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Bungee Rocket

  [vote for,

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 for disastrophe.


MaxCo. is currently in discussion with NASA regarding the development of the Bungee Rocket.

The 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 sky.

If said pillar of flames suffers a mishap, pyrotechnics are used to sever the bungee cord, and the only casualty is the taxpayer.

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 the air.

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.

MaxwellBuchanan, Sep 13 2011

3 Rocket Circus pulley concept 3_20Rocket_20Circus
[AusCan531, Sep 14 2011]


       How does the cord not get burnt by said pillar of flames?
swimswim, Sep 13 2011

       Amazing isn't it?   

       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.
rcarty, Sep 14 2011

       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.
AusCan531, Sep 14 2011

       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.
scad mientist, Sep 14 2011

       Brilliant! - unless the bungee doesn't sever and the falling rocket drags the unfortunate astonauts back to Earth and certain, messy, death.
hippo, Sep 14 2011

       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.
MisterQED, Sep 14 2011


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