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Tran Cislunar Railroad

17 Aug 2016, 20:11 UTC
Tran Cislunar Railroad
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Three Orbital TethersThis post revisits Orbital Momentum As A Commodity. But now I will examine these tethers using Wolfe's spreadsheet.I envision 3 equatorial tethers to move stuff back and forth between LEO and the lunar neighborhood:The location of these vertical tethers avoids zones of orbital debris:The orange regions, LEO, MEO and GEO, have high satellite and/or debris density. Thus tethers in those regions would be more vulnerable to damage from impacts.Dead Sats for tether anchorsUnless elevator mass is lot more than the payloads, the acts of catching or throwing could destroy the tether orbit. At first it looks like the need for a substantial anchor mass is a show stopper. But there are a large number of dead sats in equatorial orbits. By one estimate, there's 670 tonnes in the graveyard orbit above geosynch.The dead sats gathered might have functioning solar arrays. According to this stack exchange discussion, solar arrays degrade by 2 to 3% a year due to radiation, debris impacts and thermal degradation. Thus a 20 year old array could still be providing 50% to 66% of the power it delivered at the beginning of its life. The parabolic dishes for high gain antennas might also be salvageable.Whether ...

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