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It Might Not Happen Quite the Way You Expect

Illustration for article titled It Might Not Happen Quite the Way You Expect

You think you know everything about launching a space vehicle, but the future is going to be a lot weirder than you might think.


This is a sculpture by the famous designer Edward Tufte, taken from an image on his website. You can see more of his work there.

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Can't work. Any vehicle launched in this manner will return to this point on its orbit. Not good. Ground launched vehicles require thrusters to circularize the orbit once its out of the atmosphere. There are clearly no such rocket engines on the Airstream space vehicle.