[SpaceProgram] Lagrange Solar Sail Challenge

Lee von Kraus leevonk at gmail.com
Thu Oct 4 17:11:28 CEST 2012

In the 2009 space elevator competition they had to climb to ~3000 feet (1
km), and that's probably about the height that the heilikite can go to.

Laser Motive (the company that won) had a climb speed of 4 m/sec. So it
would be able to climb to 3000 feet in 12.5 minutes.

So the helikite low-G system using a space elevator gondola would be able
to drop a capsule every 25 minutes, assuming Laser Motive has not improved
since 2009, and assuming we can get them to collaborate (by providing an
elevator or providing help in building one like theirs).



On Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 10:53 AM, Lee von Kraus <leevonk at gmail.com> wrote:

> the website says the helikites can go up "thousands" of feet, not sure how
> many thousands though, but I guess at least more than 2000 if their using
> the word correctly.
> You're right about all that cable weight weighing things down too much. So
> it might be best to have a space-elevator-like gondola (as suggested
> previously by Matt) thing that can climb up the single rope that's
> anchoring the helikite to the ground. The gondola can be powered by a laser
> from the ground (although I'm not sure how far a reasonably sized laser can
> shoot power). That gondola would drive the capsule up to the helikite and
> then 'throw' the capsule off and let it fall to the ground where we could
> have some sort of cushion to catch it. The capsules could have fins on them
> to better ensure that they fall straight down
> As the fallen capsule is being retrieved the gondola would already be on
> its way back down to get the same, or another capsule. The system wouldn't
> be too speedy but would still be a useful tool, I'd imagine the demand for
> usage would be pretty high from schools and amateur scientists that can't
> afford other micro-G options.
> On Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 7:29 AM, Jerry Isdale <jerry at mauimakers.com> wrote:
>> Depending on how high you go and the kg/m mass of the cable, it is
>> possible that the weight of the 2x length of cable could be more than the
>> weight of the winch.
>> using this kevlar rope as a guide...
>> http://www.pelicanrope.com/kevlar12strandrope.html
>> say we pick the 7/16", 15,000lb tensile strength rope at 5lbs/100ft.
>> ('cause thats an easy weight)
>> a 1,000ft length will weigh... 50lbs?
>> 1000 ft will not give much free fall time. Parabolic flights are on the
>> order of 8000ft deltas ...400lbs
>> Although rolling all that cable up into the helikite would require a lot
>> of space/big spool.
>>  Jerry Isdale
>> http://MauiMakers.com
>> http://www.mauimakers.com/blog/thursday-public-meeting/
>> On Oct 3, 2012, at 5:04 AM, Lee von Kraus wrote:
>> The best way to maximize the allowable experimental capsule weight would
>> be to* have all the motor mechanisms on the ground *as shown in the
>> attached figure. That way the only mechanism, other than the capsule, that
>> needs to be carried by the helikite is a pulley (and the weight of the
>> capsule line).
>> On Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 10:42 AM, Lee von Kraus <leevonk at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Here are some useful excerpts:
>>> "
>>> The 10 cubic metre Skyhook Helikite is able to fly to thousands of feet
>>> in winds up to 50 mph lifting a payload of 5kg.
>>> Helikites are designed for foul weather deployment and foul weather
>>> flight. Even the largest Skyhook Helikites can be launched and retrieved in
>>> all the winds that they can fly in. So deployment and flight can occur
>>> safely in winds up to 50 or 60 mph.
>>> The new Cased Helikite Aerostat Maintainable Platform (CHAMP) (see
>>> products section) allows the deployment of a 10 cubic metre Skyhook
>>> Helikite within 30 minutes. The unique part of the CHAMP is that it also
>>> includes an excellent Helibase with top cover thus also creating a
>>> permanent, safe base for the Helikite - not just a minimal launch platform.
>>> Helikites can even be launched and recovered remotely - with no people
>>> present at all. They are simply winched off or onto the Helibase.
>>> "
>>> On Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 10:37 AM, Lee von Kraus <leevonk at gmail.com>wrote:
>>>> here is a link better describing the advantages of helikites:
>>>> http://www.allsopp.co.uk/index.php?mod=page&id_pag=24
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