than billion dollars seems like it
could be marketed for various purpose. A 1000 tons is big restaurant- if this mass is mostly customers and kitchen.

Location of such structure is important for restaurant or for launching rockets. So where a 25 km or 150 km tall structure be placed?
For instance, the equator is generally good for rockets to get to GEO.

   I'll let someone else handle a 5 km high restaurant. I plan on having a research station at the top of my tower. The station will be staffed intermitently by 5-10 researchers. All of the researchers will be fully qualified on emergency procedures to handle any anticipated emergencies. I'll have my hands full just getting this through the regulatory process. I can't imagine the emergency procedures and regulations required for 150-200 customers and staff (no matter what the altitude).

   As is currently planned, launching spacecraft off the Space Track Launch System (STLS) involves a temporary situation where the spacecraft is taken to the top and thrown off once every 6-8 hours. The first generation system will launch a single place orbital spacecraft. The pilot may require several technicians to assist with the launch. The second generation system will have a pilot and 6-8 passengers on board the orbitial spacecraft with several technicians to assist in the launch and the boarding of the passengers. Again, all STLS employees will be fully qualified to handle anticipated emergencies. The passengers will have classroom instructions before the flight on their roles in the event of an emergency.

Offline Andrew_W

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #96 on: 10/30/2013 07:56 AM »
I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years.
Wilbur Wright

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #97 on: 05/01/2014 05:14 PM »
   The guy wires for extremely tall towers is one of several obstacles for the Space Track Launch System. Guy wires of constant cross section are not practical. The solution is to taper the guy wire and construct it from the top down during each phase of construction. Theoretically, a tapered Kevlar cable 50 cm wide could be used for the 25 km proof of concept system. Going to a tapered Kevlar cable would increase the dynamic load on the proof of concept tower by a factor of five. As such, the tower design needs to be updated. Further details can be found in the attachment below.

Offline Jerry Fisher

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Re: Space Track Launch System
« Reply #98 on: 05/04/2016 09:37 PM »
  I'd like to introduce the Phoenix suborbital launch vehicle (SLV). The concept design for the Phoenix SLV is shown in the figure below.

  The Phoenix SLV is a manned second stage launch vehicle designed to launch from the Space Track Launch System proof of concept tower. The proof of concept system will demonstrate the launch of a second stage suborbital launch vehicle with separation from an overcarraige on a rotating ribbon. After separation from the overcarraige, the Phoenix SLV will accelerate and coast to an altitude greater than 100 km, deploy and reenter using a paraglider, and land on a conventional runway.

  The Phoenix SLV can also be designed to launch from any 20-25 km free standing tower such as the Space Elevator tower recently patented by Thoth Technology Inc. (Quine, Brendan, M., Space Elevator, Patent No. US 9,085.897 B2, Thoth Technology Inc., Jul 21, 2015).

  Two advances make the Phoenix possible. First, a standard design pressure fed hydrogen peroxide (HTP)/E85 rocket engine using mixed metal oxides (MMO) as the catalyst. With the MMO, 98% HTP can be used for the oxidizer. HTP is room temperature storable and high density. As such, the Phoenix can be made to be low cost, simple, and reusable.

  The second advance is the flexible thermal protection system (FTPS) developed by NASA (Calomino, A.M., Dec, J.A., Del Corso, J.A., Sullivan, R.M., Baker, E.H., Bonacuse, P.J., Flexible Thermal Protection System Design and Margin Policy, 9th International Planetary Probe Workshop, Toulouse, France, June 2012). The 1st generation FTPS can withstand heat fluxes of 25 W/cm2 and the pyrogel insulator layer can absorb energies up to 5000 J/cm2. For the Phoenix SLV, an FTPS type material can be used for an inflatable keel, two inflatable booms, and the canopy for a re-entry paraglider.

  For more information, download the Phoenix SLV pdf below.


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