Re: Launch Rails..Was:Re: Orbital Towers.

Date: Thu Apr 20 2000 - 05:47:17 MDT

In a message dated 4/14/00 10:49:36 PM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> The rail starts off at a sea floor station, follows the undersea terrain up
> to
> the surface at the island coastline, to the peak, and have a 1,000-3,000
> meter
> tower/ramp extension above the peak This reduces tunnelling costs, and
> advantage of sea transportation to allow tube sections to be assembled
> modularly
> in an assembly line at a contractors location, then dropped into place.

By making your design start below water, you'd put it into the age of
post-mature-nanotech, IMO. Fulfilling my function here of Old Salt, I'll
point out that you're adding a large amount of complexity and maintenance
effort to your concept by placing the starting point of your launch rail
undersea: Not only do you have the problems of corrosion and increased
construction effort, but you'll also have to deal with the pressure
differential (one atmosphere for every three meters of depth) (unless you
mean to have your vehicle travel through water on the first part of its trip,
which adds huge amounts of drag and makes your spacecraft a submarine as well
as an aircraft!) and finally, near the surface, what we admiralty lawyers
call "the action of wind and wave" -- a not inconsiderable force. You'd do
better to build the whole thing above water, even if it meant putting in a
horizontal curve as well as a vertical one.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:38 MDT