#635: Orbitbots

How to get kit into space? Today’s invention offers an alternative approach to conventional rocketry.

The idea is to build a payload module but much smaller than eg a shuttle (filled with a person and/or a little satellite). Rather than use a multi-stage launch vehicle, drive this module towards escape velocity using a sequence of accelerations supplied by a fleet of identical, small UAV rockets.

These UAVs, would have to be capable of reaching escape velocity individually -but that is almost within the capabilities of some homebrew independent rocketeers. These would be launched in sequence from sites in a line beneath the module’s trajectory and thus form a queue in the sky, chasing the payload.

Each rocket could be programmed to follow its predecessor’s exhaust, so that no advanced navigation is needed. Having impacted on the rear face of the module and flared their fuel, the UAVs would parachute back to earth for reuse.

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