At a cost of around $10,000 for every kilogram launched into space, the cost of sending satellites into low earth orbit is becoming prohibitively expensive. Part of this reason is the vast majority of the weight required to put a chunk of technology into space is made up with the fuel used to propel it up there.
So, what if, instead of placing a small cabin on top of a massive engine and fuel cylinders, you catapult the payload using magnets?
The developers of a new maglev technology, Startram, are able to send a payload into low earth orbit for around $50 per kilo and reduce the cost of sending a person to the International Space Station from $20 million to around $5,000.
When built onto the side of a tall mountain, Startram could propel a payload into space at 9 km/sec using a vented vacuum tube to eliminate sonic booms produced from traveling at such velocity.
The project under consideration is separated into two stages, Generation 1 and Generation 2. Gen 1 is intended for cargo usage and would cost around $20 billion and ten years to build once a suitable mountain side was found to build on.
Gen 2, intended for passenger use, would cost around $60 billion and take 20 years for production. This production would require some sort of scaffolding, as the incline and acceleration speeds would need to be lower than the cargo, so as not to liquefy your internal organs.
The developers list many reasons why a Startram should be funded: defending the Earth against large asteroids, harvesting solar energy, mining raw materials from asteroids and comets, building space-based industries, and space colonization.
With such extensive cutbacks to NASA missions and technology, investment in such technology, which is inherently ‘greener’ than using rocket propulsion, should be considered thoroughly!
How else are Bruce Willis, Steve Buscemi and a couple of nukes going to save the day?