Hope you recollect our previous discussion on various methods to reach space without the use of rocket propulsion in its entirety. Then we had covered the static and tensile structures. Today we will continue with this topic and discuss the ‘dynamic structures’ for the non-rocket space launch.

Orbital Ring

The orbital ring is somewhat similar to the “classic” space elevator concept. In the orbital ring version, a kinetic ring is moving around the world at a higher speed than circular orbital velocity. The net force created as a result of this is offset by gravity acting on the immobile components. Although the system must be built above 100 miles (160 km) in order to avoid the bulk of the atmosphere, this can be done at any altitude.

The vertical cable, which is just 100 miles long as opposed to 23,000 miles (37,000 km) long like in a conventional space elevator, is subsequently dropped from the ring to the ground and used in the same way. Many well-known materials are capable of reaching this length. The ring is not circular but slightly elliptical in order to support the elevator.

An orbital ring that has fixed tethers hanging down to the ground. The stations produce lift by bending the ring cable downward as it passes through them.
An orbital ring that has fixed tethers hanging down to the ground. The stations produce lift by bending the ring cable downward as it passes through them.

Space Fountain

A design for an extremely tall tower that extends into space is called a space fountain. As a static tower of this height cannot be supported by known materials, a space fountain must be an active structure: From a ground station, a stream of pellets is accelerated upward. It is redirected downward at the top. The station at the top and the payloads ascending the structure are supported by the force required for this deflection.

From the top, a spaceship might take off without having to contend with the environment. Payloads could be launched for much less cost as a result. The tower will re-enter the atmosphere if the accelerator malfunctions and the stream stops, which is its biggest drawback. There are numerous redundant streams that could lower this risk. This idea, unlike space elevators and orbital rings, does not require a 40,000-kilometer (25,000 km) long construction or the use of exceptionally strong materials anywhere.

A model of a space fountain
A model of a space fountain

Launch Loop

A launch loop, often referred to as a Lofstrom loop, is an idea for a system for launching things into orbit that uses a moving cable-like system contained inside a sheath floating above the atmosphere in the middle and tethered to the Earth at both ends. An active structural maglev cable transport system is described in the design idea, which was published by Keith Lofstrom.

The momentum of a belt revolving around a launch loop would keep it hovering at a height of up to 80 km (50 mi). This circulation effectively shifts the structure’s weight onto two magnetic bearings that sustain it, one at each end. By electromagnetically accelerating vehicles weighing 5 metric tonnes, scientists want to propel them into Earth orbit or even beyond into space without using rockets.

 A model of Launch loop . The red marked line is the moving loop itself, blue lines are stationary cables.
A model of Launch loop . The red marked line is the moving loop itself, blue lines are stationary cables.

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