MattSparkes writes, "A new study funded by the US Air Force has suggested a cheaper method of sending satellites (possibly missile weapons) into orbit. A 2-km-wide ring of superconducting magnets would contain and propel a payload, accelerating it over a period of hours, before suddenly flinging the satellite into space at 23 times the speed of sound. The satellites would be engineered to withstand the g-forces encountered (2,000 g), and be cased in an aerodynamic shell. A two-year study has been commisioned and will begin within a few weeks at LaunchPoint Technologies in Goleta, California." New Scientist points out that if such a launch ring were built, it would instantly become "one of the most important targets on the planet."
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