11 March 2017
Jonathan Ainsley Bain

The Astrosling
Towards a lightspeed spacecraft

A satellite with two rotating arms would be attached to a fixed engine. It would build up momentum by spinning the arms at ever-increasing angular velocity. It could be fuelled by atomic energy or even ordinary sunlight. Once enough rotational velocity is acquired, two probes are jettisoned outwards from each end of the spinning satellite. In this way the fuel is not carried with the spacecraft.

See Video:

Concept Spacecraft Video

Extra sunlight reflected off many giant mirrors on the earth can boost energy, and this power will not wane with distance as the rotational velocity gathers before it launches.

There is no friction on the axle because the central moving part is held in place by identically charged magnets. Thus it cannot overheat. This is the magnetic bearing:
  frictionless spin
This is best type of space-probe because it does not waste fuel by carrying its own fuel. At an expanded diameter it is more accurate as regards the destination of the probes because timing the exact release point of the probes seems the biggest conceptual challenge.

The mechanism may not necessarily be a classical electromagnetic engine. A series of timed electric charges with pole-switches on nodes seems a more intuitive way to use electricity in order to make the rotor spin fastest. In the next diagram, the green (negative) charge on the rotor is attracted to the red (positive) nodes to cause rotation.


As the rotor passes the oppositely charged node that it is heading towards, that node momentarily goes neutral before going negative and repelling the rotor away as it passes over. As the arms extend, the poles are made to increase power, and the rotation quickens.

In this way any limits caused by electromagnetic engines are negated with the rate of change in the nodes pre-determined to reach speeds perhaps reaching quite close to the velocity of light. The non-contact bearings consisting of magnets, making it a virtually frictionless mechanism in a near-vacuum.


Depending on the materials used, it may be better to use the shape above to strengthen the Astrosling. Placing it on an asteroid like Cruithne will improve stability and Cruithne may even be a source for fuel.

The strength of materials seems to put a limit on velocity. I am still trying to determine what diameter of what materials is optimal. The cutting edge being: the physical strength of the video camera or other detection instruments. But the wider the arms, the less stress will be applied to the internal workings of the probes.

A more powerful method of acceleration than solar power could be to first build a space-elevator so that it could be safely energized with nuclear fuel from the Earth. Normal electrical power would then be conducted up the space-elevator without risking nuclear fallout in the upper atmosphere.

Because of the way in which angular momentum accumulates, it could take any amount of time to power-up and reach velocities comparable to the velocity of light. But all that is required is for the probes on the outer edge of the Astrosling to accelerate at just 1G for 1 year in order to reach the velocity of light. It could perhaps even hold a passenger depending on how wide it is. The wider it is, the stronger the materials need to be.

Incidentally, I also postulated the idea of using giant mirrors on the Earth to fuel spacecraft with the same purpose in mind. They would reflect sunlight onto a solar-sail or solar panels. Much cheaper than lasers, I reckon. There is no need for the Mars Rover to suffer from too little sunlight on its panels.

In order to understand the reasons why this device could deploy a pair of probes at velocities potentially faster than light, read this article:

Computational Analysis of Relativity



Relativity Analyzed



Faster than light