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Tower of Bubble

How to get your balloon into space (but not orbital velocity)
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Jim has noticed all the fuss around getting into space for the price of a cheap beer at wetherspoons...

Jim reckons the 30km weather balloon is just about there and figures with just a little more buoyancy it can go all the way. He contemplates a tall pressurised tower that extends well beyond the atmosphere. Into this tower a balloon and payload is released.

Jim reckons the mechanical load on this tower from the positive internal pressure and pay load is perpendicular to the tower walls, ie the mechanical load is not carried by the tower itself. Thus the tower need not be built from graphene or other super material.

(edit) Jim reckons if the load of the building can be transfered to the internal pressure (with a series of bladders attached to the inside of the tower) then the structure could be made feather weight. Just like a sausage dog at the fair. (/edit)

madness, Feb 14 2011

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       Doctorremulac3 reckons these space tubes need their own category. I think we've got 5 or 6 of these, me having added one myself.   

       Despite having suggested numerous enhancements to the technology such as having pictures of puppies on it, mine only got a couple of buns. Maybe Jim can have better luck. Keep in mind though, you don't have any buoyancy for that section that extends beyond the atmosphere. You may have addressed that but I was distracted by the third person narration thing.
doctorremulac3, Feb 14 2011
  

       Please run up some quick calculations on how much your "feather weight" tower is going to weigh. Then describe what is supporting it other than the foundation. If nothing, please describe how that foundation is built.   

       Next please calculate the total wind loading on the tower. Then clarify how the tower is supporting itself under that loading.   

       Next reckon what is supporting the mechanical load and payload, since it has to be something. If gas, calculate the volume of hydrogen required (and the results of a leak in combination with a lightning strike). If not gas supported, then re-think the material, because something is supporting the load.
MechE, Feb 14 2011
  

       Of course, he means have Jim do it.
daseva, Feb 14 2011
  

       I agree that there needs to be a category for space tubes.   

       [Doctorremulac3], I just bunned your space tube.
baconbrain, Feb 14 2011
  

       // these space tubes need their own category   

       I am not sure that these tubes do need their own category. Having done some quick calculations I calculate that any object launched from the top of the tube is going to drop like a stone (even at 60km above the earth).   

       Imagine yourself at the top of the tube with satellites going by at orbital velocity. If you stepped off the tower with your velocity being pretty much zero there is only one way to go and it is down...
madness, Feb 14 2011
  

       Well, I'm not sure that's the main problem.   

       There is value in having a space elevator at the equator that goes out to geosynchronous orbit since at that point you can just step off the platform and be in orbit. It's just a long ways out there, but presumably if you can figure out how to get past that first hundred miles you might as well go the rest of the 20,000 plus miles needed.   

       I wouldn't hold my breath though.
doctorremulac3, Feb 15 2011
  
      
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