Today, to send a satellite or other cargo into space, companies use boosters. Even if the first step is reused, the launch will cost about $ 60 million, and if the aircraft is disposable, the price is much higher. In addition, launching cargo with rockets causes great damage to the environment and fills the Earth’s orbit with space debris. If there are so many disadvantages, why will scientists not in a way send cargo into space without using complex aircraft? Such techniques have already been invented, but at present they do not have working prototypes or have not fully proven their effectiveness – therefore these ideas do not have much fame. In the context of this article, I suggest getting acquainted with the most unusual ways to send cargo into space. Believe me, there are extremely bold decisions.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about sending cargo into space without rockets is a space elevator. The core of this technology is to stretch a strong cable from the earth’s surface to the orbital station and then run an elevator with a payload along it. For the first time, the Russian self-taught scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky spoke about the space elevator as early as 1895. The main requirement for the creation of this technology is the presence of a strong cable with low density. According to many experts, carbon nanotubes are better suited for this purpose.
At the moment, one of the most promising projects for creating a space elevator has been launched by the Japanese company Obayashi. She plans to show a working system by 2050. The development process is slow, and at the moment another group of Japanese scientists has only proven the functionality of a space elevator using the example of a 10 meter long cable stretched between two terrestrial satellites, along which a box measuring 6×3 centimeters moved.
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A space elevator is difficult to build for three reasons:
- it requires nanotubes, the production of which is given with great difficulty;
- its construction should begin in the Earth’s orbit – it is easier to lower the cable than to raise it;
- the other end of the cable should be at the earth’s equator.
As an alternative to the space elevator, it is proposed to build a space fountain. For its construction there is already all the material, construction can be started from the earth’s surface and not just from the equator. In fact, the space fountain is a tall tower that extends all the way to a low orbit around the earth.
With current material, the skyscraper will definitely not be able to carry its own weight, but researchers have predicted this. If you make the structure hollow inside and add a granular substance, you can transfer kinetic energy to this mixture and make it move quickly from the bottom and transfer energy to the top. It sounds complicated, but the researchers are convinced that in this way it will be possible to provide the tower with maximum stability. Goods can be transported by elevator or together with granulated material.
This sounds great, right? But further – more. Once the idea came to the minds of scientists to build a ring around the earth, in whose cavity there are two compartments:
- first, to receive payloads or even passengers;
- Other, for moving interconnected metal ingots in a vacuum space.
It is assumed that such a system will work only when necessary. Part of the bridge will be on the earth’s surface, and the other two ends will be in orbit. When needed, people will be able to place loads in the bins and spread substances at high speeds. Under the influence of the movement of the substances, the ring will be extended and go beyond the earth’s atmosphere. It sounds cool, but there are many questions about this technology. First, the design is unlikely to be stable. Secondly, overclocking blanks requires a huge amount of energy – where do you get it from? Third, is it so necessary if cargo can only be sent into equatorial orbits? Perhaps, of all the alternatives, this is the most unlikely.
Упоминаемые технологии очень сложны, поэтому я даю только краткое описание принципов работы. Если хотите обсудить их с единомышленниками, вступайте в наш Telegram-чат.
This method of sending cargo into orbit is only possible on satellites of planets or planets with a sold atmosphere like Mars – it is impossible to translate an idea into reality on Earth. The core of the technology is to build a guide on a space object, along which a capsule with a load can be spread strongly with the help of a magnetic field. With a sufficient length of the guide and the strength of the magnetic field, it is quite possible to push the load up into the sky and leave it in orbit. Perhaps in the future it will be possible to launch artificial satellites in this way into the orbits of the moon or Mars.
Centrifuges to send cargo into space
If you are an avid reader of our site, you are probably already familiar with this technology. SpinLaunch was founded in 2014 and wants to build a centrifuge that can hold small rockets inside, spin around them and literally “throw” them up into the sky. It is expected that at an altitude of 60 kilometers, the rocket will be able to strike the engines and complete the withdrawal of the cargo into outer space. This is the most realistic project on this list – prototypes already exist.
To learn more about SpinLaunch technology, read this material. And, of course, write about the technology you liked the most. In addition to the options mentioned above, there are others, but these seem to be the most impressive.