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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This idea is not quite new...
2/16/2006 3:11:32 PM
... but it always had me amazed from the very first day I read about it.
For anyone interested in the subject, I recommend the excellent (fictitious) work by Arthur C. Clarke, "The fountains of Paradise".
RE: This idea is not quite new...
2/16/2006 4:06:38 PM
And then the day comes when someone programs a satellite wrong and it smacks right into the pole.
I think a more interesting thing is how are they really going to get it all pieced together. Obviously just making the whole elevator is gonna take forever. Then they have to put it all together. I assume they will start in space, but how they hold it in place will be interesting.
I also wonder if this will cast some shadows on the earth? I've read more in depth articles than this one and it's going to be a massive project with many stations and elevators going all over the place. Thus if it does have a counterweight I wonder if it might one day cast a mini-eclipse upon the earth?
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