Over the years, the SAA has been responsible for several spacecraft failures and even dictates when astronauts can and can’t perform spacewalks. As the space around Earth becomes filled with an increasing number of craft, what does the SAA mean for the future of spaceflight?
This post is from back in February 2021, but I just stumbled across it this morning and thought it was an interesting read.
Learn something new every day!
This part caught my eye…
Radiation is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless enemy…
…and I couldn’t help thinking…
It’s okay. I’m immune 😂
Anyway, the article linked above is food for thought. Whenever electronic objects pass through the SAA, which is where the loops of the Van Allen Belt dip perilously close to the Earth, the electronics get a massive amount of radiation and go haywire.
Seriously expensive to shield stuff up there — and as more and more satellites (and people) go up, so does the risk.
The possibilities…the tether doesn’t actually have to touch the ground. Basically, you put up a satellite with two tethers (one for things going up, one for things going down) and then have a rocket sent up and attach to the tether.
The tether would then push the payload the rest of the way into outer space (as the article points out, space begins at 62 miles above sea level, but 98% of the weight of rockets is used to break away from the Earth’s gravity to that point).
Now, this article was published on April 1st, so I’m really hoping it’s not a prank…
(Also, wordpress looks REALLY BAD today for some reason. Wth? This “block” style is clunky AF and looks more like Netscape ca. 1996)