The skyhook-1000km cable to the stars-inexpensive and renewable solution

Getting to space is difficult. Currently, it's like climb a mountain on a unicycle equipped with a backpack full of explosives. Incredibly slow, you can't carry a lot and you risk dying. A rocket needs to reach a speed of around 40,000 km / h to escape from Earth. To reach this speed, rockets are mostly fuel tanks with just a little bit of cargo. This is bad if we want to go to other planets because you need a lot of heavy materials if you are willing to survive and maybe even come back.

Is there a way to go into space with less fuel and more cargo?

One thing that solved most of our transportation problems on Earth what we call infrastructure. Whether it's roads for cars, ports for boats, or railway tracks for trains, we made traveling easier from one place to another. We can use the same solution to space travel. Space infrastructure will make it possible to put into orbit and exit from the Moon, from Mars and beyond, easier and cheaper.

What exactly is space infrastructure? 

Unlike an Earth-Space elevator, which is science fiction, There is a simple but promising technology which does not require new scientific knowledge, of magic materials, or huge investments and which has already been successfully tested in orbit. A cable and a weight. Also known as a mooring. The concept is so simple that it is surprising. And if we put moorings hundreds of thousands of kilometers long - in space, and add spacecraft using them as ladders to climb higher altitudes and gain speed? This concept is known as 'Skyhook' . It works even better if we spin it. Counterweight keeps long cable in place as it turns around a circle. A rotary tie slows down its end relative to the ground below and makes it accelerate to the maximum like a catapult.

Photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash

That means we can transfer the energy from the mooring and get a massive boost when released, more or less for free, equivalent to twice the speed of rotation of the mooring. Special fibers already exist, who can bear the extraordinary stresses which the "Hook of the Sky" will have to face. To protect them from cuts and collisions with debris and meteors, we can weave our mooring into a web of repetitive fibers. As our Heavenly Hook will pass many times over the same place several times a day, this would allow small reusable shuttles to hang onto it. Of course, it is not that simple. At its lowest orbit, the end of the hook crosses the atmosphere at around 12,000 km / h. Because of the Earth's atmosphere, we can't lower the hook too much or it will get too hot due to air friction. So it will descend to a height of 80 to 150 km from the ground, And not lower. To do this, we will need specialized equipment capable of reaching the hook. Even if it’s not as simple as it sounds, it's much cheaper than taking a big tin can filled with fuel to reach 40,000 km / h. Catching the end of the hook will also be a challenge.

There is only a small window of 62 to 90 seconds to find a little thing in the sky moving to Mach 12. To make it simpler, the tip could have some sort of fishing line. One kilometer long with a navigation drone which would help the shuttle to connect.

Problem is to keep the "Skyhook" in orbit

As more and more shuttles cling to it and pull themselves higher, they use the momentum of the hook which keeps it in place. If we do nothing, the hook will slow down and disintegrate into the atmosphere. And there we can cheat a bit with the laws of the universe. The "Sky Hook" is a reservoir of orbital energy. It is possible to balance incoming cargoes and outbound cargo.
The incoming ships filled with humans and resources returning to Earth give energy to the hook, which supplies it to the vessels which go into space. In this way, the hook does not lose any energy. The more we use it, the more profitable it is. If we still lose energy with each boost, we can cover it with small electric or chemical motors which regularly correct the position of the hook. A set of "cables", one around the Earth and one around Mars, would make the journey between these planets quick, direct and inexpensive compared to rockets.

Catching the travelers

 The Earth's hook would be in low orbit to catch travelers and resources and send them to Mars. The Martian hook would catch them and slow them down for a surface landing. In the opposite direction, Martian hook could catch a vehicle in the finer atmosphere of Mars at a lower speed of only 1,000 km / h, which is not faster than terrestrial airways and send it back to Earth to be picked up and dropped off. The “cables” could shorten the paths between these planets, from 9 months to 5 or even 3 and reduce the necessary size of rockets from 84 to 96%. Even better, maybe people could travel in a certain luxury since we could afford to invest in passenger comfort.

The "cable" trip would be a first class ticket for Mars. 

Together, the hooks around the Earth and Mars would provide the quick and inexpensive way that would make space travel affordable. But let's go further. Starting from a low Martian orbit, A hook could send a vessel into the asteroid belt. The first spacecraft arriving at a new asteroid would need propellants to slow down to your destination. The next arrivals could find a cable waiting to catch them and who could send them back for free. Access to asteroids at low cost is a major factor in the beginning of the exploitation of the resources of the solar system. Precious metals and rare minerals could be delivered to Mars just a few weeks after they are extracted from the asteroid. They would be perfect building blocks for our interplanetary civilization. But why stop us here? The moons of Mars are very practical. No other moon in the Solar System orbits so close to their planet. Phobos is so heavy that we don't even have to worry about slowing it down. This makes it the perfect anchor point for "super hooks" below 6,000 km long.

The lowest tip would orbit just above the surface of Mars and be very easy to catch. The highest tip could catapult vessels to Jupiter and Saturn. The same "super-hook" could also bring the inner solar system closer. Venus and Mercury are just one launch. Unlike Mars, they overflow with solar energy and are rich in minerals. In the long term, nothing stops humanity from building a fuel-free transport network between these `` terrestrial '' planets and centered on the Martian moons.

Comparatively inexpensive and renewable solution

Hooks of the sky are a comparatively inexpensive and renewable solution which would make space travel affordable. and the rest of the Solar System accessible to exploitation and exploration. If we consider that we have the technologies to build them today,

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