Space travel has been developing for decades, yet it is still incredibly expensive, with the cheapest rocket launch costing about $60 million using SpaceX rockets (controversy surrounds SpaceX, however, as their financials are private). It’s also very hard to get lots of materials and equipment into space, vital to human colonization, with the largest ratio of payload mass to rocket mass for SpaceX rockets being about 4-5%.
I have re-imagined space travel with a new and unique way of travel, the tether: a cable hundreds of kilometers long, with a weight at the end keeping it in orbit. Using a tether, we would only need small, easily reusable ships, which would have a much larger payload mass to vehicle mass ratio.
The focus of my project is the physics and math calculations (such as estimated weight of the tether, the velocity needed, and acceleration) behind a tether in orbit, and the possibility of having such a large object orbiting so close to Earth and, if time allows, the physics behind the mechanical transfer of kinetic energy. I intend for my main audience to be the everyday people who have an interest in space travel, as space travel using space tethers will become incredibly cheap, easy, and relatively fast.
I plan on producing a website, a research document, a simulation, some sort of social media account to announce my project along with its updates, and the physics and math proving a tether can stay in orbit.
Space travel is incredibly hard to achieve, and incredibly expensive. Even after decades of research and development, rocket technology is still expensive and time consuming. Transporting resources and supplies into space is also incredibly inefficient, with the ratio of payload mass to total rocket mass being 4%-5%. The company SpaceX boasts of having extremely cheap rockets, and they have taken significant steps in reducing the cost of rockets, such was reusing the first stage of the rockets. Rocket travel is still expensive, with a SpaceX booking costing about $60 million.
Space travel via rockets is also very infrequent, as each launch takes a lot of preparation and double-checking, resulting in rocket launches for one agency or company occurring only a couple times a year.
We need to reimagine how we get to and travel space, take a new look at it, and find better solutions.
The closest competitor to this idea is the company Tethers Unlimited. Founded by Dr. Robert Hoyt and Dr. Robert Forward in 1994, their mission is to "build a robust in-space economy that will serve the people of Earth and enable humanity to become a spacefaring society." While their name is called Tethers Unlimited, their services are only for things such as in-space manufacturing, in-space assembly, and in-space networking.
There doesn't seem to be any talk of tethers in space or using space tethers. The site only describes themselves as a space-servicing company.
Tether Spaceways is a feasible solution to the problem of limited and expensive space travel. My project has been validated through research, as seen in the attached research outline.