Jump to content

Space Elevators... is it too large or does it fit into the game?


Do space elevators make sense for KSP 2 and why  

60 members have voted

  1. 1. elevator go brrrrrrrrrrrr

    • Yes, fits the game well and would be very useful
      9
    • Yes, only works for small/medium sized planets tho and not for large planets
      20
    • No, it's too big for this game
      14
    • No, it wouldn't be useful
      9
    • Yes other
      2
    • No, other
      6


Recommended Posts

Yes, only works for small/medium sized planets tho and not for large planets

Since we don't have a material strong enough to support a space elevator even a carbon nanotube.

Edited by Lo.M
Link to post
Share on other sites

No, it's a silly concept. Any rock small enough that you can build one on doesn't need one. Since we're basically guaranteed to be talking about an airless moon, a runway with magrail is far more compact and cost efficient.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, K^2 said:

No, it's a silly concept. Any rock small enough that you can build one on doesn't need one. Since we're basically guaranteed to be talking about an airless moon, a runway with magrail is far more compact and cost efficient.

This I think would work better for places like laythe then.

it's most effective for atmospheric. Cause I agree it wouldn't make sense for airless moons.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, The Doodling Astronaut said:

This I think would work better for places like laythe then.

Even at KSP scales, that's thousands of kilometers. No real world materials that can withstand anything like that. And even purely from game perspective, the engine will struggle, and it's completely unclear what to do about collisions or if anything moves the counterweight out of place. Bad idea all around.

I don't think anybody looks at space elevators as a realistic concept anymore, anyways. There are other megastructures that are considered as actually plausible.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, K^2 said:

Even at KSP scales, that's thousands of kilometers. No real world materials that can withstand anything like that. And even purely from game perspective, the engine will struggle, and it's completely unclear what to do about collisions or if anything moves the counterweight out of place. Bad idea all around.

I don't think anybody looks at space elevators as a realistic concept anymore, anyways. There are other megastructures that are considered as actually plausible.

We don't know if space elevators are impossible or useless. In this case, there might be a good use for them on planets where sending large payloads or unaerodynamic payloads are much of a problem where space elevators could be useful

plus, it could be just outside of the atmosphere, not in like geostationary orbit.

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, OvinandRusk said:

maybe kerbium

What's Kerbium? A sugarcoated Unobtainium?

15 minutes ago, K^2 said:

No, it's a silly concept. Any rock small enough that you can build one on doesn't need one. Since we're basically guaranteed to be talking about an airless moon, a runway with magrail is far more compact and cost efficient.

The point is that the cost of sending said small rocks on space elevators is that it'll be cheaper than sending them on big oil barrels in the long run. If you could have a theoretical launcher that uses no fuel but takes in electricity only and has a large one-time cost for the construction, then it would get cheaper than even the most reusable oil barrels.

Edited by Bej Kerman
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

The point is that the cost of sending said small rocks on space elevators is that it'll be cheaper than sending them on big oil barrels in the long run.

The cost of sending the rockets up on a magrail that is laying flat along the surface of the moon is orders of magnitude lower.

Edit: And as a bonus, you can do it on something as big and massive as our actual Moon, not just some asteroid. Magrail launch scales both up and down - so long as there is no atmosphere. And any world big enough to have atmosphere is too big for a space elevator.

10 minutes ago, The Doodling Astronaut said:

We don't know if space elevators are impossible or useless.

We do, though. It's very easy to estimate tension and show that no materials exist or are projected with sufficient tensile strength. You might as well be proposing a linear gyro based on a negative mass. It's fantasy, not even science fiction. Let alone anything resembling a proposal, which has been the standard for all the other future tech in KSP2.

10 minutes ago, The Doodling Astronaut said:

plus, it could be just outside of the atmosphere, not in like geostationary orbit.

That's even worse. Now it's just as impossible to construct, and it's useless also.

