Proposed features/Skyhook

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Status: Rejected (inactive)
Proposed by: Richard
Tagging: amenity=skyhook
Applies to: node
Definition: A Skyhook
Drafted on:
Proposed on: 2008-01-31
RFC start: 2008-02-19
Vote start: 2008-03-06
Vote end: 2008-03-07


A skyhook is used to raise and lower items (e.g. food, fuel, spaceships, Charles Arthur) into orbit.




At present we don't have any tags for skyhooks. When skyhooks are introduced to the world, as they surely will be, we can take this opportunity to steal a march on other mapping services by having our tags ready and waiting.

Also, it will help us organise future OSM interstellar mapping parties.

Also, it will change public perception of OSM from outdated means of transport ("horse=yes") to ahead-of-the-curve ones ("skyhook=w00t").


[11:32] SpeedEvil: What sort of skyhook?
[11:32] Blackadder: hey, I got some of those in B&Q the other day
[11:32] SpeedEvil: counterweight?
[11:32] RichardF: you see, it's started already
[11:32] Socks: RichardF: The positioning system in an iphone?
[11:32] RichardF: skyhook=counterweight
[11:32] SpeedEvil: And are you supporting forked ones?
[11:33] Socks: RichardF: DO IT
[11:33] • RichardF is sorely tempted
[11:33] cjb_ie: make sure you include tags for colour
[11:33] cjb_ie: otherwise it'll have to be shot down.
[11:34] SpeedEvil: (you run a rope out to beyond geosync orbit, and the pull from centrifugal force (I know) overcomes the gravity, and causes an overall tension.
[11:34] cjb_ie: (the skyhook, not the tag proposal)
[11:34] SpeedEvil: This normally needs to be on the equator
[11:34] SpeedEvil: but you can in fact fork it and put the fork across the equator
[11:34] Blackadder: landuse=cat_herding
[11:35] Socks: post=last
[11:35] SpeedEvil: Also two large tethers, spinning on a 50Km tower at the poles can work
[11:35] deelkar: SpeedEvil: you can also skip the fork, just the skyhook will not go up vertically (so you need a very good ground anchor)
[11:36] SpeedEvil: Dee: Hmm. I'm unsure if you don't get bad resonances that way
[11:36] SpeedEvil: deel:
[11:36] SpeedEvil: pumped by the moon now being off-axis
[11:36] deelkar: SpeedEvil: yes, I do know that there is no material that would have the tensile strength
[11:37] SpeedEvil: Actually, not.
[11:37] SpeedEvil: It's been demonstrated in the lab already.
[11:37] SpeedEvil: Only needs to go from 50um-50Mm
[11:37] deelkar: I mean for the non-vertical skyhook
[11:37] SpeedEvil: oh
[11:37] cjb_ie: some kind of nanoengineered material?
[11:38] • Blackadder looks forward to OpenMoonMap
[11:38] SpeedEvil: cjb_ie: yes - singlewalled nanotubes have a theoretical density of some 1300kg/m^3 and a tensile strength of 210GPa
[11:38] rcr: landuse=cheese
[11:38] Blackadder: (not the "some hairy arse one")
[11:38] Socks: rcr: Brilliant!
[11:38] SpeedEvil: cjb_ie: 60GPa has been seen in the lab.
[11:39] RichardF: right
[11:39] RichardF:
[11:39] RichardF: do your worst
[11:39] SpeedEvil: Of course - it only gets interesting when you can take a (say) 100 ton tether that you can launch in several bits using rockets, and then widen it using more material carried up  from the bottom in short timescales 
[11:40] SpeedEvil: If you can double the tether mass (and hence payload mass) per year, in 8 years you go from .1 tons to 25 tons payload
[11:41] deelkar: not saying that ~36000 km just to get stuff to the gravitational center (whatever it's called) would take a while
[11:41] SpeedEvil: Gravity pulls hardest in the first few thousand km
[11:42] RichardF: I am _determined_ we are going to get this through the voting system - you're all going to support it, right?
[11:42] SpeedEvil: So you can space the cars at maybe 5000Km without overloading.
[11:42] SpeedEvil: RichardF: of course!
[11:42] RichardF: splendid 
[11:42] deelkar: SpeedEvil: so no human transport (or you get fried astronauts at the vanAllen Belts..
[11:43] SpeedEvil: deelkar: well - it depends on the shielding - but travel velocity is hard - electromagnetic levitation isn't going to cut it really
[11:44] Blackadder: should skyhook=hypersonic apply for fast tracking?
[11:44] SpeedEvil: deelkar: 50m/s or so should be plausible - but that's a long time to climb throught he can allen belts.
  • Wouldn't man_made=skyhook fit better? But actually it's a highway-feature like highway=skyhook. Which API-update will allow 3D-coordinates to allow proper placement of the node marking the stellar end of the skyhook? When that comes we should discuss whether heights are specified above sea-level, mainly focusing on earth bound usage, or from the geographic/astronomic core of the earth or even our sun. The latter would of course require a transformation of all our existing (global) coordinates. I'd like to press this matter because interstellar navigation will be an issue really soon and we should be ahead of Navteq&Co. Imagine a NASA-official in an interview casually mentioning the superior data supplied by OSM in the area they are currently exploring. This would also be a great chance to pay the NASA-guys back for their Landsat-imagery. -- Fröstel 15:54, 19 February 2008 (UTC)
    • I disapprove this proposal because it's far too short fetched on the whole topic of interstellar travel&navigation. -- Fröstel 15:54, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Isn't the skyhook moving with great speeds, unlike space elevator for example?

