The project, a cascade of rotating cables, orbital slings between the earth and the moon, a qualitatively new space transport system, cheap and does not require fuel costs.
Colonization of outer space is possible, only the lack of strategic plans and poor organization of private traders hinder it.
Modern humanity is on the verge of a transition to the space age, to unlimited resources, a high standard of living, progress and prosperity, but for a long time it cannot take a decisive step beyond this threshold. Restrained to some extent by the high cost and complexity of space colonization. And to some extent the lack of initiatives and plans, the development of practical space exploration, which would make the industrialization of space economically profitable and capable of rapid growth, relying on the entire scientific and industrial power of the earth.
State space agencies were the first to launch space flights. State administrations promised to begin the colonization of space in the first decades of the development of cosmonautics and used the increased public interest in this topic to support their status, power over society. But in practice, the state cosmonautics remained at the stage of the race for scientific demonstration achievements for the sake of the prestige of the authorities.
Now the opinion is accepted in society that the colonization of space is virtually inaccessible, due to the enormous cost and level of complexity. But this opinion comes from state administrations, which never had a real intention to colonize space. For them, astronautics is a means of moral support for the authorities.
The opinion that, at the current level of technology, the beginning of mass industrialization of outer space is impossible does not correspond to the truth. In reality, there are many development projects outside the land of industrial activities, and qualitatively new transport systems, technically feasible and economically viable. But states do not use themselves and do not allow publishing.
In recent decades, a private space industry has begun to emerge, the players of which have the intention to conduct real, practical, space exploration. But modern private traders for the most part are small amateur teams, startups that do not have serious scientific and industrial capacities and money. And not having far-sighted plans for the development of extraterrestrial industry.
Each private project tries to develop its own narrow niche. Someone is making a new rocket, someone is an orbital tug, someone is a base for the production of fuel on the moon, someone is a base for the extraction of valuable resources on asteroids.
Now, the only space private trader that has achieved significant success is Space X, owned by Elon Musk. But Space X has close ties with the US government, from which it draws resources and technology, and Space X’s activities are not directly aimed at colonizing space. They have created a line of reusable rockets, they are making a new, super-heavy, reusable rocket, this is progress in the development of astronautics. But this is not the colonization of the moon and asteroids, not the use of extraterrestrial resources for profit and benefit, just the modernization of missiles.
Individually, the potential for space startups is weak. There is no money, there is no strong scientific base and production to develop space projects.
But if private space projects develop a system of interaction and coordinated action plans, they will have a real economic and scientific industrial potential, allowing them to begin the industrialization of the solar system.
Project of a private coordination center for the development of the space industry.
I am a non-systemic innovator, a supporter of the development of space expansion, Nikolai Agapov. Knowing the shortcomings of modern space privateers, I launched a project for a private coordination center for the development of the space industry. The main functions of which:
To develop a system of interaction between different private space players and the interaction of space private players with the industry of the earth. Allowing them to use the total scientific and industrial potential of the entire private space industry of the earth. Use the terrestrial industry as a source of demand and investment for your activities. And leverage mutually beneficial partnerships in space between transportation, industrial and service projects to reduce costs and increase the profitability of the unified extraterrestrial industry.
Develop a general strategic plan for the industrialization of space, for decades to come, its basic concept. Constantly update the basic concept, adjusting it in connection with the emergence of new technologies and changes in the situation in the economy.
The main form of organizing the activities of the focal point, conceptual management. Passing on the concept to society and players through open publications, and conducting organizational activities over the Internet. With the expectation that the players will take the roles assigned to them by the general plan for their own benefit. And society will support the coordination center and the organizational projects it promotes, seeing in them a source of real colonization of space, one of the sources of its development and prosperity in the future.
Igor Rastolkovsky’s project Orbit exchange.
One of the projects of a promising space transport infrastructure is the project of the Russian innovator Igor Rastolkovsky – “Orbit exchange”.
