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01/04/2002 04:14 PM ID: 15322 Permalink   

Nasa could use magnets to launch rockets


Nasa scientists are looking at whether electromagnets could be use to propel rockets into space.
If the magnetic levitation technology is successful it could dramatically cut the costs of launching spacecraft.

Engineers at Marshall Space Flight Centre say the craft would need to carry less fuel and so there would be more room for payload.
The method could be safer and cleaner, and would reduce the cost of reaching orbit from $100,000 .

Nasa has already tested the system with a model plane, which accelerated to 60mph in half a second. The Navy is also researching maglev to launch its aircraft from carriers.

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