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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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extra miles
By PrimarchLion on 2/16/2006 10:13:50 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if anyone mentioned this, but anything on the elevator that is out past gs orbit(32,000 mi) will be accelerated away from the earth. Very high stresses, but carbon nanotubes can handle it. This is how the elevator could eventually be used as a low-zero fuel launch platform.




RE: extra miles
By PrimarchLion on 2/16/2006 10:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry for double posting. I haven't read all the comments but as I read I want to comment. To deploy the space elevator requires a satellite be put in geosynchronous orbit. The satellite has two spools of carbon nanotube filament. It unrolls both, extending them at the same rate in both directions. The filament doesn't need to be strong enough to support any payload. When the filament touches down, a robot climbs ups, reinforcing the carbon tube as he goes. He makes several trips to make it strong enough to safely support heavy payloads. Carbon nanotubes are extremely strong.


RE: extra miles
By PrimarchLion on 2/16/2006 10:30:17 PM , Rating: 2
sorry again, i'm excited. I made a mistake, gs orbit is about 36000 km or ~22000 mi. The section of filament above this is probably not as heavily reinforced as the section below, so it is extended further as the bottom part is reinforced. A counterweight would not be required in this case as it would make launching payload difficult.


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