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?
2/17/2006 9:30:38 AM
Except that in the early days of flight wings were probably torn off all the time. The consequences of which fall back to earth. In this scenario, a failure means you're flung out into space, probably a higher orbit, maybe one that isn't circular any more and will soon result in a re-entry. I doubt you could be flung completely free of the earth, but geo-sync is a long way up, and the counterweight would be thrown out even higher if the cable snapped.
I'm just curious what they plan on doing, or if they plan on it not happening ever.
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