NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Launch by magnetic levitation. Computer-aided des- ign (CAD) of a spacecraft being launched by maglev (magnetic levitation). This system uses magnets to float a vehicle along a track, and will reduce the cost of space travel. It could help launch a spac- ecraft from an airport runway to orbit every 90 minutes. Along with the low cost, this is hoped to entice ordinary people to journey into space. The magnetic field (red loops) accelerates the craft to 1000 kilometres per hour before launching it into the air, and a rocket then takes it to orbit. The project is being developed by NASA, Arrow Dynamics and PRT Systems in the USA, and engineers at the University of Sussex, England.
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