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Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Megastructures 6 Skyhook
A skyhook is a tether attached to a heavy orbiting space station
that would help reduce the cost of placing payloads into space. The
cable attached to the station would extend towards the surface of the
planet. Payloads would be brought to the end of the hook by a suborbital
launch vehicle, attached to the cable as it passes, and then are flung
into orbit by the rotation of the cable / station around its centre of
mass. The station would then be reboosted
to its original altitude by propulsion, or by deorbiting another object
equal in mass to the payload. A skyhook is different from a space
elevator in that the cable would be much shorter, would not come in
contact with the surface of the planet, and the cable / station would be
rotating like a pinwheel around its center axis.