Science: Space: Launch
Vacuum Maglev Accelerator   (-2)  [vote for, against]
vacuum, cylinder, and unipolar magnets

... for use in launching spacecraft.

The familiar "tube along the ground, goes up side of mountain, then up to X meters altitude," but the inside is a vacuum. There are strips of Halbach array unipolar magnets along the inside, and same-pole arrays on the vehicle.

To begin with, the vehicle sits a bit forward of the starting point. At launch, the back end of the tunnel opens up quickly, possibly by blasting holes in that section, allowing air to rush in behind the vehicle.

At the same time, a small propulsion system on the vehicle ignites to get the vehicle started moving. The tunnel could be set up like a coilgun, with opposite-pole electromagnets turning on just ahead of the vehicle. With the air rushing in behind it, it rides the wave down the tunnel. When the vehicle reaches a certain point, the far end of the tunnel is opened, and the vehicle shoots out the end, then secondary thrusters kick in and get it into orbit.

The tunnel could be built in closed sections, with hatches in between each, so each section would open with the ship.
-- CaptainClapper, Apr 01 2007

Halbach array http://www.matchroc.../ether/halbach.html
Unipolar magnets, anyone? [CaptainClapper, Apr 01 2007]

Steam Space Launch Facility Steam_20Space_20Launch_20Facility
[bungston, Apr 05 2007]

Isn't this the standard proposal for Magnetic Launch? Well except for the Halbach array.
-- Galbinus_Caeli, Apr 01 2007

heh, no idea if this is the standard maglev launch. is it? with the air coming in the back of the tunnel and helping to accelerate the vehicle?
-- CaptainClapper, Apr 01 2007

That link says they will review your science fair project for you. Have you thought to submit your maglev idea to them to see if this is an application for the idea that adds something? I didn't take electricity and magnitism. I also have a hard time visualizing what halbach adds here. I sure am fond of the idea you are working towards though.

I don't see how pushing with all that air adds anything. Just keeping your tube vacuum packed and apply the energy to the thing some other way would be more efficient than moving tons of air.
-- MercuryNotMars, Apr 02 2007

Extend the tube to near-vacuum altitude and you won't have to pump 100,000 tons of air back in after every launch. Maybe use orbital geosynchrynous (spelling?) counterweight instead of vertical ground-based support beams for such a long launch tube, seeing as the highest human-made structure isn't very high.
-- Ketchupybread, Apr 04 2007

I think you mis-understand a Halbach array, Captain. It's not unipolar; it's one-sided. It still alternates between North and South poles along its length.

What makes is special is that the strength of the field is much weaker on one side of the magnet than the other. The North and South poles are both still present and the same strength as each other.
-- st3f, Apr 05 2007

I think the idea of launching things is only relevant when you don't have structures that high. If you have structures that high you simply take an elevator and forget all that nonsence 100 miles an hour is plenty fast to get into orbit if you have an elevator all the way up.
-- MercuryNotMars, Apr 05 2007

//100 miles an hour is plenty fast to get into orbit if you have an elevator all the way up// 1 MPH is enough if you have an elevator.
-- jhomrighaus, Apr 05 2007

-- RayfordSteele, Apr 06 2007

random, halfbakery