|A waverider shuttle craft, a single-stage-to-orbit scramjet system using the hypersonic wavefront that builds up beneath the wings to ride into space.|
Craft and systems devoted to the task of moving sophonts and cargo from planetary surfaces to space and vice versa. This category includes such systems as rockets, aerodynamic shuttle systems, beanstalks, space fountains, and Lofstrom loops as well as many others.
|A beanstalk- a space elevator system using carbon nanotube materials to raise payloads into orbit directly|
- Beanstalk - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Also known as a space elevator. A strong cable (usually polybuckminsterfullerene or some semi-elastic diamondoid) lowered from a geosynchronous satellite and anchored to the ground, often with a counterweight at the outer end to provide some extra tension and stability. It provides cheap and simple access to space using elevators. Most developed worlds have a series of beanstalks connecting the surface with orbitals. Although the effect from a beanstalk breaking and whiplashing around the planet would be quite serious, this has only rarely happened.
- Exoatmospheric Fighter - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
A small planet- ship- or orbital- based hybrid air- and space-craft, usually short- to very short range and armed with lasers and automatic cannon. Crew may include one or two bionts and several dedicated ai, or the whole vessel may be ai controlled. Propulsion is via jet or nanobank turbine for dense or slow atmospheric flight, ramjet or scramjet for hypersonic flight, and chemical, fusion or amat rocket for vacuum propulsion.
- Landers - Text by Steve Bowers
Craft designed to land on a planet; usually a secondary craft or module attached to or carried by a larger interplanetary or interstellar craft
- Laser-launched surface-to-orbit craft - Text by Anders Sandberg
Laser launch systems
- Launch Ramp - Text by Steve Bowers
Inclined launch ramp supported by large scale structures on a planetary surface.
- Lofstrom Loop - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
Dynamic launch loop using a continuous stream of linked magnetic units to raise payloads above the atmosphere for launch.
- Lorrey Loop - Text by Steve Bowers
Advanced form of Lofstrom Loop using three geostationary terminii in orbit at the points of an equilateral triangle, and three ground terminii opposite them, connected by a stream of vessels or particles which travel in Hofmann orbits (except when in the atmosphere), thereby saving energy.
- Omnicraft - Text by Todd Drashner
Versatile mode of transport designed to operate and provide accommodations in a wide range of environments from planetary surfaces to interplanetary space.
- Rotovator - Text by Steve Bowers
Device for transferring cargo or passengers from the atmosphere or near surface of a planet to outer space.
- Scoopships - Text by Steve Bowers
Atmospheric Resource Collection
- Space Cities - Text by Steve Bowers
Habitats in stationary locations above a planet.
- Space Runways - Text by Tardigrada
Launch assist megastructures, usually consisting of suborbital loops in low orbit
- Vertical Skyhooks and Static Orbital Rings - Text by Mike Miller
Orbiting structures that extend above, and below, their centres of gravity.
- Waverider - Text by Steve Bowers
Hypersonic SSTO shuttle craft
Text by Orion's Arm Editors
Initially published on 31 December 2007.