As for the GPV, the magnetic suspension system, like in the magnetic cushion train drive, is designed to exclude contact of the moving belt flywheel with the linear components of the GPV structure, primarily with the vacuum channel walls. Herewith, the design of a geocosmic vehicle with a length of 40 thousand km and a mass of about 40 million tons imposes some specific requirements.
During the prelaunch stage of a geocosmic flight, while on the runway, the belt flywheel accelerates to speeds of 10-12 km/sec., exceeding the first cosmic velocity (7.9 km/sec). The lifting force created by the belt flywheel rotation around the planet is directed from its center, i.e. vertically upwards at each point of the equator, and should exceed the gravitational force. Such an excess of the lifting force depends on the following: the height of further ascent (the higher the orbit is placed, the greater the excess should be), the efficiency of the belt flywheel electric drives and other upcoming energy losses during the flight, in particular, the aerodynamic drag on the atmospheric section of the movement and energy losses related to the ballast discharge and other changes in the total flight weight. To avoid involuntary lifting, the body should be fixed on the overpass with special locks along its entire length.
In the first phase of the flight (after simultaneous opening of the locks along the entire overpass length) the GPV will begin the ascent to the specified height with gondolas attached to its body, carrying passengers and cargo. The diameter of the GPV toroidal body will increase in size – from the initial values equal to the Earth’s equatorial diameter, to the final values equal to the diameter of the near-Earth orbit, to which the flight is made. Thus, the GPV will deliver cargo to an altitude corresponding to the placement of a low circular near-Earth orbit.
An essential condition under which the cargo can be considered delivered to a circular orbit is its movement around the planet at the first cosmic velocity (7.9 km/sec.), since only in this case it becomes an artificial satellite of the Earth and can be left there in a free orbital flight (in a state of weightlessness). That is why during the second stage of the GPV flight, the belt flywheel begins to be slowed down by its linear motor, which has switched over to the oscillation mode. In the meantime, the GPV body with the attached cargo receives an impulse in the direction of the flywheel movement, gradually increasing the speed of its rotation around the planet until it reaches the first cosmic velocity for the specified orbit at a preset altitude.
The first and second phases of the geocosmic flight are carried out simultaneously according to a special program as per the route assignment, which is drawn up for each flight, taking into account the load weight, external conditions in the atmospheric section of the route (air temperature, wind, rainfall, etc.), and other factors. The return of the GPV to Earth is performed in reverse order.
Another (the second) belt flywheel is needed for efficient transmission of momentum and moment of impulse between the belt flywheels and the body with cargo. The braking of the first flywheel is due to its linear motor, which has switched to the generator mode. In such a case, the released energy can be not discharged into the surrounding environment, but used to accelerate the second belt flywheel. Its acceleration in the opposite direction will provide effective energy recovery, while transmitting a double impulse to the GPV body with cargo. Thus, the top performance and high overall efficiency of the GPV will be achieved when carrying out a geocosmic flight from Earth to near-Earth space by obtaining an orbital speed equal to the first cosmic velocity.
The weight of two belt flywheels should be sufficient so that at the initial (obtained on Earth) speeds of 10-12 km/sec., not much exceeding the first cosmic velocity, the necessary reserve of energy, momentum and moment of impulse required to enter orbit only due to the internal forces of a closed system, without any force interaction with the environment, appears inside the GPV.
Considering the cosmic velocities of the belt flywheels and the inadmissibility of their friction against the air environment during the GPV flight in the lower dense layers of the atmosphere, they should be isolated inside the vacuum channels with a safe distance to the walls.
The operation specifics associated with the elongation of all linear elements of the GPV structure (body, magnetic levitation system, linear electric motor, etc.) by 1.57% every 100 km of the ascent above Earth's surface, impose another significant requirement – to structurally provide the possibility of extending the geocosmic vehicle by up to 6.5% (for the case of the ascent to near-Earth orbit about 400-km high). The principal approach to meeting this requirement is a linear layout of the entire GPV structure and its systems using two types of the segments: the main functional ones of stable length (the first type) that will be separated at a certain spacing by special elongated modules (the second type) carrying communication lines of all the GPV on-board systems, including power and communication channels.
The greatest difficulty in solving the problem of elongation is caused by the GPV casing, vacuum chambers, magnetic levitation, and linear electric drive systems, as well as the belt flywheels, which are linear-continuous elements in their design and have a tensile force load. This means that their elongation is provided either on the basis of elastic structures (including silphons, flat, and disc springs) or due to movable joints. At the same time, the belt flywheels can be assembled without the use of special elongated segments and increase in their linear dimensions only due to the elastic properties of special materials, including superconducting composites and permanent magnets. As for the magnetic suspension and linear motor systems, their segmentation is not particularly difficult, since the division into modules will be similar to the movement of several rolling stock along a common circular route.
Subject to the requirements important for any aircraft such as lightness and reliability of the design, the most suitable system of magnetic suspension and linear electric motor for driving the belt flywheels is the EDS technology of self-stabilizing electrodynamic suspension using superconducting magnets cooled to cryogenic temperatures. The driven belt flywheels move at speeds exceeding the first cosmic velocity and cannot be used to accommodate the complex systems and direct link with them is impossible. Herewith, the superconducting magnets with their cryogenic cooling system should be located on the side of the GPV body, where all the on-board functional devices are located.
Before launching the GPV, the linear flywheels should have a sufficient kinetic energy reserve to lift the entire system of millions of tons to a preset orbit in accordance with the following energy losses:
- Aerodynamic drag in the atmospheric section.
