Why go to space?

There are many scientific and economic reasons to go to space. In terms of discovery and exploration, space represents the single wildest frontier we've ever challenged. There are countless scientific wonders to unfold both within and outside of our own solar system. Does life exist under the ice of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn? Can we colonise the volcanic chambers of the moon? And with easy access to space comes the possibility of mega-telescopes able to see much further than we've ever imagined possible before.

Economically there are even more reasons. Using microwave solar satellites cheap, clean energy will become common. JAXA, the Japanese space agency, are working on a microwave solar powered satellite at the moment but have said it won't be economically competitive until launch costs drop to 1% of their current levels. We've got that beat by half again.

The mineral resources readily available for exploitation throughout the solar system defy belief, just to take one example the asteroid 241 Germania has almost a hundred trillion dollars worth of mineral wealth waiting to be mined, and with the sun as a power source there's no reason why it couldn't be - with Maglaunch. And that is only one of many millions of asteroids spread throughout the solar system, you can see a few more of them here.

One added benefit of space mining is that it's clean - there's no pollution because there's nothing to pollute. In the harsh environment of space nothing lives, there is no ecosystem. This also extends to space industries that can be built once resource extraction is well underway, leaving the earth a pristine paradise. Ultimately even food production can be moved to space.

Then of course there's the risk of serious extinction events on earth wiping out the human race, while it may be a remote chance such events have happened many times in the earth's history, and they will no doubt happen again. In terms of risk mitigation it makes good sense to have both offworld colonies and a presence in space to deal with any hazardous bodies that might be coming our way.

None of these benefits will ever be realised without Maglaunch.

What's so different about the Maglaunch system?

Let's first take a look at what's being used to get to space right now. All spacewards endeavours are being sent up on rockets, which is a bit like a ship having to pull the sea along with it when it wants to go somewhere. All rockets are subject to something called the rocket equation, which means most of your mass has to be some sort of propellant. Even the best rockets are always going to cost at least four figures per kilo and far more for human cargo.

So unfortunately, rockets, while spectacular and with all respect to the pioneers of the early days, are a dead end if you want to turn space into something more than a curiosity for the enjoyment of a privileged few, no question about it.

Somewhat more promising are spaceplanes, which use a variety of technologies to get high into the air before moving to the rocket stage but even these, in their best case scenarios, will still cost exponentially more per kilo than Maglaunch.

More speculatively some hope for a space elevator to answer the problems of launch costs but such a system needs a wide variety of new technologies and materials that we don't even know are possible. The strength of the tether needed to build a space elevator is so far beyond materials science that it may as well be imaginary.

The Maglaunch system on the other hand uses existing technology, maglev trains, in an evacuated tube to reach orbit for a very low cost and needs no new technology or materials to achieve its end. It will also be far safer than strapping a bomb to the bottom of your chair and hoping everything holds together. It's the only logical solution to the problem of space exploration's high costs, and it is going to happen.