Last Update: Sept, 03 2022
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The evolution of the space industry
Building more efficient launching systems and more affordable solutions for space payload transport is key to the development of the space industry. This is why we need more innovation in space accessibility. We can separate the evolution of space accessibility tech into two stages, where, with each step, we reduce prices per Kg by removing an aspect of the previous process.
The first stage of this journey to a more accessible space is reusability. In this stage, we lowered prices from 25k per kg to 3k per kg. Today in a Space X vehicle, almost 94% of a rocket's mass is composed of propellant to get to Earth's Orbit, and more than 70 percent of the cost is in the first stage. There is still a lot of space for improvement.
At the second stage of the evolution of space accessibility, we will have systems that perform high-altitude burns. Rockets skip sea-level burns and burn fuel at higher altitudes with high-altitude burns. Higher altitude burns allow chemical propulsion systems to be more efficient. This efficiency comes from less dense air, which permits gases to move faster out of the nozzle. By performing this type of burn, rockets can be much more light since they don't have to carry so much propellant. So that we can support life on other planets and a growing orbital economy, we need affordable launching systems. We need to reach stage 2.
Cost-Efficient Rocket Engines
How can we make space flight more cost-efficient? Almost 94% of the total mass in a rocket are the propellant components required to get to Earth's Orbit. How can we reduce this? Burn fuel at higher altitudes where the air is less dense. Thinner air allows gases to be expelled out of the nozzle easier, pushing through less air density and requiring less fuel and oxidizers.
High altitude burns
Although cool, a space elevator with current material technologies is challenging. So, how can we get high altitudes without using costly rocket engines? Again, simple, kinetic energy. At Ylla Space, we are developing a rail gun that will launch a small-scale rocket. Electromagnetic Orbital Launcher (EMOL) might sound complex, but thanks to years of R&D by NASA back in 1982 and the US NAVY, they have become more efficient. Today, EMOLs are the perfect fit for orbital launching systems, being much more efficient than applications explored by the US NAVY (See below the problems chapter for more information). We want to launch a 3000kg rocket into space (~150km in altitude) where atmospheric pressure equals design pressure, and chemical rockets burn fuel more efficiently.
Humanity used the world's most promising inventions as weaponry and then re-invented them to take humanity to the next level.
How it works
In short, the system works by placing a small rocket inside a 50-meter-long electromagnetic launcher. The energy supply, connected to the copper rails, will generate a magnetic field and push the vehicle through Lorentz Force. Once the rocket reaches the desired altitude, and where design pressure is equal to atmospheric pressure. The chemical propulsion system will carry the payload to the destination. The idea is to have two types of rocket for two types of missions, one for docking and another for satellite delivery. Once the rocket delivers its payload, it will fall back to earth in a belly flop position and deploy parachutes for a soft landing. The belly flop position will allow the rocket to maneuver into the landing pad, where it will be picked up and carried back to base for its next mission.