We already have the technology to send trains into space, at a fraction of the cost of rockets

This is Startram, a proposed launch system that would use magnetic levitation trains, a 1000-mile tunnel, and a superconducting cable to reach low Earth orbit. Amazingly, we already have the technology to do it...at far less than the cost of rockets.

Gizmag has a great overview of how Startram would work, but the basic idea is simple enough. Because maglev trains hover above their tracks and thus don't have to worry about friction, they are theoretically capable of going far beyond their current mark of about 350 miles per hour to reach the 20,000 miles per hour needed for orbital velocities. Of course, to safely accelerate humans to those speeds, you'd need a lot of track, not to mention a way to keep a hypersonic train from being ripped to shreds by the air around it. According to its engineers, a vacuum tube that's 1,000 miles long and simulates the lower air pressure of the mesosphere should do the trick.

While most of the tube would be at sea level, the exit point would need to be about 12 miles high. The same magnetic levitation technology used in the trains could also be used to suspend the tunnel that high in the air, as Gizmag explains:

Read the rest here.

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at least look at this beautiful picture .. it's really pretty

This is a neat sci-fi idea .. would make a good book or movie. But .. do you think it is feasable?

I think the high winds of the upper atmosphere would make such a structure impossible to build, as would the enormous costs of building and maintaining it. I would hate to guess at the energy required to launch a vehicle with this design, but I have a strong feeling it would be much greater than a conventional rocket engine.

Yeah, I was thinking that too Gwaithmir.

The artist's drawing doesn't look plausible.

Maybe someday, not now, weather, Static electricity, lightning happens at all different levels of the atmosphere and at different voltages. the torsion created by earths rotation, the expansion from extreme heat and extreme cold in outer space, the effect of lunar tides on the structure, the need for huge amounts of rare earth materials, the COSTS. 

Piece o' cake (comparatively) to build one on the Moon though, to send what materials that can be mined there for use in low-zero gravity.

Wait, I remember replying to this thread, is it cross-posted elsewhere?

Sorry, The moon may face us all the time but it does not hold still. the fuel costs and the waste of fuel is tremendous. All for some aluminum and titanium? no need for either, we need to build solar farms, wind mills, stop making plastic bags, require all packaging be recyclable and mandate recycling first. If you could make the moon a solar farm then great but what would the full moon look like?

"the fuel costs and the waste of fuel is tremendous."

I'm talking for zero gravity use, not to export home. 

"All for some aluminum and titanium?"

And more… oxygen as well, would it not be cheaper to send what materials that could be derived from the moon using a railgun(for use in zero G/low gravity) for use than to boost it out of the earth's gravity well?

yes .. in the Atheists who love Science ..thanks for coming back : )

right .. I was thinking that too

Zero gravity does not mean no mass, energy is required in great amounts to move anything thousands of miles. And there is very little else on the moon, oxygen and water are in short supply requiring nuclear energy to release and solar energy ovens or anything else would best be used here on the Earth, there are 7 billion of us here now.

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