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# Speed Ramper

Like shooting a gun from the front of a speeding train.
 (+2, -3) [vote for, against]

So anyone who has spent a physics class with me will have been asked: "If you're standing on the front of a train traveling at 1000km/h and you shoot a bullet (which normally travels at 1000km/h) forwards, will the bullet move away from the train at 1000km/h and therefore actually be traveling at 2000km/h?"

This idea is a slight variation of that principle. Using a platform in space, would it be possible to have many sections, that move (for example) 1000km/h faster than the one beneath it, and have a shuttle attached to the "top" one that releases when maximum velocity is acheived?

Imagine the deck of an aircraft carrier. Stack a few of these decks on top of each other. The one on the bottom doesn't move, the next one up begins accelerating and speeds up the ones above it, then the next one up begins accelerating and carries the ones above it. When you get to the top one, it should be moving quite fast indeed.

Have a look at the little (rough) diagram I drew for a better understanding, in link.

 — emjay, Dec 03 2006

My Diagram http://img300.image...53/speedrampzf9.jpg
Ok, So I know that it's rough... [emjay, Dec 03 2006]

Why this? Doesn't a gearbox or transmission perform the same task? Adding another deck would be the equivalent of adding another gear.
 — twitch, Dec 03 2006

 As far as I know, rocket or actuator propulsion doesn't work with gears...

This was intended for use in space, where gears and the like aren't used.
 — emjay, Dec 03 2006

 This would work, if the station was much heavier than the shuttle. But the accelleration and end speed gained this way wouldn't warrant the cost of building the ramp.

I think a better idea would be a gigantic Gauss rifle, a large electromagnetic coil that accelerates the shuttle like an oversized bullet.
 — Veho, Dec 03 2006

Go and study inertia to learn why this will not work. You still need to put the energy into the system to do the work. Your system would require an astronomically larger amount of energy than accelerating the shuttle directly due to the mass of the launch gear also needing to be accelerated.
 — jhomrighaus, Dec 03 2006

 //Your system would require an astronomically larger amount of energy than accelerating the shuttle directly due to the mass of the launch gear also needing to be accelerated.//

But it would still work :)
 — Veho, Dec 03 2006

 In space it would be useless, the platform would end up spinning off in the opposite direction, or just spinning about itself.

On land it might operate, probably only once, when deceleration would obliterate the entire structure.
 — jhomrighaus, Dec 03 2006

 //This was intended for use in space, where gears and the like aren't used.//

Where did you come up with this pearl of wisdom?
 — jhomrighaus, Dec 03 2006

 This 1000km/h train you speak of intrigues me.

Oh, and what everyone said, re: equal and opposite reactions.
 — Texticle, Dec 03 2006

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