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building a new kind of spaceship i have idea!


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Hello, i have been thinking about something, and i know sometimes when solving a problem keeping it simple helps. So instead of using massive amounts of fuel to get to space, wasting tons of money every take off, why cant we just keep things simple? I have seen people take a camera and put it in a box and send it to where its almost in space taking video all the way up until the balloon pops, because it cannot survive the vacuum of space. Now, I have also heard of and have the link to a new kind of space ship material called fxr1 that is basically a plastic material. It is very good at protecting humans from radiation and micrometeorites in space... So i propose a new kind of space craft,(this is how it will work leaving a lot of things out) basically it will be a capsule or what ever shape would be best preferably with a bigger top half. The bottom half will hold occupants. The top half will be completely sealed off from bottom half and will hold helium balloons and around those balloons we will create a pressurized atmosphere just like here on earth so the balloons wont pop at high altitude, but once it gets to the edge of space then it will deflate balloons and fire a rocket to get to orbit. From there u can fire up the ion propulsion to travel the solar system.

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The top half will be completely sealed off from bottom half and will hold helium balloons and around those balloons we will create a pressurized atmosphere just like here on earth so the balloons wont pop at high altitude.

In other words you make an air-filled balloon containing some helium balloons. Overall it has a density that is a bit less than air but greater than helium.

Helium balloons can rise up to a mile before they pop - this one wouln't be able to go so high. To stop it popping you could make it from strong metal (or "fxr1"). But then it will be too heavy to rise into the air. And all you're getting is a mile higher than where you would otherwise have started: you still need a rocket engine and lots of fuel to reach escape velocity.

So best leave out the balloons altogether, and start from the ground with whatever propulsion you intended to use once you got to a mile in altitude.

Edited by acey
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Can you imagine how much helium you would need and how big balloon would have to be in order to lift rocket and its fuel (even reduced amount) onto low orbit?

helium has got lifting force of 1g per liter. Space shuttle is about 2000t heavy,. You would need 2000000000 liters of helium. Baloon would have to be - abt 1 mile in diameter

Edited by bamus
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The basic problem is not getting into space - it's only 100km away, after all. The BIG problem is imparting enough velocity to your vehicle to keep it up there. Without velocities in the 10's of thousands of km per hour all your craft will do is fall back to earth sooner or later. And yes, the idea of using ballons to assist with the lift has been thought of. Search for rockoons on google

Of course, once you're up there you then have the problem of getting back down again ...

Edited by pete_l
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As far as i'm aware 'Space' or 'near-Space' balloons have been used stressfully. Albeit with relatively low weights, and even then the balloon can be as big as a football pitch. If you're not time constrained then it could work, but you can spend literally months at a launch site waiting for perfect weather conditions, then you have to track the balloon as it comes back down.

I stand by my belief that the best system is a 'space elevator' with the ships themselves (apart from specially designed ones for planetary exploration) being made in space. What i would be interested in would be a system where small 'pods' get fired into space from the ground (possibly in a magnetic accelerator, thus nulling the requirement for the elevator in the first place. Problems? Surviving G forces, getting up to speed, being accurate enough to hit a target (space station) without carrying on into the depths of space, getting adequate materials up in them as well as humans.

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In other words you make an air-filled balloon containing some helium balloons. Overall it has a density that is a bit less than air but greater than helium.

Helium balloons can rise up to a mile before they pop - this one wouln't be able to go so high. To stop it popping you could make it from strong metal (or "fxr1"). But then it will be too heavy to rise into the air. And all you're getting is a mile higher than where you would otherwise have started: you still need a rocket engine and lots of fuel to reach escape velocity.

So best leave out the balloons altogether, and start from the ground with whatever propulsion you intended to use once you got to a mile in altitude.

The balloon will be inside the top half off the spaceship and not sit in another balloon. The balloon would actually be inside of the rxf1 material that will be filled with our atmosphere.
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The balloon will be inside the top half off the spaceship and not sit in another balloon. The balloon would actually be inside of the rxf1 material that will be filled with our atmosphere.

And this will be a personal space craft at first some thing small.

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The balloon would actually be inside of the rxf1 material that will be filled with our atmosphere.

That's what I meant when I said you were effectively making a balloon (out of rfx1) and filling it with (helium) balloons. The point is that you're filling the rest of the (upper) capsule with air at sea-level pressure and expecting it to float into space.

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  • 1 year later...

there was a military test pilot who went to the edge of space in i believe a helium balloon. Sorry to hash up a old subject but wouldn't it be better to look at creating anti gravity.

