Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Inflatable towers to space

Inflatable-tunnel inspired space access technology
  [vote for,

This lovely planet has a darned lot of gravity. If you’re trying for an orbit, your sideways velocity gets very important, but there’s always lots of benefit to starting your journey as high up as possible to reduce your upwardness needs. If you use big flamey chemical reactions to get going, you have to carry all the fuel from the very beginning. Lots of alternatives have been considered: Virgin Spaceship (use a plane for a head start); space elevator (climb a cable to space); build a ginormous cannon; use a balloon-lifted rocket-launching platform; electromagnetic space- rollercoaster… All have ups and downs. My idea: a wide inflatable tower, 100km tall. Inflated with helium, tethered at bottom and with guy-cables, a spiral “roadway” around the outside… to a launch platform at the top
Frankx, Jul 23 2021

Global helium supply https://physicstoda...6.2.20200605a/full/
[Voice, Jul 23 2021]


       Oh, ok, totally baked then!
Frankx, Jul 23 2021

       Where does the helium come from?
pocmloc, Jul 23 2021

       better to use the stairway to heaven!
xandram, Jul 23 2021

       I don't think they have enough
pocmloc, Jul 23 2021

       The market is incredibly wasteful of helium and anything else that can't be sold or used in the same year. Alternatives must be found, and we need to reinstate the helium reserve. It's going to be one big party complete with balloons for the next 20 years and then suddenly the superconducting magnets, MRI machines, and semiconductor industry will double their prices and/or grind to a halt. The ways to get fusion are:   

       -Find it laying around   

       -Have a very large fusion reactor   

       and unless it's under 200 degrees, the stuff escapes like the spawn of Frank Morris and Houdini.
Voice, Jul 23 2021

       There is the issue of air pressure, and of speed: geosynchronous orbit is some hundreds of miles up, in quite airless space.   

       Maybe if the tower formed a complete loop (arcing back to the ground) and air were blown into it at high speed, the momentum of the air would tend to keep the tube at high altitude. It might require quite a large diameter tube to get sufficiently low fluidic drag, though.
sninctown, Jul 23 2021

       To warn off approaching aircraft, it must have big flappy arms.
pertinax, Jul 24 2021

       Pure genius [pertinax]. Flappy arms it shall have.
Frankx, Jul 24 2021


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