The ThothX Tower is a space launch platform tower design by Canadian aerospace company Thoth Technologies (ThothX). It is not a full space elevator, but a 20-kilometre-tall (12 mi) inflatable tubular tower structure 230 m (750 ft) in diameter, using elevators to transfer up and down to the stratospheric platform where rocket launch vehicles would land, refuel, load, and launch from to reach and return from orbit. It is projected that a launch from the top of the tower would save 30% of the fuel needed to reach orbit. From the top of the tower, the horizon would be 1,000 km (620 mi) away. The design has received UK and U.S. patent protection. The design is projected to cost US$5 billion and take 10 years to build. The full-sized tower would be about 20x taller than the tallest building as of 2015, Burj Khalifa of 910 m (3,000 ft)
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.
Aerospace is the human effort in science, engineering, and business to fly in the atmosphere of Earth (aeronautics) and surrounding space (astronautics). Aerospace organizations research, design, manufacture, operate, or maintain aircraft or spacecraft. Aerospace activity is very diverse, with a multitude of commercial, industrial and military applications.
A space elevator is a proposed type of planet-to-space transportation system. The main component would be a cable anchored to the surface and extending into space. The design would permit vehicles to travel along the cable from a planetary surface, such as the Earth's, directly into space or orbit, without the use of large rockets. An Earth-based space elevator would consist of a cable with one end attached to the surface near the equator and the other end in space beyond geostationary orbit. The competing forces of gravity, which is stronger at the lower end, and the outward/upward centrifugal force, which is stronger at the upper end, would result in the cable being held up, under tension, and stationary over a single position on Earth. With the tether deployed, climbers could repeatedly climb the tether to space by mechanical means, releasing their cargo to orbit. Climbers could also descend the tether to return cargo to the surface from orbit.
Self-climbing electric elevators would travel within the inflated structure to convey material between the top platform and base. The cars would either run in the tower or along the outside and would carry about 10 tonnes (9.8 long tons; 11 short tons). Normal elevator cables cannot stretch longer than 1.5 km (0.93 mi) high. The tower would be built out of stacked kevlar cells inflated to extreme pressures with hydrogen or helium gas. Flywheels would be used to stabilize the structure, as the structure is much too tall for guywires to work. The tower is designed to be able to survive Category 5 hurricanes. With the reduction in fuel needed to reach orbit, it is projected that single-stage-to-orbit craft can be practicably used with current technology. The tower is 20 km (12 mi) high as most orbital rockets go 15 km (9.3 mi) up before curving towards orbit, and this tower could eliminate that portion of flight.
Kevlar is a heat-resistant and strong synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed by Stephanie Kwolek at DuPont in 1965, this high-strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires. Typically it is spun into ropes or fabric sheets that can be used as such or as an ingredient in composite material components.
Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. With a standard atomic weight of 1.008, hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the Universe, constituting roughly 75% of all baryonic mass. Non-remnant stars are mainly composed of hydrogen in the plasma state. The most common isotope of hydrogen, termed protium, has one proton and no neutrons.
Helium is a chemical element with the symbol He and atomic number 2. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas, the first in the noble gas group in the periodic table. Its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements. Helium is the second lightest and second most abundant element in the observable universe being present at about 24% of the total elemental mass, which is more than 12 times the mass of all the heavier elements combined. Its abundance is similar to this in both the Sun and in Jupiter. This is due to the very high nuclear binding energy of helium-4, with respect to the next three elements after helium. This helium-4 binding energy also accounts for why it is a product of both nuclear fusion and radioactive decay. Most helium in the universe is helium-4, the vast majority of which was formed during the Big Bang. Large amounts of new helium are being created by nuclear fusion of hydrogen in stars.
A 7-metre-high (23 ft) tower model was unveiled in 2009. A 1.5 km (0.93 mi) demonstration tower is planned to be built. The basic design may be extended to 200-kilometre-high (120 mi) towers.
Among other projected uses for the tower would be as a communications tower, low-altitude replacement for satellites, high-altitude wind turbine platforms.
