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Courtesy LiftPort Group
The LiftPort Group has a bold and interesting plan -- to build a massive space elevator before 2020

The LiftPort Group has completed a second round of testing on a prototype space elevator platform that stretches a mile into the sky, which allows a robots to climb and descend the ribbon that is between the two platforms.  The LiftPort Space Elevator would allow a revolutionary way to get cargo and supplies into space -- using a cable thousands of miles long tethered to  an object in geosyncronous orbit.  The company hopes to build the space elevator by the year 2018, but the task will obviously not be easy.  The observation and communication platform that robots climbed is properly dubbed HALE, High Altitude Long Endurance.  HALE was secured in place by several high altitude balloons for over six hours.

The ribbon that will hopefully stretch 62,000 miles from Earth into space will be made of carbon nanotubes weighing less than 1.5 pounds per mile.  Although initial testing was done in Arizona, the space elevator will likely be anchored to an offshore sea platform that will be located somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

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Coriolis Force
By Micky2Shoes on 2/16/2006 9:27:03 AM , Rating: 1
Biggest problem I can see (apart from getting a strong enough cable) is coriolis force. Any object travelling up the elevator would experience coriolis force which eventually would drag the whole thing out of orbit. So you would need to continually boost the counter weight. That being said however you could use this to stabilise the cable (but only if the oscillations were in the plain of the orbit). Also you could use a high specific impulse engine to do the boosting (like an ion engine) which would be a lot more efficient than rockets. So I would say it’s doable but quite tricky.

Coriolis force is a fictitious force arising from the fact the whole system is in a rotational reference frame. It’s given by,


where m is the mass of the object, Omega is the angular velocity and V is the velocity of the elevator within the rotating reference frame. Oh and x = cross product not straight multiplication or for that matter the letter x.

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