Gravitational Assisted Space Shuttle Launch

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Earth exerts a gravitational force and pulls down every object that attempts to leave or escape it. Therefore, in order to break free from Earth’s gravitational pull, it is essential for a rocket to attain an enormously high speed. This velocity is known as the ‘escape velocity’. For Earth, the escape velocity value is 11.2 kilometers per second (25,020 mph); this means that you have to accelerate a rocket at 11.2 kilometers per second in order to make the orbit.

This project is about building a mechanism that uses gravitational force to launch space shuttles instead of against it to achieve the escape velocity with lower cost. This is done by integrating roller coaster principle, Newton law and existing shuttle mechanism. First we build a roller coaster which can transport space shuttle. Then we make hallow shaft below ground in center of the roller coaster. In the hallow shaft we fix an object which has more weight than an ordinary shuttles. The object is fixed with the rollers of the roller coaster by pulley and high strength multiple ropes. Then we place the space shuttle on the transporting rollers and we drop the underground object in free fall. Since the object is connected with the rollers of the roller coaster it pulls the space shuttle up ward because of the weight difference and the pulleys are fixed from the top thar will force the rollers carrying the shuttle be pulled fast. This mechanism makes the space shuttle gain acceleration quickly and travels upward in high speed via the roller. When the shuttle reaches a certain speed and point it activates its engine. At this point the energy consumption to lift the shuttle is far less than the shuttle starts from 0 meter per second. This mechanism helps the shuttle collect potential energy which is converted in to usable energy for the launch. Because the dropping object has extremely high weight, a fluid damping mechanism is used in the underground shaft. Meaning, there is a large amount of fluid at the bottom of the shaft and when the dropping object reaches the bottom the fluid prevents it from high impact acting as a natural damper. Then to start another launch we can slowly elevate the massive object underground to ground level and start the process again. I have done the numerical analysis and the result checks out. But simulation is needed to make the idea more presentable to clients. This mechanism is simple and what makes it different is in the scale of the weight and there are far more complex structures and mechanism has been built in the world.

This will change many views on roller coaster on saving energy to build potential energy that will be converted into kinetic energy, redesign the process of spaces ship launch and so on.

Note that since the mechanism always have one path as the current launch used, it will not be same as a run way.

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  • Name:
    Anteneh Gashaw
  • Type of entry:
  • Patent status: