Today Earth faces competing existential challenges:
●expanding populations’ growing energy demands vs resultant anthropogenic climate change;
●expanding global interconnectedness vs widespread inequality-fueled disconnected tribalism;
●exoterrestrial planetary threats mandating multi-planetarism vs excessive cost to reach space.
Like itself, SSOLAEROS’ acronym encapsulates multifunctional challenge answers:
●Stratospheric SOLAR AEROstat (23km-high 100MWatt energy capture/conversion H2O-LH2);
●Stationary SubOrbital Large-Area Electronic Relay Omnidirectional System,
(providing 1000-kilometer circles unimpeded cellular/fast-internet/“SkyFi” access);
●Single-Stage-to-Orbit Launch-Accelerator Electromagnetic-Rail-Operated System
(creates fuel/oxidizer/1km-long catapult energy, 4g human/12g payload “booster” @75,000ft.)
Like Hydrogen- or Helium-filled stratospheric scientific balloons ascending 14 miles, SSOLAEROS expands 35X above 97% of Earth’s pressurizing atmosphere into cloudless black -65°C subspace. Unlike spherical balloons, SSOLAEROS’ dirigible structure unfolds internally while ascending/expanding from hangared 335m-long-X-58m-diameter to 907-X-88-meter “cigar” before finally attaining 867m-X-181m (American) “football.”
Initially inverted teardrop balloons become vast stratospheric spheres; internal pressure maintains blimps’ ovoid shapes, compensating internal “ballonet” voids limiting altitude; classic dirigibles’ rigid keel/rib/longeron framework houses multiple balloons expanding similarly. SSOLAEROS’ functional rigid core/keel/spine anchors longitudinal double-wall “skells” – semirigid skin/shell “stringers” between circumferentially accordion-expanding “rib” skells, 2,304 of 3,712 initially enfolded radially internally, expanding/unfolding like origami socks.
Global “tensegrity” – Buckminster Fuller’s elegant architectural structures employing “contiguous tension-elements connecting discontiguous compression members for ‘phenomenal-yet-flexional rigidity’” – recurs in “TensAirity®” beams. Cables tensioned by 1m-diameter inflated spindles rigidify each primary skell’s ultralight central 16m-long-X-100mm-thin compression tube. Noncombustible nitrogen-inflated beams/double-walled skells protectively contain lighter hydrogen, dramatically cheaper than $3.20/m³ Helium.
Central 576m-long-X-181m-diameter transparent cylinder’s circumference supports 1,152 ultrathin aluminized Mylar® 32m-X-2.3m reflector strips, Fresnel-focusing 102,150m² (>25 acres) of unimpeded solar energy (~140MWatt) onto 576m-long-X-4m-diameter central solar-panel-covered cylindrical “keel.” Sunside strips align “open” Venetian-blind-style, opposite 2,306 reflectors, each computer/piezoelectrically aligned parabolically sunward, concentrating sunlight/heat 45:1. Ultraefficient photovoltaics capture 50MWatt (36%) immediately. 900°C energy (extracted cooling PV-cells) augments HTHPSOEC (High-Temperature/High-Pressure Solid-Oxide Electrolyzer-Cells) 23%. Residual 35% heats supercritical CO2 driving ultracompact turbines, powering magnetocaloric oxygen liquefaction/parahydrogen catalysis.
Reversible ducted-fans facilitate ground-handling; each end’s eight 31m-X-8m stratospheric “FinFan/PaddleProps” propel stationkeeping above “SkyFi” service areas, “14-mile-tall cell towers visible 335-miles away,” hull one vast ultradirectional phased-array MIMO antenna.
Gondola/PropShaft-extensions suspend electromagnetic launch-rail: three 960m-long-X-1m-wide “aluminum foil” strips forming triangular prism, ice-reinforced layer-by-layer stronger-than-steel. H2/O2 electrolytic cells reversed providing continuous megawatts charge 327,530m² of Mylar®-reflectors/capacitors, discharging 2,822megaJoules over 5.5sec, boosting 50,000kg spacecraft (65% Shuttle orbiter) at 6g to 0.99Mach, or 15,000kg payloads (20g/1.98Mach.) Launch/recovery also facilitates semigliding cryogenics delivery, water replenishment.
Tsiolkovsky’s exponential rocket equation dictates fuel/oxidizer/container mass-fraction yielding 2.0Mach/75,000feet; lacking “elevators to space,” eliminating substantial initial propellant+vehicle mass COULD offer an “escalator.” SSOLAEROS' multifunctionality COULD help make our beautiful, beleaguered blue planet more sustainable, more survivable, more stable and more equitably connected.
"SSOLAEROS" embodies a research/design/development/manufacturability/maintainability philosophy:
●Simplified design minimizes unique parts count allowing
●Scale economies using
●Extensibility via Electronically Enhanced Engineering employing design
●Reusability/Recursiveness affording Rigidity/Robustness using
●Origami expansion/enfolding, facilitating
●System Survivability, Stability, Sustainability
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name:J Brian Boyle
Type of entry:individual
Number of times previously entering contest:2
Brian is inspired by:Appropriate Technology:
STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) Applied Synergistically & Imaginatively to
the Problems, Potentials and Possibilities
of Humanity, Life on Earth – and Elsewhere
Software used for this entry:MSExcel, MatLab, AirfoilOptimizer, SketchUp8 (learned COMSOL Multiphysics but $$$)