Wiki ( ) says "tip nearest the earth travels about Mach-12 in typical designs", therefore we have to map not a point but a trajectory (though we can map surrounding buildings, and other supporting structures, like departure hall or whatever ...)

To me it seems a bit futile to map as some point or line or area, kinda like when trying to map satellite trajectories, though skyhook end remain near one place on earth.

  • Oh Mach-12, that sheds a totally new light on this whole matter: Is our Data Modell able to take the theory of relativity into account?
    • Mach-12 is nowhere near relativistic speeds. Still, the question how (and if) to map moving objects remains valid. --Bilbo 16:16, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

In reply to all of the above: The current proposal is for a node, marking the fixed point of the Skyhook in our current 2D coord system. This does not preclude future proposals to modify the tagging when we have 3D co-ordinates (or even 4D to include time, to map the position of the moving point). That our current co-ordinate system is inadequate for the full mapping of skyhooks, should not preclude this proposal. I suggest taking it to the vote, so that we can start mapping Skyhooks as soon as they are introduced to the world, as they surely will be. The difference between man_made and amenity is confusing to me, but since skyhooks could be in either, and there will be no conflict with existing amenity tags, I intend to leave the proposal as it stands when we go to a vote. Socks 17:44, 4 March 2008 (UTC)


Is open until 20th March 2008

  • I approve this proposal Socks 14:04, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal --Skywave 14:21, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I approve of this proposal. I also approve of the word "of". --Richard 14:23, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal. 'Cause it's Cool ;-) -- Hakan 15:07, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal. -- Wawet76 15:21, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove this proposal. We must be able to distinguish between left-handed and right-handed skyhooks. MikeCollinson 15:26, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I dissapprove this proposal since the only way to correctly place this skyhook would be a completely filled plane stretching across the entire globe since we don't have any means to encode the moving feature of this skyhook into OSM, except when someone wants to put nodes everywhere telling when skyhook X will be on that location of course... --Eimai 15:33, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove this proposal, since there is no mention of how to tag proposed locations of skyhooks, or disused, dismantled or otherwise destroyed skyhooks, or where the skyhook has been re-purposed for a guided busway (with or without bus sluices or guide wheels) Welshie 16:21, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal because we've already got one in Essex. We just haven't told you yet. --DrMark 20:07, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove this proposal. Bcrosby 22:12, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove this proposal. The last secret meeting of OSMF agreed that we must not map wormhole entries, spaceports and places inhabited by extraterrestrians because the public still ignores their existence out of sheer anxiety. I truly believe the same applies to skyhooks. That's why I'm frequently checking their sites to remove any evidence of these structures. -- Fröstel 22:33, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Please forget immediately everything you read on this site!
  • I disapprove this proposal. It should be used on areas (because the footprint of these things can get large), or on ways (it is after all basically a linear object). I prefer the last option, so that the data can be used by routing applications. Eugene van der Pijll 00:24, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove this proposal. What a crap and waste of time. Ulfl 01:18, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove of this proposal. Give to the Sci-fi nerd-ism society. Help the search for a cure! --inas 02:19, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Oh, come, come, I (as proposer) am certainly not a sci-fi nerd - I don't think I've ever read any sci-fi apart from the Hitch-Hiker's Guide. My interest in skyhooks is in restoring our wooden narrowboat. Believe me, when you've got to lug around 3in-thick (7.5cm) planks of wood, skyhooks would come in really really useful. --Richard 10:26, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove of this proposal. This joke is not funny. Andrewpmk 07:41, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove of this proposal. You should build your own OpenLayer server to map this kind of sci-fi objects (or wormhole or ET houses....) --EdoM (lets talk about it) 07:58, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I disapprove this proposal. The structure is moving (so not well representable by static node, way or area) and there are no skyhook in construction or even in (serious) planning, so we know little how could that look like, what buildings would be near it, etc ... we don't know WHAT to map.... once some skyhook is at least seriously planned to build, then we can make this proposal again with more knowledge of the real thing (but the point about skyhook moving is still valid) --Bilbo 19:41, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal. Getting it over with now avoids the inevitable lengthy discussion in future so we can get back to bike sheds. Higgy 23:27, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
  • I oppose this proposal I oppose this proposal. Nice joke, but shouldn't be on OSM. --Krauti 21:28, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

This proposal has been Rejected