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"Bun is such a sad word, is it not?" -- Watt, "Waiting for Godot"
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Rockets are big and hot and full of explodable things.
Astronauts, in contrast, are small and soft and fragile.
Putting these two things together, therefore, is a recipe
MaxCo. is currently in discussion with NASA regarding the
development of the Bungee Rocket.
launch happens in pretty much the usual way, minus
the astronauts. Fire, noise, all that stuff.
However, the careful observator will notice a stout bungee
cord trailing behind the pillar of flames as it rises into the
If said pillar of flames suffers a mishap, pyrotechnics are
used to sever the bungee cord, and the only casualty is the
However, if all goes well then, some seven seconds after
the launch, the bungee cord pulls tight and begins to
stretch. Very shortly thereafter, the crew capsule (which,
if course, is securely tied to the far end of the bungee)
boings majestically, silently, flamelessly and safely into
Even if the rocket itself fails at this point, the crew
capsule can be safely released and parachuted back to the
ground. If all goes well, however, the capsule will
overtake the rocket just as the rocket reaches its apogee.
The aforementioned pyrotechnics then sever the bungee,
leaving the capsule free to slip the surly bonds of earth.
3 Rocket Circus pulley concept
[AusCan531, Sep 14 2011]
||How does the cord not get burnt by said pillar of
||How about a reverse slingshot rocket that launches the rocket into the centre of a very long bungee cord that once reached its apogee releases at the ends flinging two capsules about half of the distance of the original idea, but since there's two of them theres a better chance one will make it into space.
||Perhaps we should combine your idea with the pulley concept in my 3 Rocket Circus idea [link] also utilizing [8th's] suggestion of having one end of the tether fixed to the ground. Affix the passenger capsule to the other end of the bungee/tether while putting the rocket in the middle via a free-wheeling pulley.
Let rip and the astronauts will get all those nasty G-force's out of the way in one fell swoop - leaving them free to enjoy the rest of their trip in comfortable freefall.
||Ignoring the extra mass of the bungee cord, the problems of burned cord, and the potential for the crew capsule running into the back end of the rocket instead of passing it...
||This would actually result in the crew capsule traveling faster than the rocket at the appogee of the flight, saving some fuel needed to get the last disposable stage up to speed. If you're lucky there might even be enough speed differencial so the final stage would fall out of orbit without help.
||Brilliant! - unless the bungee doesn't sever and the falling rocket drags the unfortunate astonauts back to Earth and certain, messy, death.
||Seems like you could do this better with a rocket
powered trebuchet. Especially if you can get the up
of the rocket to convert into a eastward fling of the
capsule. Sounds like an N-Prize contestant if you do.