The orbit exchange project is a cascade of many slings between low-Earth orbit and the moon. Designed for permanent, inexpensive, transport links between the earth and the moon.
An orbital sling is a promising means of space transport, operating on the principle of an ancient throwing weapon, a sling. The sling launches stones spun on a rope at high speed. The orbital sling works in a similar way. It is a long rope made of high strength, lightweight material such as Kevlar or CFRP. The length of the cables can be from several hundred meters to several tens of kilometers. The sling rotates in flight, and it can accelerate the loads, increasing their speed, or vice versa, slowing down the load that needs to be transferred from a high orbit to a low one.
The simplest version of an orbital sling is an orbital station, with a rotating tether attached to it in low Earth orbit.
Suppose the station is flying in the earth’s orbit at a speed of 8 kilometers per second. In this case, the cable rotates, having a speed at the end of a kilometer per second. A rocket takes off from the ground, with a payload, and gaining a speed of 7 kilometers per second, a kilometer per second less than it takes to enter orbit, it meets the end of the sling in the lower position, turned towards the earth. The load is hooked onto the end of the cable and disengaged from the rocket. When the sling makes a half turn, its cable turns to the upper position, from the ground, and at this moment, the speed of its end, relative to the ground, becomes 9 kilometers per second. A kilometer per second higher than it takes to enter low, low-earth orbit.
Such a sling can capture satellites from rockets at less than space speed, while increasing the payload of the rockets and reducing the cost of launching. And put satellites into an elongated orbit.
The disadvantage of the sling of the described scheme is that when accelerating satellites, it will slow down itself. And to compensate for the loss of speed, it will be necessary to use an electric jet engine, which has low power, but also low fuel consumption.
The result is a transport system that makes it possible to reduce the cost of putting cargo into orbit.
A more complex option, a cargo exchange sling. The principle of its operation is the exchange of cargoes flying from different orbits at different speeds. And at the same time, the exchange of orbits between loads. Cargo exchange slings hook on weights flying at different speeds on both ends of the cable and drop them simultaneously, after half a turn.
Suppose the sling is in a circular near-earth orbit, flying at a speed of 8 kilometers per second. From the lunar orbit, a load flies towards the earth at a speed of 11 kilometers per second, and flies up to the upper end of the sling. At the same time, a load on a rocket flies from the ground to the lower end of the sling at a speed of 5 kilometers per second. Both weights simultaneously engage on different ends of the sling. When the sling makes a half turn, the weights are simultaneously unhooked. As a result, cargoes exchange orbits. A cargo flying from the moon falls to the ground at a speed of 5 kilometers per second. The cargo arriving from the ground flies towards the moon.
At the same time, the sling remains in its orbit and does not slow down. Loads exchange not only orbits, but also energy. A fast cargo that came from the moon gives up its energy to a slender. And through the sling accelerates the load hooked with the rocket, giving it the speed of departure to the moon. The acceleration of the sling is neutral.
In theory, a cargo sling could serve as an excellent means of delivering cargo to the moon. Allowing to save a lot of fuel and money, making supplying lunar bases cheap. It is impossible to launch people and complex devices with slings, due to high overloads, in tens of units of earth’s gravity, but simple products and consumables are possible.
But in practice, the strength of modern materials is not enough to rotate a slingshot at a speed of 3 kilometers per second at the ends. Serial materials such as Kevlar or CFRP can withstand a maximum of 2.2-5 kilometers per second. But the optimal speed for an orbital sling is about 1000, 700 meters per second. Since at this speed there is no need to repeatedly thicken the sling cables closer to the center, the sling becomes much lighter.
Igor Rastolkovsky’s project is not one exchange sling for the exchange of cargoes flying from the moon. And a cascade, consisting of many slings, located in orbits of different heights, along the route from the earth to the lunar orbit. Such a cascade of slings is a rather complex system, but the slings for it will be lightweight and will be made from available materials.