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object that has been intentionally placed into orbit. These objects are called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth's Moon.
Anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) are space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes. Several nations possess operational ASAT systems. Although no ASAT system has yet been utilised in warfare, a few nations have shot down their own satellites to demonstrate their ASAT capabilities in a show of force. Only the United States, Russia, China, and India have demonstrated this capability successfully.
A spaceplane is an aerospace vehicle that can fly like an aircraft in Earth's atmosphere and maneuver like a spacecraft in the vacuum of space. To do so, spaceplanes must incorporate features of both aircraft and spacecraft, and occupy an intermediate space between the two types. Orbital spaceplanes are mostly spacecraft, sub-orbital spaceplanes are mostly aircraft.
A space fountain is a proposed form of an extremely tall tower extending into space. As known materials cannot support a static tower with this height a space fountain has to be an active structure: A stream of pellets is accelerated upwards at a ground station. At the top it is deflected downwards. The necessary force for this deflection supports the station at the top and payloads going up the structure. Spacecraft could launch from the top without having to deal with the atmosphere. This could reduce the cost of placing payloads into orbit. As downside the tower will collapse if the containment systems fail and the stream is broken. This risk could be reduced by several redundant streams.
Space elevator economics compares the cost of sending a payload into Earth orbit via a space elevator with the cost of doing so with alternatives, like rockets.
A space gun, sometimes called a Verne gun because of its appearance in From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, is a method of launching an object into space using a large gun- or cannonlike structure. Space guns could thus potentially provide a method of non-rocket spacelaunch. It has been conjectured that space guns could place satellites into Earth's orbit, and could also launch spacecraft beyond Earth's gravitational pull and into other parts of the Solar System by exceeding Earth's escape velocity of about 11.2 km/s or 40,320 km/h (25,050 mph). However, these speeds are too far into the hypersonic range for most practical propulsion systems and also would cause most objects to burn up due to aerodynamic heating or be torn apart by aerodynamic drag. Therefore, a more likely future use of space guns would be to launch objects into near Earth orbit, from where attached rockets could be fired or the objects could be "collected" by maneuverable orbiting satellites.
The ballute is a parachute-like braking device optimized for use at high altitudes and supersonic velocities. Invented by Goodyear in 1958, the original ballute was a cone-shaped balloon with a toroidal burble fence fitted around its widest point. A burble fence is an inflated structure intended to ensure flow separation. This stabilizes the ballute as it decelerates through different flow regimes.
A launch loop or Lofstrom loop is a proposed system for launching objects into orbit using a moving cable-like system situated inside a sheath attached to the Earth at two ends and suspended above the atmosphere in the middle. The design concept was published by Keith Lofstrom and describes an active structure maglev cable transport system that would be around 2,000 km (1,240 mi) long and maintained at an altitude of up to 80 km (50 mi). A launch loop would be held up at this altitude by the momentum of a belt that circulates around the structure. This circulation, in effect, transfers the weight of the structure onto a pair of magnetic bearings, one at each end, which support it.
An orbital ring is a concept of an enormous artificial ring placed around the Earth that rotates at an angular rate that is faster than the rotation of the Earth. It is a giant formation of astroengineering proportions.
The Mobile Launcher Platform (MLP) is one of three two-story steel structures used by NASA at the Kennedy Space Center to support the Space Shuttle stack throughout the build-up and launch process: during assembly at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), while being transported to Launch Pads 39A and B, and as the vehicle's launch platform. NASA's three MLPs were originally constructed for the Apollo program to launch the Saturn V rockets in the 1960s and 1970s, and remained in service through the end of the Shuttle program in 2011 with alterations. The Space Launch System rocket will be mounted atop a renovated platform.
Spektr-R is a Russian scientific satellite with a 10 m (33 ft) radio telescope on board. It was launched on 18 July 2011, by Zenit-3F launcher, from Baikonur Cosmodrome to perform research on the structure and dynamics of radio sources within and beyond our galaxy. Together with some of the largest ground-based radio telescopes, this telescope forms interferometric baselines extending up to 350,000 km (220,000 mi).
