Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

The key number is 40-60,000 Gs.

Wikipedia helpfully informs me that this is 3-4 times the rating of the electronics used in artillery fuzes.

G forces are less problematic when launching bulk materials (fuel, air, water, foodstuffs, metals - as I see the project proposal suggests). If you're 'catching' the payload at the other end, you can make the launch vehicle very dumb. Even more so if you can leave your engine at home and still use it (see also "ablative laser propulsion").

Radial forces on the launch platform itself are more of a concern. You have to stop it from tearing itself apart while it overcomes friction/drag and reaches escape velocity.

Their proposal also suggests that the capsule will need it's own rocket motor (and hence guidance and telemetry system) to get to orbit.

One possible use is launching solar reflectors to reduce global warming. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_sunshade

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact