Traveling to space is not cheap at all, just ask any government involved in a space program and they will tell you just how much of a dent space programmes make into their annual budget. Well, privatizing it is one thing, but that would mean only a select few with deep pockets and seemingly unlimited bank accounts are able to make the trip. How about introducing a mass transit system for future space travel? That is the idea toyed around with the Startram, a proposed ‘space train’ that supposedly makes travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere a whole lot more affordable for the masses, as it is said to be able to ferry four million people annual to space, and this objective is expected to be achieved in two decades’ time.
If the Startram looks familiar to you in terms of form factor, that is because was designed by by one of the inventors of the ‘magnetic levitation’ trains that currently see action in countries like China. It will be railway driven by superconducting cables that are suspended in the air by magnetic forces. The train will make its way to the stars (or at least, I believe that is what future advertisements will portray) in an 80-mile sealed tube, taking a short while to do so. The proposal will cost around $60 billion (no idea on whether inflation will affect the final figure or not), but it might also use space-based solar power to help it chug along. What do you think of the Startram?