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Going Up? Use the Space Elevator

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posted on Nov, 4 2009 @ 03:28 PM
Original Article Nov. 4, 2009

Rocketing into space? Some think an elevator might be the way to go. That's the future goal of this week's $2 million Space Elevator Games in the Mojave Desert. In a major test of the concept, robotic machines powered by laser beams will try to climb a cable suspended from a helicopter hovering more than a half-mile (one kilometer) high. Three teams have qualified to participate in the event on the dry lakebed near NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards. Attempts were expected from early Wednesday through Thursday.

posted on Nov, 5 2009 @ 02:24 PM
I've been very interrested in this topic ever since I read Arthur C. Clarke novel the Fountains of paradise 15 years ago. Now that the technology is slowly catching up we see that it could be feasible in my lifetime.

Wiki has an interresting page about the space elevator and it's cousins the skyhook and other means of going to low earth orbit more efficently than with the primitive rockets we have been using since the 50's.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 08:10 AM
Non-rocket spacelaunch, or How to get to LEO more efficiently

Now that the space shuttle is in its last days, and we are more and more concerned about green house gases and the environment, I feel it may be the time to start thinking of better ways of sending men and material in space. Maybe the governments have UFO-type aircraft capable of going to orbit and to space by other means that those that are accepted by mainstream science, but we don’t know for sure yet.

Ever since I was a kid and read a lot of novels by Arthur C. Clarke, I have been thinking of the space elevator. Material science and nanotech are slowly but surely making that was once a wild dream a real possibility.


A space elevator is a proposed structure designed to transport material from a celestial body's surface into space. Many variants have been proposed, all of which involve traveling along a fixed structure instead of using rocket powered space launch. The concept most often refers to a structure that reaches from the surface of the Earth to geostationary orbit (GSO) and a counter-mass beyond.

The concept of a space elevator dates back to 1895 when Konstantin Tsiolkovsky[1] proposed a free-standing "Tsiolkovsky" tower reaching from the surface of Earth to geostationary orbit. Most recent discussions focus on tensile structures (specifically, tethers) reaching from geostationary orbit to the ground. This structure would be held in tension between Earth and the counterweight in space like a guitar string held taut. Space elevators have also sometimes been referred to as beanstalks, space bridges, space lifts, space ladders, skyhooks, orbital towers, or orbital elevators.

Current (2009) technology is not capable of manufacturing practical engineering materials that are sufficiently strong and light to build an Earth based space elevator. This is because the total mass of conventional materials needed to construct such a structure would be far too great. However, recent conceptualizations for a space elevator are notable in their plans to use carbon nanotube-based materials as the tensile element in the tether design, since the measured strength of microscopic carbon nanotubes appears great enough to make this theoretically possible. Current technology could produce elevators for locations in the solar system with a weaker gravitational field, such as Mars.[2]


Sure, the cost and science of building such structure would be staggering but IMHO if we are serious about space exploration we have to find a way to go to orbit more efficiently. There are other ways that are proposed, some like the skyhook ( ) that are similar and could be made in this century. Other means are more out of science-fiction novel .

One of my favorite is the orbital ring. It could replace most of the satellites in orbit and could also be used to clean-up our immediate vicinity of the junk we’ve been sending up there.

An Orbital Ring is a concept for a space elevator that consists of a ring in low earth orbit that rotates at slightly above orbital speed, that has fixed tethers hanging down to the ground.


Anyone here have better ideas ? Should mankind start thinking seriously about the possibility ?

Even though I personally believe the government are not telling us everything they know about space and spaceship , if a international consortium of private companies were to assemble and start planning stuff like that, maybe it would force some disclosure. If we can stop spending trillions of dollars on useless wars and invasions we could do that as a project for humankind.


[edit on 6-11-2009 by grandnic]

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 09:52 AM
Creating a machine that can climb up a space-elevator cable is definitely a step in the right direction, but I think the biggest engineering and technology hurdle that needs to be overcome will be the "cable" itself.

As "grandnic" mentioned in his post above, engineering a cable (or whatever will be "climbed" by the elevator car) that can withstand the forces of being pulled on from 100s or 1000s of miles away in orbit (probably 23,000 miles -- in geosynchronous orbit) will be a great challenge.
The centrifugal force that would be keeping the cable tight needs to be very great to hold up the weight of the cable, so the cable needs to be super strong -- i.e., very high tensile strength.

That technology has yet to be created, although carbon nanotube technology seems to hold much promise. Carbon nanotubes are strong enough, but they have not (yet) been able to be made longer than several millimeters.

While the elevator car is important, that seems to be the "easy" part (relatively speaking) of any proposed space-elevator.

Another carbon nanotube information resource:

[edit on 11/6/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 02:07 PM
reply to post by grandnic

wow did not the concept of the space elevator dated back to 1895 good stuff

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 02:10 PM
reply to post by Soylent Green Is People

yeah i think it will be nano technology also whether the technology exist in some locked out black vault or not is something else though have to think the military im sure is at least 20+ years ahead of current technology now

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 02:39 PM
Thanks, but no thanks. I'll wait for the anti-gravity method of space access.

posted on Nov, 6 2009 @ 02:53 PM

Originally posted by grandnic
Non-rocket spacelaunch, or How to get to LEO more efficiently

Well the other end of the tether would be in geosynchronous orbit - considerably higher than low Earth Orbit... So you could conceivably get off at any point right up to the counter weight 20 odd thousand miles away...

Man Orbital Base jumps are gonna be so much fun

posted on Dec, 1 2009 @ 06:19 AM
I think the space elevator really will be built after seeing this video:

posted on Dec, 1 2009 @ 10:15 AM

Originally posted by Larryman
Thanks, but no thanks. I'll wait for the anti-gravity method of space access.

So, I suppose that you don't want to ride in a car -- you'll just wait for a "hovercraft" method of personal transportation.

...or you don't use a desktop computer or a laptop -- you'll just wait around until they develop tiny implanted personal computers hooked directly to your brain.

...or you don't want that human kidney transplant that you need -- you'll just wait around until they invent artificial implantable kidneys.

A space elevator is the next step, so why not take it. Who knows, 2000 years from know the idea of "antigravity" may be as archaic as chemical-fueled rockets. Perhaps by that time we would be traveling by "folding space".

[edit on 12/1/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]

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