New system to slingshot cargo into space
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 18:07
Washington: An alternative transportation system to send small payloads and bulk cargo, like water or fuel, into space is being developed by a US company.

The Virginia company HyperV Technologies Corporation proposes to slingshot objects off the Earth, rather than using chemical rockets.

"Imagine the old-style sling, with a string that you would whirl a payload around and then you'd let go and it'd go flying off," HyperV president and chief scientist Doug Witherspoon said.

The system called "Slingatron" uses a spiral-shaped steel track that accelerates a payload with gyrating, hula hoop-like motions,'Discovery News' reported.

With around 60 cycles per second and precision timing, a payload travelling along the inside of the spiral will synchronise with the hula hoop-motion and continue accelerating, Witherspoon said.

"You can theoretically get velocities that are many, many kilometres per second," Witherspoon said.

In order to get into low-Earth orbit, such as where the International Space Station (ISS) flies, an object needs to be moving at about 7.6 kilometres per second.

The HyperV intends to use a quarter-pound payload for its demonstration run.

The system would not replace traditional chemical rockets. For starters, acceleration at launch would reach thousands the times of Earth's gravitational force far too high for launching humans.


First Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 18:07

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