22 February 2007

“Wenjiang Yang and his colleagues from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have investigated the possibility of the “Maglifter,” a maglev launch assist vehicle originally proposed in the 1980s. In this system, a spaceship would be magnetically levitated over a track and accelerated up an incline, lifting off when it reaches a velocity of 1,000 km/hr (620 miles/hr). The main cost-saving areas would come from reduced fuel consumption and the reduced mass of the spaceship. “

physorg (h/t Futurismic)

NASA was examining the feasibility of maglev launchers a few years ago, but it is unclear whether funding has continued. Meanwhile, the US Navy has been using the same technology for a rail gun.

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