The problem i never get with gravity is that when you spin something everything flies off but spin the world everything stays down so we have a force that pulls us down somehow yet we know the earth is magnetic and we clearly are not so despite how much i read about gravity it seems to be pretty much unexplained. work on the device to effect that and all the fuel can be saved for traveling in space.

Yes im aware that by all accounts that appears impossible but so is

the concept of how gravity works

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The problem i never get with gravity is that when you spin something everything flies off but spin the world everything stays down so we have a force that pulls us down somehow

A roundabout doesn't have much of a gravitational field, so if it spins fast you're apt to fall off. The Earth has a very large mass, hence a large gravitational field that holds us down.

"Anti gravity" would be lovely, but there's no evidence for it, and strong theoretical arguments against it. So you might as well go looking for Cavorite and make your spaceship out of that.

Cavorite by H.G. Wells from The First Men in the Moon

Incidentally the test pilot you refer to was perhaps Joseph Kittinger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kittinger

Edited by acey
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Now, I have also heard of and have the link to a new kind of space ship material called fxr1 that is basically a plastic material. It is very good at protecting humans from radiation and micrometeorites in space.

Ordinary polyethylene is very good at protecting humans from cosmic rays and radiation (the ISS uses it). You don't need that much protection for short-duration flights- say up to 2-3 weeks. (a trip to something like Mars is a whole different proposition though). A low density plastic will shield from most radiation. Lots of people think that you need shedloads of lead....in fact, heavy lead shielding can cause a secondary, more dangerous source of radiation (the Bremsstrahlung). LDPE is pretty much perfect for shielding.

Hello, i have been thinking about something, and i know sometimes when solving a problem keeping it simple helps. So instead of using massive amounts of fuel to get to space, wasting tons of money every take off, why cant we just keep things simple? I have seen people take a camera and put it in a box and send it to where its almost in space taking video all the way up until the balloon pops, because it cannot survive the vacuum of space. Now, I have also heard of and have the link to a new kind of space ship material called fxr1 that is basically a plastic material. It is very good at protecting humans from radiation and micrometeorites in space... So i propose a new kind of space craft,(this is how it will work leaving a lot of things out) basically it will be a capsule or what ever shape would be best preferably with a bigger top half. The bottom half will hold occupants. The top half will be completely sealed off from bottom half and will hold helium balloons and around those balloons we will create a pressurized atmosphere just like here on earth so the balloons wont pop at high altitude, but once it gets to the edge of space then it will deflate balloons and fire a rocket to get to orbit. From there u can fire up the ion propulsion to travel the solar system.

To get enough energy to get out of low Earth orbit the Saturn V rockets carried over 3000 tons of fuel. You are going to need some massive balloons to loft that amount of mass upwards. Even then, you are only getting through a mall proportion of the atmosphere, and you haven't built up any radial velocity to get into an orbit. Dont forget, that a rocket only travels straight up for a very short distance...it then pitches over in order to gain enough velocity to inject into an orbit.

there was a military test pilot who went to the edge of space in i believe a helium balloon. Sorry to hash up a old subject but wouldn't it be better to look at creating anti gravity.

Fancy giving us a couple of pointers on that? :)

The problem i never get with gravity is that when you spin something everything flies off but spin the world everything stays down so we have a force that pulls us down somehow yet we know the earth is magnetic and we clearly are not so despite how much i read about gravity it seems to be pretty much unexplained. work on the device to effect that and all the fuel can be saved for traveling in space.

Yes im aware that by all accounts that appears impossible but so is

the concept of how gravity works

Urm, Okaaaay..... :confused:

Edited by Zakalwe
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A helium balloon made with the right material can reach the edge of space...there was a chap who wanted to jump from one HALO jump - sadly his balloon left for space without him :) However there are a few others planning to do this.....but as of yet not been done...

Current record is by Joseph Kittinger with a jump of 102 800 feet or just under 19 1/2 miles....

The balloon material needs to have expansion properties to cater for the expansion of Helium as it continues its upward journey...

The record for unmanned balloon is 53km although not to sure whether helium/hydrogen....

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Space is generally accepted to start at 100Km. So (assuming you ignore the very real practicalities), using a helium balloon to lift a craft would only get it, at best, halfway to space.

