Unlike conventional rockets, launch loops can have many launches per hour, independent of weather, and are not inherently polluting. Rockets create pollution such as nitrates in their exhausts due to high exhaust temperature, and can also create greenhouse gases depending on propellant choices. Launch loops require power in the form of electricity and as such it can be clean.
The use of tethers in space poses many challenges and safety issues. This third part to the tether propulsion article will focus on those issues. A lot of the challenges and safety issues of a space tether system are similar to those of a space elevator described in a previous article, but some are unique to the space tether concept.
Tether propulsion consists in using long, very strong cables (known as tethers) to change the velocity of spacecraft and payloads. The tethers may be used to initiate launch, complete launch, or alter the orbit of a spacecraft. This form of propulsion would be significantly less expensive than spaceflight using modern rocket engines.
This is the fourth and final part of the space elevator article of the non-rocket spacelaunch methods article series. This post will focus on references to the space elevator concept in fiction. The first mention of anything remotely similar to a space elevator was the beanstalk in the children's fairy tale called Jack and the Beanstalk, published in 1807.
Space elevators, a futuristic concept, could be adapted for various celestial bodies: Mars, the Moon, and even asteroids, they promise a revolution in space access.
The space elevator is a gigantic concept and as such it has many safety issues that would have to be resolved before construction begins. A space elevator would present a navigational hazard, both to aircraft and spacecraft.
Why non-rocket spacelaunch? Because the current chemical rockets are really expensive. In order to further explore outer space and establish a permanent human presence in space we need more cost efficient spacelaunch methods.