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Re: starship-design: FINDING A COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT PATH (http://infinity.msfc.nasa.gov/Public/pp0
L. Parker wrote:
> Here is an interesting site on the commercial development of space.
they mentioned EM launchers at this site, but restricted them to getting
fuel material to orbit for the earth environment. There is some idea
that a long (100 to 300km) launcher, near the equator could be
sufficiently gentle to be an ultra cheap general purpose launcher. the
"meteor in reverse" problem could be solved by suspending the launcher
from hot air-balloons above much of the atmosphere (50% of the
atmosphere is below 18,000ft). This proposal, though a difficult
problem, doesn't strike me as being too terribly implausible. Another
idea would be to use a hybrid EM/Rocket. A reusable SSTO is launched as
a projectile to a given height, at some point, it lights its rockets and
climbs the rest of the way to orbit.