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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2/16/2006 12:56:36 PM
For ppl with any questions you should check out the VERY good Wikipedia article about the space elevator. It describes the problems and solutions in detail. Weather IS a problem. And you are all thinking in newtonian physics which is not the best one here. Think Lagrange and use the Earth as an acelerated referencial. At geosinchronous orbit the gravity becomes zero. Below this point it rises up till the ground where it is highest and over this point it is negative. What you need to get is an overall (slightly) negative gravity so that the cable is always under tension - as if something was pulling it from space. It's pretty simple, but you have to understand the concepts of orbit and geosichronous orbit pretty well to even try and understand this.
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