Energy-strengthened structures background: Rod Hyde's Starbridge concept

The idea that a structure could be supported by the energy stored within it clearly formed in my mind after attending an L5 Society meeting in Sunnyvle, CA, in 1984 (or 1983?), a lecture given by Rod Hyde of LL; see the flyer image below:




He described his "Starbridge" concept, a vertical tower supported by a circulating stream of beryllium disks zipping up through a hard-vacuum-enclosing vertical tube, electromagnetic drag of the upward-bound berylium disks against megnetic fields from mechanisms periodically placed in the tubing would support the weight of the tubing, along which elevators would climb carrying people up to space altitudes. The berylium disks were to have their energy resrored when they came back down the tube to its base, built alongside a sloping mountainside, where a loop of electromagnetic accelerators and disk path benders would swing the disks around while restoring their speed, and again direct them back up the vertical tube to space again. (See the above sketch from the flyer advertising the lecture.) Rod Hyde had calculated that the mass of all of humanity could be lifted to space by such a device while using the electric energy consumed by the city of Los Angeles in a mere two weeks. Dr. Hyde has also published a technical paper on the subject.

The contemporary (1978-1985) concepts of Keith Loftstrom ("Launch Loop", Analog - Science Fact article) and Earle Smith ("Texas and Universe Railroad", L5 News) among others also simmered in my creative mind to produce the beginnings of the generalized "Kinetic Energy Supported transportation Structures" concept which is key to much on this website. I urged the National Commission on Space to seriously pursue Lofstrom's, Hyde's, and Smith's concepts during my testimony to it in 1985, but these were left out of the resulting NCS commission's report on the future of the nation's space program. So I began an effort on my own to get attention to their ideas, but as I looked into them more deeply I found problems which probably cause others to drop the subject; however, I found solutions to many of those problems, and combined them and at this point has evolved into the concepts on energy supported structures presented on my GEnie files in the 1988-1989 time frame; wrote upon and submitted for the RAND survey; presented on my web pages as soon as I could get this website started and ever since then; I formally presented a paper on it to the Space Studies Institute in May 1997 ("Kinetic Energy Supported Electrically Powered Transportation Structures") but it was so controversial that they failed to publish it; and now the basic concept is finally formally published as "Kinetically Supported Transportation Structures" in the procedings of the Space 2000 conference in March 2000.

(This page is a "Work In Progress" by James E. D. Cline. Latest revision on 2000 04 09.)
Copyright © 2000 J E D Cline, right to copy with acknowledgements is freely given to all.