Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cable Strands for Space Lifts in Future

The geostationary space cable lift idea had been proposed at about the dawn of the space age.   About then the discovery of carbon nanotubes having very high tensile strengths, due to their long molecule tube form, had hinted that a space cable lift could become a realistic wanted possibility, not just some wishful imagined fantasy unreal dream.  (Some animal produced threads were found to be surprisingly strong.  Silk is stronger than steel, and some spider silk is six times stronger.)

Extremely high tensile strength cable strands would be good to strongly reach down from the high 24hr orbit geostationary height 35,790km above equatorial sea level (6,378.4km).  Up there the cable had to be thickest to hold up all weight below, and also to hold down the needed balancing outward swinging cable section reaching far out to a big counterweight at 144,000km height = 3.0 times more up beyond geostationary height 35,790km.  (The useful 3 times higher high swinging counterweight had been proposed in 1975 by Jerome Pearson.)

(35,790km geostationary height + 6,378.4km equator radius = 42,168.4km = 6.611 * Earth radius.  And 144,000km counterweight height + Earth equator radius = 150,378.4km = 23.5762 * Earth radius.)  The cable counterweight end swings around Earth at speed 10.966 km/s = 150,378.388km * 2 * pi / (24hr * 3600s * 365.24day / 366.24day), which is more than enough to send probes as far out as Saturn.  (366.24 days = 365.24 Earth day rotations per average year + 1 more actual rotation of Earth as it fully orbits around Sol each year.)

Or if a load is allowed to also freely slide out along that extended outer cable length near midnight, (gaining outward centrifugal force acceleration, with the increasing speed kinetic energy stolen from Earth's rotation energy), then this will add enough more speed to escape the entire Solar system!

Or if released from the outer cable near noon, then it would get slower net speed around Sol than Earth, such as for conveniently sending things in toward Venus or Mercury.

For Earth in a 149,500,000km radius circle Solar orbit, then something slung out would have started from 149,650,000km * 2 * pi / (366.24 * 24 * 3600s) = 29.7km/s.  But of course this Earth orbit speed is needed simply to prevent anything here from falling down into massive Sol from Earth's distance.  And starting with this speed around Sol when something is slung out while the cable is swinging out around behind Earth near midnight, adds that cable turning plus sliding speed, so that what gets slid out can then possibly even escape the Solar system!

This is a guest post.  Questions?  Ask Iwas.A.Member@gmail.com. If interested in much more about advanced future folks living quite well in space, ask for DOS compressed email attached FBW.Z

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