I’m sure that many of you have heard of the space elevator. That is where an incredibly strong and light ribbon is strung from geosynchronous orbit down to the surface of earth and simultaneously the ribbon extends further out from geosynchronous orbit to act as a counterbalance for all that mass.
Then, one attaches a climber or an elevator that uses its own power supply to ascend the ribbon. This will get mass into space and out of space, for a fraction of the cost of rockets.
Having two separate systems, the ribbon and a self powered elevator seems so inelegant to me. What if instead you make a space yoyo? That way the ribbon and elevator could act as one in raising and lowering the elevator.
Look, you’re going to have to use rockets to get the space elevator in place anyway. How about you leave a lot of extra fuel on the rocket and use it as “the big jerk in the sky”. Yoyos are controlled by well timed jerks.
You could load and unload on the ground by using “the sleeper” yoyo maneuver where the elevator would spin but would remain stationary with respect to the ground. Things could be loaded and unloaded through the centre of the elevator.
Of course all that spinning, and stopping and starting that spinning could make some people very sick. Still, isn’t it worth it to get to space? After all , right now, many choose to enter the “vomit comet” to just simulate zero gravity. These people gamble with puking when they aren’t even making it into space.
So I say ‘yea’ to the space yoyo. Sure the ribbon or string will need to be even stronger but that is a small price to pay for its elegance. Maybe the future will greet us with space yoyos instead of elevators. And when not operating they could do all those other yoyo tricks. “Around the World” would suddenly take on new meaning.