Edited by K^2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, K^2 said:
2 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

The point is that the cost of sending said small rocks on space elevators is that it'll be cheaper than sending them on big oil barrels in the long run.

The cost of sending the rockets up on a magrail that is laying flat along the surface of the moon is orders of magnitude lower.

Telling from VAB screenshots that show ore requirements for parts rather than money, the only thing stopping Kerbals from making a space elevator is the local amount of resources. With planetary infrastructure, there's nothing really stopping Kerbals from making one for the fun of it, as long as it's scientifically, rather than economically, viable. Besides, we're assuming that these would be built on Tylo or Duna. Space elevators would really shine on Gilly, Bop and Pol where maglevs (if any) would be used for operations beyond orbit instead.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

Telling from VAB screenshots that show ore requirements for parts rather than money, the only thing stopping Kerbals from making a space elevator is the local amount of resources. With planetary infrastructure, there's nothing really stopping Kerbals from making one for the fun of it, as long as it's scientifically, rather than economically, viable. Besides, we're assuming that these would be built on Tylo or Duna. Space elevators would really shine on Gilly, Bop and Pol where maglevs (if any) would be used for operations beyond orbit instead.

If we're going by Kerbal rules, the joints aren't strong enough to withstand a structure that's sufficiently tall, except on worlds where you can take off with a few puffs of RCS from, so why?

But, I mean, if you want to get down to the point of doing it for the lulz, you can build a trebuchet on an asteroid in KSP already. I'm sure there will be more opportunities for shenanigans like that in KSP2. That's just not what I'd call a space elevator.

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, K^2 said:
16 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

Telling from VAB screenshots that show ore requirements for parts rather than money, the only thing stopping Kerbals from making a space elevator is the local amount of resources. With planetary infrastructure, there's nothing really stopping Kerbals from making one for the fun of it, as long as it's scientifically, rather than economically, viable. Besides, we're assuming that these would be built on Tylo or Duna. Space elevators would really shine on Gilly, Bop and Pol where maglevs (if any) would be used for operations beyond orbit instead.

If we're going by Kerbal rules, the joints aren't strong enough to withstand a structure that's sufficiently tall, except on worlds where you can take off with a few puffs of RCS from, so why?

But, I mean, if you want to get down to the point of doing it for the lulz, you can build a trebuchet on an asteroid in KSP already. I'm sure there will be more opportunities for shenanigans like that in KSP2. That's just not what I'd call a space elevator.

Okay, space elevators are bonkers. Is there any other system that can get things to orbit with 0 fuel?

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Bej Kerman said:

Okay, space elevators are bonkers. Is there any other system that can get things to orbit with 0 fuel?

I'm feeling silly repeating it for the third time, but a runway with magrail. It's a bit impractical to try and build something like that in KSP, but in KSP2, with colony construction, if it's not in stock, it ought to be a mod.

Build it on an elevated location, nothing silly, just high enough that you can drop a periapsis to it from parking orbit without hitting any mountains. Then if you're taking off, you just brace for high-G. If you're landing, it's a bit trickier - you want to come in perfectly on the right heading and use RCS to do final adjustments to hit the capture area on the rail. Then you get brought to a stop - ideally, with regenerative braking, so that you don't have to waste a lot of electric energy either.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, K^2 said:

Even at KSP scales, that's thousands of kilometers. No real world materials that can withstand anything like that. And even purely from game perspective, the engine will struggle, and it's completely unclear what to do about collisions or if anything moves the counterweight out of place. Bad idea all around.

I don't think anybody looks at space elevators as a realistic concept anymore, anyways. There are other megastructures that are considered as actually plausible.

megastructures are cool but yeah, launch loops, space elevators, and especially orbital rings would probably turn into spaghetti due to the games iffy loading mechanics

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't even understand the obsession with using 0 fuel... you're going to need it at some point anyway.

If you're on the moon, the DV to orbit is comically small already, and even large asteroids can't even compare.

