Over the last 2 weeks I have been devouring YouTube videos by Issac Arthur. He takes a sci-fi topic and looks at it from known physics and tries to portray a positive future based on things that we could some day build and achieve.
One of the videos that really resonated with me was of the the concept of a launch loop.
Launch Loops seem imminently possible to build with current technology and would allow people to essentially drive into space. It doesn’t require exotic materials, just some difficult engineering.
When successfully built the cost to go to space will drop down to 1% of what SpaceX is projecting with their low-cost BFR. It would re-define global commerce as bulk cargo could be shipped across the planet via space. The ability to construct large space based structures would suddenly become possible without building everything from space mined materials.
I have been pondering this idea. There is something to it that could be tested and developed on a smaller scale. The tricky thing to solve for is accurately syncing the two motors/accelerators at each end of the loop.
As far as I can tell, nobody has tried to build one of these. Which is kind of a shame.
It strikes me that this is similar to what Elon Musk has found with the Boring company endeavour he is working on. Nobody funds research and development on those machines to make them better and so the state of the art hasn’t appreciably changed decades. Without someone to do the R&D, ideas like tunnels under LA remain a pipe dream. 😉
Launch Loops need someone to start doing the R&D, to start building prototypes.