June 16, 2006

Slingatron and magnetic launchers

The US army has some small funding for a Slingatron.

Initial studies have demonstrated the fundamental feasibility of the Slingatron concept. This program will explore the concept’s bounding limits and seek to develop uses for the technology within those limits. Included in this program will be studies of the key technologies that will allow the accelerator to achieve very high projectile energies.
The idea is a giant spiral Hula Hoop, somewhat bigger than a football stadium and oscillating at about nine revolutions a second.

I notice that the longer path for the object to travel would allow for less extreme acceleration. (ie fewer G's)

The program plans are nothing if not ambitious, aiming to:
- Fabricate experimental launchers.
- Demonstrate mass launchers that range in capabilities over three to four orders of magnitude.
- Demonstrate mass velocities on the order of several km/s and perhaps higher than 10km/s.

The Air force and Launchpoint are working on magnetic sled launch systems.

The first magnetic launch systems are expected to propel payloads into orbit at a cost of roughly $750 / lb. (Current rocket-launched cost 4,000 / lb or more). Launchpoint hopes to get the cost below $100 / lb.

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