In addition, the slingshot cascade provides more options for the final delivery of lunar cargo. For example, it allows you to deliver cargo from the moon to near-earth orbital stations, rather than dropping them to earth. There is little benefit from lunar soil or metal falling to the ground. And the benefits of lunar materials in orbit are great. Lunar soil can be used to produce oxygen or ceramics. Lunar metals can be used to make various 3D printed products. Delivering materials to near-earth orbit from the moon, in a cascade of slings, will be much cheaper than launching them from the ground with rockets. And lunar materials can be used to build large, industrial, orbital stations, or space solar power plants.
The lunar orbit slingshot complex makes it possible to launch loads into orbit directly from the moon’s surface. No rockets and no fuel costs at all. According to Rastolkovsky’s project, on the surface of the moon, there should be a sling that unwinds the weights up to half the lunar orbital speed, which is not so great, about 1700 meters per second. And during separation from the sling located on the surface of the moon, the load will be picked up by the orbital sling flying in a low lunar orbit. There is no atmosphere on the moon, so orbiters there can fly close to the surface, so to speak, on low level flight. On the next revolution, the orbital sling will cling to the surface cargo arriving from the ground. Thus, a cascade of slings between the earth’s orbit and the moon can exchange loads between the near-earth orbit and the lunar surface.
The orbit exchange project makes it possible to link near-earth orbit to the moon with cheap, permanent, transport links. This allows starting the active development of lunar resources, and at the same time starting the practical use of lunar materials at near-earth orbital stations.
Makes the creation of orbital production centers profitable, the production of various mechanisms and structures from lunar raw materials on them. Allows the construction of large objects in orbit from lunar materials. Such as heavy orbital stations with rotating compartments, analogs of Onil’s cylinders, but serving practical purposes, space ports, production and repair shops. Allows you to build industrial power orbital power plants to supply energy to the earth. And powerful electromagnetic catapults, the next stage without rocket space transport systems.
The orbit exchange project, despite its complexity, is not large-scale and not overly expensive, accessible to space privateers. Rastolkovsky, designs it with the expectation of private players and investors. At the first stages, the system of orbital slings is supposed to be made in a light version, with the expectation of transporting goods weighing from several tens to one hundred kilograms. The approximate cost of the project may be about several billion dollars, which is not expensive for infrastructure construction. By comparison, NASA spent $ 2.5 billion on the Curiosity Mars probe.
But the transport system orbit exchange is not a scientific project, but a transport infrastructure. It will pay for itself many times over, provide new opportunities for the creation of resource bases on the Moon, and the practical use of lunar resources. After the creation of the orbit exchange system, it will begin to send containers with lunar soil to Earth orbit for processing to the ISS, sending in exchange hundreds and thousands of tons of equipment for lunar bases. Giving the beginning of the industrialization of the moon and the industrialization of near-earth orbit. Serving as a significant milestone in the growth of the space industry.
In addition to the infrastructure transport system, orbit exchange, Igor Rastolkovsky has other uses for slings. As part of cheaper projects.
These are projects of local transport systems for transferring cargo to high orbits within the near-earth space. May be useful for launching satellites into high orbits at reduced cost.
A project for the delivery of frozen, cryopreserved, human heads or brains to the lunar poles for storage in storage. In which they can lie for hundreds or thousands of years, regardless of wars and cataclysms on earth. Wait for thawing and recovery in the future, when people learn to bring frozen brains back to life and grow bodies in incubators.
Rastolkovsky, an unknown but worthwhile player in the private space industry.
Igor Rastolkovsky’s projects are well calculated, they are available for implementation, from a technical and financial point of view. Despite the proven applicability and economic benefits, his projects are not published in the media, although they are actively promoting all sorts of fiction, such as projects of space elevators, “Earth – geostationary orbit”, with ropes weighing millions of tons. But Igor continues to defend his projects with fanaticism and adapts them to the needs of private owners as the situation changes.
Igor Rastolkovsky’s project, the orbit exchange transport system, is definitely one of the potential components of a promising transport industrial space infrastructure. And Igor Rastolkovsky himself is one of the players in the private space industry.