Re: To space without rockets ?

Dan Clemmensen (
Tue, 28 Oct 1997 19:43:22 -0500 wrote:
> In a message dated 97-10-27 22:55:10 EST, you write:
> << What keeps satellites in orbit is not that they are beyond the reach of
> gravity, but that they are going sideways very fast. Like anything thrown
> sideways, their path bends downwards as they begin to fall. However, they
> are going so fast that after they have fallen 1 km, the earth below them
> has receded more than 1 km becuse of its curvature. So they keep falling
> toward the Earth, but missing.
> What I said in my original post is that it is much harder to get enough
> sideways speed to get to orbit than merely to get to 100 km of height.
> --Carl Feynman
> >>
> Is it possible to have a cord connected to earth as it's still freefalling?
> Well, I guess it couldnt be attached to one spot on the earth, but maybe to
> a track or separate cord that went around the earth, and have enough leeway
> that it could stop temporarily at stations along the track to upload supplies
> or whatever into the cord connecting to the object in space, well i guess it
> would have to be a tube. I dunno how it would get up there, perhaps some
> kind of suction system . There's a problem with air resistance too.
> danny

There are a couple of very good science fiction novels on the subject of
the "beanstalk". The beanstalk is attached to earth at one end and to a
satellite beyond geosynchronous orbit at the other. Since the satellite
beanstalk is trying to pull the satellite at faster than its free
speed, the satellite exerts a upward force on the beanstalk, keeping the
thing upright.
The best-known of the books is probably
the Fountains of Paradise
Arthur C. Clarke
(c) 1978, ISBN 0-345-25356-6
Another book was written by another author at about the same time. It
used a different construction technique. I cannot remember the name,