Gateway to the Planets and Beyond
The major cost component of all space missions is getting out of earth’s gravity well. Once in orbit, there are several propulsion systems for going higher and further, in addition to traditional chemical rockets. The Space Cable can provide a means for launching many payloads at small incremental cost. Very large systems can then be assembled in orbit or at a Lagrange point, which is a point where an object is balanced between the gravity of the earth and of the sun or moon.
Using the space cable for manned flight can replace the first
stage of a
rocket, which is always the biggest and most expensive part. A 50-km
high design is suitable for launching a 90 tonne vehicle, while a much
more expensive (see Prospects, Economics
and the Environment) 140-km high version that is 1050 km long is
able to launch manned vehicles directly into orbit
paper). Small unmanned payloads can be launched from a 15-km-high
or the 50-km-high version into orbit. They can be launched directly
into interplanetary space from a 140-km high version.
The picture shows four versions. Launches will have
to be scheduled when tourist vehicles are not using the space cable.
High and Low Versions with Background
The planet Jupiter