Carousel Spacecraft Electrical Lift Around the Earth Up To GEO


By J. E. D. Cline


[This mailing address no longer valid - JEDCline in 2008] P O Box 9243, Glendale, CA 91226-0243, USA


Abstract. Intended to provide new solutions to major crises upcoming for mankind, the earth-encircling carousel form of space elevator could have major impact on civilization. Intent is to solve crises in energy, greenhouse gas, recycling of toxic and high entropy materials, sustainable space access, and room to grow. Very unconventional to today's Aerospace and even to anchored tether space elevators, the electrically powered and supported Carousel form of space elevator would have a conceptual complexity level very similar to the common CD drives found in today's computers. The much larger perimeter of the Carousel, however, would resemble the 131,300 Km loop of an Orbital Transfer Trajectory between Earth’s equatorial radius and GEO.

1. Introduction


This is a conceptual design outlining the functional principles of a potential near-future space access transportation system, its interface with civilization, the enabled applications in space for the sustenance and expansion of civilization, and anticipated effect on civilization. The introduction of a major new application set of technology needs to explore both technological feasibility and potential impact on civilization in the environment. Intended to provide new solutions to major crises upcoming for mankind, the earth-encircling carousel form of space elevator could have major impact on civilization, requiring utmost of wisdom and integrity. Intent is to solve crises in energy, greenhouse gas, recycling of toxic and high entropy materials, sustainable space access, and room to grow

2. Conceptual Complexity and Physical Size


Unconventional to today's Aerospace and even to anchored tether space elevators, the Carousel form of space elevator would have a conceptual complexity level very similar to the common CD drives found in today's computers. Utilizing both rotary and linear synchronous electric motor functions for supporting and servo positioning the main track structure, along with directly lifting spacecraft vehicles up from the ground to GEO and gently returning them from GEO to the ground while reclaiming much of the spacecraft’s energy during descent, a potentially very high transportation efficiency system is envisioned here.


  The rather small electrical motor structure of the common CD drive does not compare with the much larger perimeter of the Space Carousel. It would have a very much larger physical perimeter size, resembling the 131,300 Km eccentric loop of an Orbital Transfer Trajectory around the planet, extending between Earth’s equator and up to GEO above the far side of the planet

3. Structural Mass Support: Primarily a Rotary Motor Function


The rotary motor function is provided by the entire hoop structure seen as a whole. The earth-stationary part of the somewhat OTT-shaped structure’s weight is primarily supported by the stored kinetic energy of electromagnetically coupled motor armature mass streams circulating within the structure, rather than being supported strictly by the molecular bonding energy of conventional structure component materials. The armature segment mass streams coast around the planet sliding at high velocities along magnetic levitation tracks, then are re-accelerated back to servo-controlled velocity as they pass through the synchronous mass drivers in the earth surface terminal site. Such a site might be within an equatorial-aligned tunnel in the Andes mountains. The mass stream velocity is chosen to be sufficiently faster than orbital transfer velocity so that their resultant outward centrifugal force slightly more than offsets the force of gravity on the stator structure with its loads, to provide an overall tensile upward stress on the structure.

4. Spacecraft Lift to GEO: Servoed Linear Motor Function

  The servoed linear motor function would be utilized by the mass stream electrodynamic inductive drag lifting of the spacecraft up along the carousel structure from the ground up to GEO, and gently return back to the ground while reclaiming much of the spacecraft’s mass descending energy.


  Additionally, the upward-motion sides of the contra-rotating armature mass streams would be laterally distributed within the cross-section of the structure. Servo controlled differential electrodynamic drag among the mass streams would provide some lateral differential twist to compensate for wind and other lateral forces on the structure.

 Figure 1

 slope kinetic force 


 Figure 1. Sliding armature segment energy-momentum transfer along a curved track structure


  Figure 2


 circulating mass


 Figure 2. Armature mass rapidly circulating around the planet electr0odynamically drags spacecraft up to GEO.


