Reusable Space Vehicle Launcher

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The unit is a lighter than air launcher that is reusable. The large envelope is not filled with helium but instead holds a vacuum for maximum bouyancy. To keep the shape of the lifting envelope the skin would have compressed air ribs or could be made of one of the new light rigid materials (like carbon fiber, et. al.) The vehicle has soft landing legs for smooth landings. The main part of the launcher is the railgun that is used to launch the payloads into space. The payloads could be satellites, Capsules to the space station, smaller rockets to the moon and if reconfigured properly could actually be sent to the moon or other places. Please note that the unit shown in the pictures is a representative of what a fully engineered unit might look like. One thing to notice is that the device has two liquid fuel rockets that are in line with the railgun. When firing a payload there will be a certain amount of "kickback" like seen when shooting a gun. The rockets are capable of firing and turning off (like a car) so as to provide enough thrust to prevent the kickback. Thus the rockets are multi-use and can be reused without rebuilding. The goal is to launch many payloads per lift compared to the single payload per rocket currently used.

Today, launching items into space is done using a combination of liquid and solid rocket fuel to boost the fuel and the bottom rocket stage to the required speed and altitude. Additionally, in attempts to reuse the first stage rockets there is the expense of capturing the stages, transporting them back to their home base for refurbishing and fueling them back up. There is a lot of cost in those efforts for fuel, transportation and refurbishing. The air lift system uses bouyancy to lift the payload (no booster rocket stage and its fuel) and the payload is fired using stored up electrical energy. The result is that the cost of the first stage and its fuel requirements is saved. As for refurbishing the launcher when it returns to ground the rockets have their fuel topped up, the batteries running the lifting fans are recharged. The one piece on the craft that needs replacing is the switch contacts that controls the high current that flows through the railgun. This would be a quick removal and replace part to allow for multiple launches without returning to earth. While not shown, it would be possible to mount solar panels that could be used to recharge the railgun capacitors and even supply the power for the lift fans.

In today's world everybody wants to get wherever as fast as they can. Therefore rockets need to be large and re-entry needs special heat shields. Slow things down and most of that goes away.

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  • ABOUT THE ENTRANT

  • Name:
    Mike Lacroix
  • Type of entry:
    individual
  • Profession:
    Engineer/Designer
  • Mike is inspired by:
    Trying to find ways to improve or create anything that will make life easier for everyone and getting us all to think "us, us, us" and not "me, me, me". Anything from saving energy, to affordable housing, better transit systems, indoor farming, etc.
  • Software used for this entry:
    Ironcad
  • Patent status:
    none