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Space Ramp in Iceland

Vikings in space
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
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Recent extensive and intensive utilisation of its hydro- and hydrothermal energy resources has Iceland spearheading towards a hydrogeneconomy, also the cheap electricity is attracting the aluminum industry.

With the emerging presence of affordable hydrogen and large scale metal production faccilities an oppertunity presents itselve for Iceland to start building rockets and become a space fairing nation.

While not conveniently situated near the equator, I propose a delta-V assist by building a space ramp made of ice in the Vatnajökull area, a large elevated area providing plenty of snow and ice, affordable electricity or steam from hydrothermal resources could be utilised to provide launch assist. The spaceramp would need to be big , probably an icepyramid of mountainsize (2-3 km high) and itself build on like 1500 meters altitude in the Vatnajökull area.

jvanguts, May 30 2006

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       best idea of the day. bun.
epicproblem, May 30 2006
  

       The USA now has a launch facility in Alaska. On Kodiak Island, I think. Apparently there are advantages to being further from the equator. +
baconbrain, May 30 2006
  

       sp: spacefaring   

       interesting [+].   

       How much would it cost to pump the water to make a giant ice ramp? What track-launch mechanism do you propose for accelerating spaceships to the needed ~5 miles per second?
sninctown, May 30 2006
  

       Hey, Vikings in space, more power to you. I dont think a ramp would really help all that much though.
ParadeRainMan, May 31 2006
  

       It's going to be awfully slippy on the way up - but would make for a massive slide/toboggan run.
zen_tom, May 31 2006
  

       Isn't there a fairly active volcano under Vatnajökull which has erupted fairly recently?
oneoffdave, May 31 2006
  

       //best idea of the day// The "delta-V assist" comes from launching near the equator, not from a ramp. Cheap hydrogen? One space shuttle launch cost half a billion. It burns half a million gallons of liquid H2. At $2 a gallon, that's one million dollars, or one-fifth of one percent of the total launch cost. Insignificant.
ldischler, May 31 2006
  

       Agreed that the raw cost of hydrogen is not the biggest burden on a space launch. Rather it seems supporting infrastructure, read: Nasa bureaucracy, and the fact that rocket-engine costs generally increase exponentially with size (especially the turbinepump variations).   

       Therefore, the largest potential saving would come from using the spaceramplaunch assist, enabling a smaller engine SSTO and naturally smaller rockets can do without all the Nasa overhead as opposed to the outdated overpriced Space Shuttle. The cheaper hydrogen, aluminum and electricity for the rocket and or the launchassist are imho all together not insignificant and can be considered added bonus.
jvanguts, May 31 2006
  
      
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