Non-rocket spacelaunch refers to concepts for launch into space where some or all of the needed speed and altitude are provided by something other than rockets, or by other than expendable rockets. A number of alternatives to expendable rockets have been proposed. In some systems such as a combination launch system, skyhook, rocket sled launch, rockoon, or air launch, a rocket would be part, but only part of the system used to reach orbit.
Northern Light was a concept mission for a robotic mission to Mars that would consist of a lander and a rover, being studied by a consortium of Canadian universities, companies and organisations. The primary contractor for the spacecraft was Thoth Technology Inc.
StarTram is a proposal for a maglev space launch system. The initial Generation 1 facility would be cargo only, launching from a mountain peak at an altitude of 3 to 7 kilometres with an evacuated tube staying at local surface level; it has been claimed that about 150,000 tons could be lifted to orbit annually. More advanced technology would be required for the Generation 2 system for passengers, with a longer track instead gradually curving up at its end to the thinner air at 22 kilometres (14 mi) altitude, supported by magnetic levitation, reducing g-forces when each capsule transitions from the vacuum tube to the atmosphere. A SPESIF 2010 presentation stated that Gen-1 could be completed by the year 2020+ if funding began in 2010, Gen-2 by 2030+.
The Bigelow Next-Generation Commercial Space Station is a private orbital space station currently under development by Bigelow Aerospace. Previous concepts of the space station had included multiple modules such as two B330 expandable spacecraft modules as well as a central docking node, propulsion, solar arrays, and attached crew capsules. However it now appears that each B330 can operate as an independent space station. Attaching a B330 to the International Space Station or flying a B330 alone have been suggested by Robert Bigelow.
The SpaceX reusable launch system development program is a privately funded program to develop a set of new technologies for an orbital launch system that may be reused many times in a manner similar to the reusability of aircraft. The company SpaceX is developing the technologies over a number of years to facilitate full and rapid reusability of space launch vehicles. The project's long-term objectives include returning a launch vehicle first stage to the launch site in minutes and to return a second stage to the launch pad following orbital realignment with the launch site and atmospheric reentry in up to 24 hours. SpaceX's long term goal is that both stages of their orbital launch vehicle will be designed to allow reuse a few hours after return.
LGarde, also L'Garde or L·Garde, is an American aerospace and defense technology company founded in 1971 in Orange County, CA and is the primary contractor for the Sunjammer spacecraft, the world largest solar sail. The company was an early pioneer of thin-skinned, multi-task inflatable structures used in various military and space applications. At the height of the Cold War, L·Garde developed and manufactured inflatable targets and decoy systems for U.S. military defense, and countermeasure systems for the Strategic Defense Initiative. After the Cold-War, the company used the technologies and manufacturing techniques it had developed to land a contract to design and build the inflatable antenna experiment and other thin-film inflatable space structures using its unique application of rigidizable tube technology. The company's unusual name is an acronym formed by the initials of the founding partners: Bill Larkin, Gayle Bilyeu, Alan Hirasuna, Rich Walstrom, Don Davis. The "E" comes from the Latin term "et al" as a tip to other partners and original employees of the company.
The Big Falcon Rocket is a privately funded, fully reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system in development by SpaceX. In November 2018 the second stage and ship was renamed by CEO Elon Musk to Starship, while the first stage was given the moniker "Super Heavy." The overall space vehicle architecture includes both launch vehicle and spacecraft, as well as ground infrastructure for rapid launch and relaunch, and propellant transfer in space. The payload capacity to Earth orbit is cited as being at least 100,000 kg (220,000 lb), making BFR a super heavy-lift launch vehicle. The first orbital flight will occur no earlier than 2020, with a flight around the Moon slated for 2023.
OneSpace or One Space Technology Group is a Chinese private space launch group based in Beijing，subsidiaries in Chongqing, Shenzhen and Xi'an. OneSpace was founded in 2015. OneSpace is led by CEO Shu Chang, and is targeting the small launcher market for microsatellites and nanosatellites. OneSpace launched China's first private rocket in 2018.
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