If you want to break free of Earth orbit, then you are going to want to get into a Hohmann transfer orbit., which allows you to do a burn at 180 degrees from the point of escape. If you take the Apollo flights (a perfectly reasonable case study, as these the only manned flights to escape low Earth orbit), then the TLI burn was initiated from an orbit that was 191Km in altitude. A helium balloon would only get you just over a quarter of the way there.

Using a balloon also means that you have no way of getting the speed needed to insert into such an orbit. In the Earth orbit that the Apollo Trans Lunar Injection burn was initiated from you are travelling at about 7.5 Km per second. Apollo accelerated to some 11Km per second to accelerate to the Moon.

Now, imagine the balloon scenario. A balloon of monstrous proportions somehow lifts the booster to about 50Km. The booster has to then cut-away and ignite its engines. It has to orient itself correctly. It then has to gain speed to inject into Earth orbit. All the time it is accelerating towards the ground under the force of gravity. To achieve orbit, the booster has to stop the downward acceleration (which costs a LOT of fuel), and then accelerate up to 7.5Km/sec to get into orbit. Someone far brighter than me can do the fuel calculations, but I'd wager that it would cost more in fuel to stop the downwards acceleration and then climb back up to the point that the balloon was cut away and then to orbit, than just launching from the ground.

Now a slightly different scenario. Lets suggest using a balloon to do some of the lifting, inside the Earth's atmosphere, whilst burning the engines. The problems with this are many....not least the huge drag that a balloon would cause as soon as the booster started to move. Or the problem with stability.

The best evidence for why balloons are not used is that not one rocket has ever been launched using such technology. If it was more efficient, or easier or cheaper to do so, then engineers would have designed it and we'd see them in use. The guys and girls that designed projects like Apollo, Skylab, Soyuz, the Shuttle etc. were and are some of the smartest people on the planet.

If you want to know more about orbits, orbital mechanics and how to get there, then Bob Braeuning's Rocket and Space Technology website is pretty damn good (though I do not claim to be able to understand the maths involve, 'cos I is fick :)). There is a good primer on orbit types.

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Fair play for thinking of this (many wish it was as easy) idea, but getting 'stuff' up is hard enough let alone getting it in orbit - which is the biggest issue unfortunately... and getting back.. :oAlthough mini satellites could be 'launched' in this way and a fair few people are looking into it as a promising future given the 'shrinkage of components' etc.

But if you are going big like the moon - the Saturn rocket is the best we have (still :confused:) to this day.

How about ballooning solar sails up (unflairing) with the payload, would that work[?] or come crashing down too.:)

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Great that you're thinking of greener, more cost & energy efficient ways to move stuff (and maybe people) into orbit :D

I share superewza's view that the space elevator is the most likely candidate, particularly now that we have a sufficiently strong material for the construction of the ribbons/cables. Capturing an asteroid to use as a counterbalance will take some doing and its not going to happen tomorrow, but we'll just have to wait and see (or get thinking!) on that front I guess. Lifting humans through the dangerous radiation belt also means more problem solving required... or we go cargo only. Perhaps robotic exploration will obviate the need to "up travel" people anyway.

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the problem with space elevators is the amount of power required to propel the lift car up, otis have been mucking about with the idea for years with a view to going higher than 40floors(weight of lift ropes becomes too heavy etc) and the maglev thing just uses too much juice...

(yup, i fix lifts for a living and if it gets stuck over 30floors i aint walking up to fix it haha)

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  • 4 weeks later...

How about this?

Remember the film when worlds collide?.

Basically they used a rocket propelled sled down a ramp to assist in the initial launch phase then the sled fell away & rockets continued.

Lets update the idea.

Same sled/ramp idea, but, using maglev & rail gun technology to accelerate the launch vehicle electrically to supersonic speeds whereupon air breathing ram/rocket engines could take the vehicle to the upper atmosphere before converting to pure rocket power for the final acceleration into orbit or beyond.

Thereafter some form of electrically produced ion drive could be used for extended periods to travel away from Earth.

Ram jets only become effective after the speed of sound, but are light/simple & work at hypersonic speeds.

The initial launch phase & acceleration use most of a current spacecraft`s fuel/mass.

Electricity is relatively easy to produce & renewable.

An unmanned rocket assisted satellite could be fired into space by a suitable rail gun (if the accelleration was carefully controlled & the rail gun long enough, could even launch manned rocket assisted capsule/craft).

Any boffins out there who know how much of the shuttles total mass is used in the initial acceleration to mach 3?, & then how much more mass is wasted carrying liquid oxygen through an oxygen rich atmosphere?.

I still hate rocket engines though, surely by now we should have something better?.

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