What is a Space Elevator, a StarTram, a Space Gun & a Slingatron?

3 February 2015, Space Burning Question

The Space Burning Question is a weekly segment (every Tuesday) On Hamman Time, 5fm.

Questions and answers provided by @jonoweltman from the Foundation for Space Development:
| facebook.com/developspacesa
| @developspacesa


LISTEN LIVE: Hamman Time, 3 Feb The Burning Question: What are Space Elevators, Star Trams, Space Guns and Slingatrons? This was a tough one! Not to worry, as always Jonathan Weltman from the Foundation for Space Development has the answer.

What is a Space Elevator, a StarTram, a Space Gun & a Slingatron & what do they have in common? Bonus if you can name any others!
They are all Non-Rocket Spacelaunch Concepts or NRS’s. Rockets are very expensive so alternatives are needed to make space more affordable & accessible.



More detail:
NRS Categories:
1. Static Structures like a Tower

2. Tensile Structures that use cables (tethers) like:

Space Elevator:
Top must be above geosynchronous orbit to keep cables tight and then a lift can go up and down – proposals being examined to use an elevator to get to the moon from a Space Station as the Moon does not spin.

3. Dynamic Structures
Structures that are always moving like a Space Fountain that is essentially a floating tower.

4. Projectile Launchers
StarTram: (electromagnetic)
A tube that uses cables that repel each other, just like high speed trains use. It speeds a Space Vehicle up enough so that when it reaches the end of the tube it gets shot into Space

Space Gun: (chemical)
Using gas to propel a vehicle, through a barrel, into space! Forces would kill humans but can work for satellites.

Slingatron: (mechanical)
Conceptually like gyrating a coke can causing the liquid insight to spin around and around until it reaches enough speed to be shot out into space!

Other forms of Projectile launchers include:
Airlaunch Systems
Laser Propulsion


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