So why build this incredibly expensive and likely failure prone facility....when you can just carry a bit more of the propellent you're going to be bringing anyway.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found space elevators as a cool concept. The only two problems are:

-Material (and even then there is already some new materials that are promising the ability to have a structure strong enough to support into space.)

-And supply (which I don't think is a problem)

The one thing I see why this wouldn't be added to the game is because KSP is a rockets game and not a space elevator or magrail game.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see why not. You don't need to model the entire thing just the keostationary station and the ground station, which presumably would be at or near KSC.

In fact we can do that now with Kerbal Konstructs IIRC.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 Realism concerns aside, I’m not sure how space elevators would work gameplay-wise. They wouldn’t be all that interesting to design or build, as there’s basically only one design with the only variable size/capacity. And they wouldn’t be interesting at all to operate: load a payload, wait, pick it up from the other end.

@K^2 is kind of getting me sold on magrails though, those sound like fun.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Brikoleur said:

 Realism concerns aside, I’m not sure how space elevators would work gameplay-wise. They wouldn’t be all that interesting to design or build, as there’s basically only one design with the only variable size/capacity. And they wouldn’t be interesting at all to operate: load a payload, wait, pick it up from the other end.

@K^2 is kind of getting me sold on magrails though, those sound like fun.

I believe Nate Simpson said at some point that repetitive tasks would be able to be automated so that the game wouldn't turn into Kerbal Milk Run Program. A space elevator might be a good hands-off method of getting stuff to orbit in the late game, and seeing as late-game tech might end up including stuff like antimatter torch drives, it makes sense that the Kerbals might have invented a material strong enough for a space elevator by then.

But yes, yeeting things into orbit with a mass driver does sound fun too. Perhaps they could both be an option - you could even use them in conjunction with each other with a mass driver at the end of your space elevator to chuck things at other planets.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, RealKerbal3x said:

Perhaps they could both be an option - you could even use them in conjunction with each other with a mass driver at the end of your space elevator to chuck things at other planets.

I have a feeling Sir Isaac might have something to say about that...

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, RealKerbal3x said:

I believe Nate Simpson said at some point that repetitive tasks would be able to be automated so that the game wouldn't turn into Kerbal Milk Run Program.

Not only said that, he specified there's going to be a system to automatically repeat flights you've already done, at that point, between automated rockets, SSTOs, and fuel mining/refining I see little room, gameplay-wise, for things like space elevators (as @Brikoleur already pointed out).

There's a huge gameplay potential in the automated route system in playing with rockets/ship designs to make a single route more capable or efficient, especially if it works with reusable ships and if you can recover used ships to recycle their parts or modify them.

Using a ship multiple times to haul cargo automatically and then bring it to some shipyard to retrofit it into a newer model or disassemble it to recycle the parts for its replacement sound a way more interesting gameplay loop opposed to "bring 20000tons of materials here to build a size 2 standard elevator".

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, RealKerbal3x said:

I believe Nate Simpson said at some point that repetitive tasks would be able to be automated so that the game wouldn't turn into Kerbal Milk Run Program. A space elevator might be a good hands-off method of getting stuff to orbit in the late game, and seeing as late-game tech might end up including stuff like antimatter torch drives, it makes sense that the Kerbals might have invented a material strong enough for a space elevator by then.

Stronger materials aren't like faster computers. We're already scraping limits of what chemical bonds can do, and we don't have forces in nature we can use to replace or enhance these. Graphene is basically as good as it's ever going to get. That's 130GPa at 2.27g/cm3. At uniform 1g, that's self-support length of about 5,700km. You can basically take it as the absolute limit.

And the only reason the very idea of space elevator isn't dead is because that's technically just enough. If you make the cable a bit narrower in the middle to reduce the weight, and you utilize tension on both ends evenly, and with Earth's gravity diminishing with altitude, a pure, atom-perfect sheet of graphene can connect Earth surface to a geostationary counterweight. But that's a spherical horse in vacuum. So lets say a few words about why "just enough" is nowhere near enough.

