Re: cheap space flight

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 17 Nov 1996 19:43:38 +0100 (MET)

On Sat, 16 Nov 1996, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> Lyle Burkhead wrote:
> > > [...]
> WHile I would not terms this as "cheap" space flight, if their engines
> actually work on a launcher, it would be less expensive than current
> systems. People don't realize this, but it takes as much energy to get
> into low earth orbit as it does to fly to Australia from New York. Given

Since we have lots of experts on the list, a question: stratospheric
baloons fly pretty high, 30-40 km. Assuming a 1 ton baloon payload (which
sure defines a gigantic hydrogen baloon), which drags a solid (Al, ammonia
perchlorate, resin) booster, made from light compound with a very small
payload (50 kg?), let's say 20 km high up, then igniting the booster to
travel the rest of the way to LEO.

Does this make sense, weight-wise? What are pros, what are cons?


> this, and allowing for the different performance regieme of a space
> vehicle, true "cheap" space transporation would be tickets to orbit at
> $2000-$5000 per person. Instead, we've got a government screwed up
> system that makes $1000 a pound seem like a bargain.
> Mike

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