[ExI] Inflatable tower could climb to the edge of space

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Jun 9 02:16:16 UTC 2009


> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org 
> [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of 
> Damien Broderick
> Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 4:46 PM
> To: ExI chat list
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Inflatable tower could climb to the edge of space
> At 04:12 PM 6/8/2009 -0700, Jeff autoquoth:
> >http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/2008-March/04
> 2205.html
> Still doesn't address:
> >I still don't see how you can light up a rocket engine at 
> the top (let 
> >alone the bottom) and not set the sucker on fire.
> What am I missing?
> Damien Broderick 

You would need release the rocket and have a cold gas thruster to push away
slightly from the tower to eliminate damage upon ignition.  I am not
convinced that an inflatable tower is practical, but it is a cool idea.
Recall that the Atlas Rocket was an inflatable structure of sorts:

"Atlas was unusual in its use of balloon tanks for fuel, made of very thin
stainless steel with minimal or no rigid support structures. Pressure in the
tanks provides the structural rigidity required for flight. An Atlas rocket
would collapse under its own weight if not kept pressurized, and had to have
5 psi nitrogen in the tank even when not fuelled[1]."


A heavy man can stand on an unopened aluminum beer can.  The internal
pressure along with the thin metal will hold him.  Any tiny leak, and he
will go down forthwith.

Much was made of the Atlas pressure necessity as I recall.  The early
astronauts had zero faith in the emergency rescue thrusters.  They climbed
aboard with the notion that if the pressure were to be lost in the Atlas
rocket before launch, the thing would collapse beneath them, leading to a
premature expiration.  That must have been one hell of a cool time to live
and fly.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list