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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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Silly Question
By Dmitheon on 2/16/2006 1:01:26 PM , Rating: 2
Silly question: Why anchor it to the ground? It seems like that creates a huge number of complexities. If we're placing a platform out in space and a counterbalance, why not have a platform/counterbalance in the atmosphere as well? Put it at an altitude that aircraft use when they're flying over the storm. The cost of getting it to the platform would be simply that of flying the cargo. This would also let the system be more tolerant of any movement.

You'd have to place the space weight first, but you pretty much have to do that with a sea-level based platform as well. The whole thing seems like an interesting problem, a via solution to which may not exist until we've failed a few times. :-

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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