- Losses in the magnetic cushion and linear electric motors.
- Energy consumption for stretching the length of the GPV ring as it ascends and its diameter increases.
- Energy consumption for lifting the system (GPV) to a height of h₀.
- Energy losses during the return descent to the planet (if there is no energy recharging in orbit and during the descent stage).
To provide the GPV with starting electric energy, it is more expedient to have own power plants, which will allow to distribute the energy within the geocosmic system at a net cost of about USD 0.05 per kWh. Therewith, the additional energy can be taken from the network of countries in the equatorial belt of the planet, where the GPV launch overpass will be located.
The cost of the total energy E₀ required for the first GPV launch will be: 420 billion kWh × USD 0.05/(kWh) = USD 21 billion, and the specific one (upon the total payload of 10 million tons) will be equal to USD 2100 per ton. Moreover, once accelerated, the flywheels can rotate inside the vacuum channels for years, because a magnetic cushion on permanent magnets, like vacuum, will not create resistance when they move at cosmic velocities. This means that the energy consumption for the second and subsequent GPV flights will be associated only with a part of the total energy proportional to the cargo carried, as well as with internal energy losses which are estimated at no more than 10% and, in theory, can be reduced to 5% and even to 2-3%. In the case when the GPV begins to rise up, it will transfer energy to the Earth's cargo, and when descending, as the falling water of a hydroelectric power plant, on the contrary, the cargo from space will transfer its potential and kinetic energy to the GPV. After the creation of space industry, the main cargo flow will be carried out from space to Earth, and the GPV will stop spending energy and begin to generate electricity transmitted through the cargos from space, operating, among other things, as a giant equatorial dynamo with a total capacity of about 100 million kW.
GPV is ready to take off
After obtaining the belt flywheels calculated speed, the GPV is kept from lifting along its entire length by means of special ganglocks installed on the supports of the overpass. After the cargo loading and accommodating passengers in the suspended gondolas, the locks release the hull along its length.
Since the flywheels are accelerated to speeds that ensure the excess of centrifugal forces over the weight of each linear meter of the GPV, each linear meter of the vehicle covering the planet begins to move from the center of the flywheels rotation and rise vertically upwards in the equator’s plane. The GPV ring will symmetrically increase in diameter in all directions relatively to the center, and its body will lengthen and stretch. According to the law of conservation, this giant ring’s center of mass will always coincide with the planet’s center of mass.
Unloading and disembarking of passengers
After reaching the specified orbit and stabilizing the GPV along its entire length (that means the absence of any local fluctuations relatively to the ideal orbit), it is being unloaded and passengers are disembarked into the orbital circular complex stretching around the planet.
The load capacity of the GPV is 250 kg/m or 10 million tons. This is enough to start the creation of the Industrial Space Necklace “Orbit” (ISN “Orbit”) around the planet Earth even during the first GPV launch.
Net cost of geocosmic transportation by GPV
The stability of indicators of the net cost of geocosmic cargo and passenger transportation by the GPV was analyzed according to the following initial data: different flight rate per year, different charge capacity of unidirectional cargo flows, and incomplete charge capacity of a single flight per year. The calculations were made for two energy tariffs – the purchased one (USD 0.05 per kWh) and the partnering one (USD 0.02 per kWh).
For a single flight per year with the full loaded GPV in both directions with the use of purchased electricity, the net costs of lifting and lowering cargo will be USD 1,111 per t and USD 68.8 per t, respectively. For two such flights per year, the net cost of ascent and the cost of descent (it will be already negative that means an additional income) will be equal to USD 861 per t and – USD 182 per t respectively. For 50 such flights per year, the net cost of ascent and the descent income, as noted above, will reach USD 620 per t and – USD 422 per t, respectively. When the own electricity is consumed at the reduced tariffs, there will be an almost proportional reduction in the net cost of lifting. So, for one, two, and 50 flights per year, it will be USD 798.7 per t, USD 548.3 per t, and USD 307.8 per t, respectively. The change in the energy tariffs does not affect the net cost of the descent, because the energy is not consumed during the descent, but is generated and then sold at a fixed market price of USD 0.05 per kWh (according to the feasibility study).
The analysis also considers the net cost values for a single flight in both directions of the GPV loaded by 10%, 2% and 1%. Even with such a small loading of the GPV as 1%, the net cost of lifting goods that amounts to USD 59,539 per t will be almost 17 times lower than the presently standard tariff for lifting goods which is about USD 1 million per t.
Economic effect of using GPV
The economic effect of using the GPV for geocosmic transportation on the Earth–Orbit–Earth route is determined by the difference in the cost of transportation between existing launch vehicles and the GPV. This difference is about USD 10 million per t (at the lowest average prices for the cargo delivery to orbit by rockets).
During the first year of the GPV operation, when about 100 million tons of cargo will be delivered into orbit, the economic effect will be USD 1,000 trillion (including savings of USD 10 million results from the delivery of each ton of cargo to orbit). This effect is expected to grow over the years.
The presented calculations consider only the material component of the products production and delivery.
It is also worth to note, that it is impossible to consider the effect resulted from improving the quality of life on Earth, stabilization of the ecological situation and whole Earth's biosphere, creation of conditions for future unlimited human development which will arise due to transition to the cosmic stage of development only from a financial point of view.
The General Planetary Vehicle, proposed by Astroengineering Technologies LLC, is based on an environmentally friendly geocosmic transportation technology that can provide any cargo and passenger traffic to and from orbit. Herewith, only the GPV is capable to save Earth's civilization from extinction and death.