5. The Earth Surface Terminal Site


  For example, a ground terminal site built within an east-west tunnel through the Ecadorian Andes mountains, would enclose a hard vacuum facility. This facility primarily contains the synchronous mass drivers that replenish the kinetic energy of each armature segment after it has coasted around the planet along the structure’s maglev track system, and provides the optimum exit velocity vector as it exits into the hard vacuum enclosing tubing containing the magnetic levitation tracks. The mass drivers have the mass of the earth to thrust against as they accelerate the armature mass streams down through the tunnel along the maglev tracks. The tubing en-closes a hard vacuum environment, protecting the meteroric velocity armatures from contact with the air in the atmospheric portion of the path around the planet. The armature mass streams are paired as contra-rotating sets, to cope with their gyroscopic precession as the planet rotates. The path of the armature segments take a cycloidal shape, as they follow the planetary rotation as they also rotate around the planet.


Figure 3. Overall system shape and enabled functions


 apps enabled

6. Electrical High Lift Efficiency Would Enable Valuable Applications


  A proposed new transportation system needs to provide initial vision as to what possibilities it would allow. Since the electrical equivalent of the energy that is given to a mass by moving it from the equatorial surface up to GEO is only 15.7 KWh/Kg, an electrically powered transportation system functioning with an order of magnitude of that value, seems likely to allow applications such as these:


• Construction of adequate Satellite Solar Power Stations inGEO to cleanly power worldwide civilization worldwide, dropping CO2 accumulation.


• Construction of large scale solar powered mass-spectrometer type total recycling plants in GEO to change toxic or entropicaly amalgamated waste materials back to useful forms. Provide economical lift of those materials between the ground and the plants in GEO .


• Shift all spaceport reaction engined vehicle launch facilities up to GEO , electrical lift to start journeys already 91% up out of earth’s gravitational energy well, making entirely new kinds of space ventures possible.


• Construction of prototypes of passively shielded Stanford Torus type, 10,000 person each, comfortable space habitats in GEO.

7. Utilizing Low Density Construction to Minimize Catastrophic Damage


  Design of the carousel type space elevator might incorporate low density components to control potential damage to other structures. For example, in case of uncontrolled catastrophic collapse of the transportation structure, when impacting the Earth’s atmosphere, wide dispersion of mass within the cross section of the structure could enable disintegration higher in the atmos-phere, minimizing damage to the earth’s surface.

8. Scaling of Structure Up to Operational Capacity Size


  The design needs to provide for bootstrap scaling of the structure up to full capacity girth, starting from the millimeter-girth needed for relatively low cost and risk during emplacement tries of the "seed" structure, and for the eventual orderly dismantlement and component recycling of the original structure; for the the ground-coupled push on a full ring of GEO space habitats to prevent orbital decay collapse.

9. Future Work


Next stages of this project ideally would form a multi-faceted approach. A very wide range of topics need to be addressed. These include, in part:


• Mathematical modeling of the overall transportation system, synchronous with earth’s rotation. Provision to deliver thrust to massive structures it enables built in GEO, so as to offset their long term orbital decay, as part of the overall model, as well as the servo-positioned transportation function..


• R & D on the basic armature mass stream technique for transferring energy and momentum along inductive magnetic levitation tracks, with the synchronous armature segments sliding along in a hard vacuum provided by the structure at velocities between 10 and 40 Km/s.


• Prepare for practice with earth-encircling emplacement techniques for the counter rotating millimeter-cross-section seed structures. later versions would be designed for being scaleable up to commercially successful transportation capacity size.


• A side project to put a prototype 1,000 person toroidal rotating habitat in upper LEO, to do real R&D on site in preparation for self-sufficient larger Stanford Torus type cities in space, the small proto being lifted by unmanned dual reusable tug vehicles which sequentially emplace, into a ring form, the wet launched prefab habitat modules designed to serve as their own fuel tanks during launch.


• Explore ways to deal with lack of acceptance by the present business system. Emphasize the opportunities it would create for them, such as providing electrical power for all nations, total recycling of their worst waste products, spaceport facilities high in GEO, and options for passively shielded large scale living space built in GEO.


  Grants for these projects, along with a grant for the author’s more effective contributions, would hasten this project along in a timely fashion.

10. Conclusions


  Given wholesome adequate means for human coping with stress of change during the development, construction and application of a carousel space elevator project with its enabled applications, this system surely could provide wholesome new direction to the vigorous drama of people in the flow of civilization to increase the survivability of all, in the race for completion and application before exhaustion of petrochemical energy supplies.



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Copyright © 2005 James E. D. Cline

Copyright © 2008 James E. D. Cline. Permission granted to reproduce providing inclusion of a link back to this site and acknowledgment of the author and concept designer James E. D. Cline.