Living In The Asteroid Belt – part 3 – Getting There

Previous articles in this series:


  • Rockets that use chemical reaction thrust in both solid form and liquid form have been the only option for many years. But they require a massive amount of thrust requiring large fuel tanks and limiting payloads. Historically, they have been expensive and discarded after a single use. Modern rocket design is incorporating re-usable rockets which brings down some of the costs, but they still have the same payload limitations.
  • Ion drives use low thrust levels and greatly reduce fuel requirements and the associated cost, but they are not practical to use for lifting payloads into orbit from a gravity well. Their constant gentle thrust builds up velocity over time making them efficient for moving around in space, once there.
  • Space elevators were only theory until carbon nanotubes were discovered and still have never been built. Their design uses low lift energy and comparatively low velocity climbing up a ribbon cable into space. They require a high initial cost, but low ongoing maintenance and are far more efficient than any other option.

The Space Elevator Concept

The next article in this series will be about:

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