Problems Needing Work

While the idea seems very doable, it is not yet done. There are a number of problems that have yet to be solved or demonstrated. Here is a list of some problems that have to be solved:
  1. rendezvous of rocket and tether
  2. tether reliability in the face of junk and micrometeors
  3. really reusable rocket
  4. reentry, heat shield and vehicle shape
  5. climb or toss getting payload up from end of tether
  6. tele-robotic devices
  7. design for bootstrapping - start with smallest possible orbiting part
  8. thrusters and general control of tether
  9. danger of broken tether to other satellites
  10. where to launch from - want an equatorial launch site
  11. radiation shielding - how much is needed and how heavy this will be
  12. Do we want an airlaunch? Using an existing or new jet?
Other problems that need work:
  1. Oxidization/aging of tether in space environment
  2. EDT - need to really try one out
  3. EDT on a rotating tether
  4. Rolling/winding in tether - useful for pumping
  5. Libration/oscillation along the tether
  6. Do EDT electrons damage regular tether
  7. Ballast - need about 30+ times payload
  8. Spinning up tether and slowing down spin (maybe 20 hours total)
  9. Drag on tether
  10. Existing rocket company might not want to help potential competitor

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Copyright (c) 2002, 2003 by Vincent Cate. All rights reserved.