October 21st 2035

60 Astronomical Units from Earth, Kuiper Belt

Racing through space, the New Horizons probe was developed by NASA and launched on January 19th, 2006 nearly 20 years earlier.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary outside of the usual comet or random spikes in solar radiation. It wouldn be until New Horizons sensors detected an anomaly, the A.I that ran New Horizons probe automatically began scanning the surrounding space until it detected a wormhole.

Quickly it began taking pictures of the strange anomaly and began beaming the information back to Earth. 10 hours later the message reached earth along with the pictures of it. In only a few minutes the New Horizons probe was already more than 1000 kilometers away from the wormhole, continuing its journey in the freezing depths of space.

Ten hours later the teams at Houston soon received images and information of the wormhole; this single discovery will change the course of human history for decades to come.

To them it was an amazing discovery but they have they
e hands full with another project as of now.

Ten years later

June 17th 2046, Cape Canaveral air base

On the runway was a sleek, large black-white plane getting ready to launch from a straight runway. This wasn any ordinary plane, this plane was designed to latch onto a skyhook and go into space.

Recently built in the decade with recent discoveries in much stronger and flexible materials and all of the pieces launched by the most powerful rocket made in human history, the BFR.

Now that has changed with the recent construction of the Sky Hook. From the 20 million dollar cost launch and hours of refueling a BFR and Super heavy required to only a five million cost launch and only minutes of refueling, with a payload equal to that of a BFR but only a third of the fuel of a Falcon Heavy.

The plane was capable of carrying half a million pounds of supplies and equipment. The plane in of itself was 5 times larger than the biggest airplane ever built.

That was just the plane without the boosters attached allowing it to go a speed of Mach 12 fast enough to catch and latch onto the Sky hook.

The plane was so large that it required a track to point it in the correct direction of the sky hook to allow it to even catch it so it didn rip itself apart in flight as the pilot is only able to make minor adjustments when in the air.

The plane was nicknamed Sky Catcher as its designed for air to space travel through the uses of Skyhooks its official name is the SC-MII as the first model was nothing more than a failure as it didn pass the flight test in the air.

A part of the payload was supplied to take to the moon and along with some astronauts, to compare the effectiveness of the Skyhook to normal standard rockets such as the BFR. As some people were suspicious of the skyhook being useful.

The plane had life support systems, built in solar panels for energy when in space, along with RCS.

”Ignition check, clear. Tails all good, autopilot properly working. Boosters check. We
e all clear on our end. Over. ” Reported the Pilot, all the while pressing and clicking the corresponding buttons.

”Airspace clear, Sky hook in T-Minus 60 seconds until it enters the atmosphere and begins the launch sequence. Over. ” Said the Air traffic controller.

The pilot pushed multiple buttons and levers causing the boosters to heat up and began pushing the plane forward in only a few seconds; it was already at Mach 1. Causing the plane to take off much earlier than planned. But the test/mission continued.

A sonic boom resonated after going faster than the speed of sound, causing the windows in the air traffic control tower to shatter but they planned for this as all personnel in the building were protected by body armor.

Faster and faster the plane went, ”Mach 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. ” The pilot reported reading the speed to the world, after only flying for 45 seconds the boosters disengaged from the plane causing it to go faster from the less weight it was pushing now Mach 12 it was the fastest plane ever built.

The pilots and astronauts were subjected to over 7.6 gs.

Just as planned the Skyhook soon became visible; it was only 15000 meters above sea level to make sure it didn disturb any airliners heading across the world.

At this point it was a race against time. The plane only has about 60 seconds to catch the Sky hook and latch onto before it gets to space and theyll have to land at sea and prepare another vehicle to take them up there so the Skyhook will be sitting there for the next few weeks without anyone to latch onto it.

The pilots began to perform minor course corrections to catch the sky hook then the plane latched onto the skyhook taking the plane into space with it.

The entire world watched anxiously until the pilot reported ”We have latched onto the Skyhook, I repeat we caught the Skyhook, moving to phase two. We
e headed to the moon! ” The pilot said enthusiastically.

Back at Cape Canaveral air base the people who worked on the project began to cheer. Trillions of dollars were spent on this project the U.S, China, Russia, and the European Union nearly went bankrupt and had to nearly shut down the project due to how expensive it was, but since the tech had proven that it was effective world leaders decided to keep the project runnin and place some orders for more of these planes and Skyhooks to be built and possibly the order for mining of asteroids.

The future for humanity seemed bright, but a looming question began to dawn on the Scientists on Earth: the wormhole they discovered at the edge of the solar system began to wonder if they could get there in less than 8 years with the Skyhook technology.

In 2035 when it was first discovered it was a shocking discovery wormholes are possible but New Horizons didn have enough fuel to stop itself to get more data all they had were pictures just pictures.

So the leaders at major nation space organizations and private space companies all met up to create the largest ship man has ever built. New technologies that stabilize and make wormholes at best.

Named project Gateway to allow for the stabilization of the worm hole. But the scientists and leaders had a more pressing problem at hand a energy crisis was coming in the foreseeable decades that had to be solved now and the leaders at those organizations decided to shelve the project for another project:

A Dyson Swarm.

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