posted on Oct, 20 2006 @ 07:02 AM
NASA isn't using the space-plane that you linked to because the engines that are supposed to power it don't exist yet. Funding to develop said
engines is in short supply (for various reasons that mostly involve politics). Once we have the engines available, the airframe will have to be
actually designed (as opposed to being drawn in a PowerPoint (tm) presentation, then the hardware will have to be flight-tested. By the time that's
done, there will be some environmental reason why the design has to be changed, or Congress will step in and demand some additional capability, or
NASA will change the mission requirements (multiple items from this list are possible). After this round of changes is made, more flight testing will
be required. Lather, rinse, and repeat these last two steps for around a decade (based on experience with the F-22 Raptor), and we might see this
space plane around the year 2040.
As for the space elevator, the materials to actuall build one (as opposed to simply discussing it) do exist, but not in any amount remotely close to
what you'd need. As with the space plane, there's also the question of cost. Now, if you happen to know someone who has a few thousand miles of
carbon nanotube cable just sitting around in his or her garage waiting to be donated to NASA, by all means, let the folks at Huntsville know ASAP!