First of all, you're working at the limit of ultimate strength. Any cracks, chips, even scratches? The cable will snap. We're talking bird strikes being a danger. If orbit of your counterweight isn't absolutely perfect, you can go home, because you have no slack to give. Thermal contraction or expansion? Goodbye cable - so you need to keep the entire length at perfectly uniform temperatures. Earthquake in the pacific rim changed speed of Earth's rotation ever so slightly? You have a few days to match that on the massive, enormous counterweight, or the whole thing goes away. Wind? Serious problem, because while it's not a huge amount of additional force, it's directed from the side, so is multiplied in tension by several orders of magnitude - again, no spare slack, so you can't just let the cable sag in the wind, reducing stress.

Provided you can launch and maintain perfect orbit of counterweight, then construct tens of thousands of kilometers of absolutely flawless cable, and then maybe you figured out how to keep it free of any impacts, minimize wind resistance with towers around it, keep it at uniform temperature throughout the length, and still somehow manage to move cargo about it; can you do all these things absolutely without fault for as long as it takes? Maaaaybe. But what if not? If that cable snaps near the Earth, that's just going to be a massive earthquake as the tension is released. But if it snaps closer to counterweight? All that mass is going to come crashing down. And it's basically going to punch straight through atmosphere with no resistance. It will cut through Earth's crust causing the worst disaster on record. Probably worse than some of the known extinction events. All that risk for getting maybe an equivalent of a heavy launch once every few hours?

Thing is, even if we get to the point where we could build this, which seems unlikely at best, I don't think there will ever be a time that we should build it.

 

An antimatter torch drive is really not a big deal in comparison. It's a big structure, but not a megastructure. We don't need any perfectly constructed materials in impossible quantities - antimatter for fuel is by far the hardest thing to obtain. We have several theoretical designs that seem practical. It's somewhat dangerous, but so long as you don't take it near atmosphere, even if it explodes, it won't take the planet with it. All in all, a comparatively reasonable proposition.

More importantly, if we have tech to build antimatter torch ships, we need a lot of intermediate technology that can change how we launch ships into orbit even if we don't come up with anything better than a rocket. For example, we can do rockets with beamed power. That lets you launch from anywhere in the world without any limits on number of launches you can do at once. Basically, making the very idea of a space elevator obsolete before it's even feasible.

So I don't think the fact that we get some of the future tech in the game is remotely an argument for something like a space elevator. It's just too fairy tale of an idea. It doesn't fit the theme of KSP for the same reason a jump drive doesn't.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I've found this material called diamond nanothreads. Obviously, this material probably will fail for the reasons stated above, and that no one knows how to produce this material in large enough lengths (yet), but it seems promising. Could this material work?

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NutellaSandwich said:

Hmm, I've found this material called diamond nanothreads. Obviously, this material probably will fail for the reasons stated above, and that no one knows how to produce this material in large enough lengths (yet), but it seems promising. Could this material work?

The material would withstand, on small planets and natural satellites, but as K ^ 2 said, perhaps, it is the maximum that chemistry can support. In addition, carbon nanotubes are very difficult to produce. I would prefer a skyhook or a magrail or even a mass drive, much easier to do.

There is a way to produce graphene in an industrial way more and of poor quality not ideal for an space elevator.

Edited by Lo.M
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would be useful in ksp1. Ksp2 will have self sufficient colonies and space stations, from my understanding, where you can build, etc.  Since we can build anywhere im not sure what a space elevator adds, other than the cool factor. Perhaps it could be a gate way technology but it would become mostly useless the moment a space station becomes self sufficienct.  Also, while the idea may seem cool. Who really wants to spend 10 minutes mindlessly watching something ascend into space on an elevator? Maybe once.... And if it practically just loads you in space than we allready have an elevator in ksp1. Its called cheat>set orbit.

Edited by harrisjosh2711
Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...