Skyhooks (was Re: [tig] More funny stuff. All true)

Rob Lingelbach rob
Thu Jun 12 03:01:59 BST 2003

On Wed, Jun 11, 2003 at 11:19:40PM +0100, Jeff Booth wrote:
> We send runners (guys that make the tea and look after clients) out for
> "Striped Paint", "SkyHooks", and a box of Decibels.

there is actually a conceptual model of a SkyHook called the
rotating beanstalk, refer:

or Charles Sheffield's book _Borderlands of Science_ which
explains it thoroughly.  It is also called the
nonsynchronous skyhook and in one version is 8,500 km long,
rotating about its center of mass as the latter goes around
the earth in an orbit 4,250 km above the surface.  Each end
dips into the atmosphere and back out about once an hour.
A way to visualize this is as one spoke of a great wheel
that rolls around the earth's equator.  The end of the
beanstalk touches down like the spoke of a wheel,
vertically, with no movement relative to the ground.
Payloads are attached to the end of the beanstalk at the
moment when it touches the ground... you have to be quick,
because the end comes in at about 1.4 gees, then is up and
away again at the same acceleration.  It could be made today
with a taper factor of 12, using graphite whiskers in the
main cable.  There is actually no need for this structure to
be in orbit around the earth, it could instead be out in
space somewhere, used as a method to catch and launch 
spacecraft there.

For the earth-orbital model it would be most convenient to
have just outside the telecine suite, where one could attach 
one's least favorite client as a gag.

Rob Lingelbach
TIG coadmin-colorist.

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