Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Balloon Tether

Or just a really long tethered balloon containing launch fuel...
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Jim has always liked the idea of static lift --- and agrees the best way to get fuel to altitude is to use it.

Jim proposes a column of hydrogen contained within a suitable envelope extending vertically from the surface of the earth with sufficient volume to accelerate a mass to escape velocity when burnt with atmospheric oxygen.

[Edit --- a bit more]

The Balloon Tether is intended to provide a sufficent supply of hydrogen to a launch vehicle at any altitude within the earths atmosphere up until the point the vehicle attains escape velocity.

Jim was thinking that the launch vehicle would obtain fuel via a zipper mechanism that runs the length of the tether. That is the zip contains a tube that can be slid the length of the tether and still maintains the integrity of the balloon.

So the launch vehicle does not carry any fuel at all...

madness, Jan 25 2009


       Ummm, with sufficient gas reserves at its base to prevent the balloon from deflating during combustion and actual tethers to keep the balloon stationary...   

madness, Jan 25 2009

       If tall enough and with controlled valves to let in enough oxygen to keep it from snuffing out, this would sure be fun to try. You may want to jettison spent balloon segments to decrease weight as well.   

       A small model rocket strapped perpendicular to the nose and you just might scoop the N Prize.   

       I quite like the idea of a tether that is in itself LTA. Sadly the main requirement of a tether is high tensile strength and the main requirement of a balloon is lightness. Once again we're waiting on nanotube technology.
wagster, Jan 26 2009

       //A small model rocket strapped perpendicular to
//the nose and you just might scoop the N Prize.

       Okie I did not add enough detail --- so I am going to add a bit to the main text...
madness, Jan 26 2009

       This would work up to about 20km, but then the air would be too thin.   

       Still, 20km is not to be scoffed at
miasere, Jan 26 2009

       No, if you scoffed at 20km, you'd probably suffocate.
coprocephalous, Jan 26 2009


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