Second Round of Space Elevator Technology Completed
February 16, 2006 2:23 AM
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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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RE: So what happens when the cable snaps?
2/16/2006 10:25:36 AM
The counterweight will eliminate the orbital drag due to corriolis force. The point of the counterweight is that at all times, the weight of the counterweight-tether system is less than the centrifigal force. This will keep tension and will prevent it from being dragged down from a heavy rising load. It will also keep it normal to the surface of the planet, if it is anchored precisely at the equator. The problem is that you need a very heavy counterweight to cause oscillations to be small and slow: however, a very heavy counterweight will be extremely expensive.
I would also like to know how they are going to strand together nanotubes: nanotubes are cheap to make, but excedingly hard to manipulate.
RE: So what happens when the cable snaps?
2/16/2006 7:40:15 PM
I don't agree, let me put it another way. The coriolis force is the force needed to add all that extra angular momentum that a payload would have at GEO compared to at the ground. The force will act perpendicularly to the cable. There is no getting around it, you will need to periodically re-boost the counter weight. The only way you wouldn’t would be if there were no net mass transferred up the cable. I do admit that I could be wrong but I am 99% certain of this. I would appreciate enlightenment if you have any to offer but I would like some maths to prove it.
Also I believe coriolis is spelt with a single r (but I may be wrong again).
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