SkyTrack. Take a ride on the "up train" ( Early stage animation concept )

Ever since I heard Michio Kaku’s speeches on the “space elevator” concept I have been rather interested in the idea. Not so much the idea of some really cool, super fast and extremely tall elevator that lets you visit space for fractions of a penny on the dollar compared to todays standards, but rather the physics behind it all.

Scouring youtube for some videos of simulations i couldn’t seem to find anything of the ride up that was both visually appealing and accurate.

So i started building an Earth model and added a tether/rail system that is theoretically coupled to both the Earth and a space station in geostationary orbit at 36,000km above Brazil.
In this animation my thoughts were the train/space craft was going to accelerate at no more than 5 Gs at any given time.
Attempt to reach the escape velocity needed to blow by the space station (at approximately 11km/s) and then be free of Earths gravitational influence and proceed to kick on some ionic thrusters and continue on its way to the Moon or Mars.
Thats the idea anyways…

Please note that the space station model actually hasn’t been built yet and the animation ends a good bit before it would have reached it (its a long trip and my render farm isn’t very big).

Also note that the acceleration profile and trajectory are not at all realistic. I am attempting to run some calculations and come up with some close figures to how a space elevator might actually move.

And finally, there is no scenery on the ground yet so the very beginning seems kind of slow, but it does eventually start moving pretty fast.

bon voyage


slight correction,

earlier i said the escape velocity was ~11km/s. Well that would be true if you were on the ground. But i plotted what the velocity was over altitude and found it to be nearly half of that at the point the craft would decouple from the station at 36,000km.

Heres the curve i got:

V[SUB]esc[/SUB] = sqrt( 2GM / R )

  • V[SUB]esc[/SUB] = velocity needed to escape, in m/s
  • G = a constant, 6.67 x 10[SUP]-11[/SUP] N m[SUP]2[/SUP]/kg[SUP]2[/SUP]
  • M = mass of the object you are escaping from, in kg
  • R = radius of the object you are escaping from, in m

This shows that at 36,000km, a vehicle would need to be traveling at 4.26km/s to achieve escape velocity.