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Could Solar Kites and Space Tethers help to lift the first Space Elevator?

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posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 12:12 PM
In order to make a Space Elevator a reality we are going to need to first get the top of the Elevator into space. I envision the top of the space elevator looking like a huge doughnut with 8 octagonal space tethers floating from it. These tethers could supply the needed power and thrust to the Space Elevator.

What is holding us back from creating a Space Elevator today.
1. The amount of money a project like this would cost.
2. Lack of materials strong enough to produce a cable 230 miles long.

Both of these limitations could be solved with a little ingenuity and a lot of money.

Lifting and setting in place a 230 mile cable is the main hurdle in this mission.

I propose that with enough cash we could lift this cable with a variety of inventions working together. For the first several miles we would support the cable with several balloons, after that we would try to support it with Solar Kites from 20 miles up to 100.

And then at around 200 miles up we would have a giant doughnut shaped object with 8 or so space tethers coming off of it like tentacles. Once we have all 3 systems in space, balloons, kites, and tethers then we would worry about unrolling the 230 miles of "nano rope." We could rocket the rope to the highest level and then have some mechanism attached to the rope that will help lower it to the other levels.

If you do not believe that these systems could help to put into space the space elevator please offer another solution other than waiting for technology to improve.

Or if there is a problem with my current setup please help me find a solution to correct it.

The more we talk about the space elevator the sooner it will become a reality.

posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 12:50 PM
1st Problem with your setup, the length of the initial tether is much too short. It needs to stretch well past the point of geo-stationary orbit, which is in excess of 50,000 km.

2nd Problem is your method of getting the tether up into LEO. It would be impossible to use baloons to get up that high, the limit seems to be around 80,000 ft.

Your idea used for setting up high altitude bases would work though.

posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 02:55 PM
I think we're a long way from building a space elevator, though it's a cool idea.

Even carbon nanotubes don't have the strength to support a stucture like this. I think the current results are less than half the required tensile strength that's theoretically possible.
The ribbon would have to stretch over 35,000 kilometers and a large counter weight needs to hold the far end over the equator in geostationary orbit.

A seed cable would have to be lifted into space and then fed back down to earth, then crawlers would need to keep adding to the structure until the ribbon is large enough to support more weight.

This idea seems a long way off, but I'm sure it'll be realized in the future after much more research and development.

posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 03:01 PM

Even carbon nanotubes don't have the strength to support a stucture like this.

Actually they are strong enough, it's just when you add them all together that all the defects pile up and lowers the overall tensile strength. We need to get the technology to make individual tube as long as the cable itself with limited defects(or none what so ever). We may even find another type of tube that does an even better job, titanium for instance may be used to either dope the cnts or comprise the main bulk of it, we don't know yet. Right now though, CNTs are the best bet.

posted on Jun, 3 2006 @ 03:38 PM
Could we use Electromagnetic Tethers and Microwave the energy back to the outer hub of the space elevator.

Also, could these Electromagnetic Tethers be used by future spacecraft as a means of propulsion. i.e.. as a levitating train uses magnetism to propel itself forward, could a spacecraft use the same principle of it if there were enough tethers?

If a spacecraft can use it as a means of fuelless propulsion(since the craft wouldn't have to take up as much fuel) would it be worth it to make the vertical railroad track of tethers as long as possible, the longer the track the more the spacecraft will be propelled forward?

posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 01:22 PM
The tethers length will be around 62,000 miles long...not 230.

and it called an elevator for a reason...and not a space train. It will climb its way up, not ride a rail. This thing will pass threw the sky...I dont think I want a metal cable...can you say lightning rod.

posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 07:01 PM
When I refered to it as railroad tracks I was thinking the tethers(a few miles in lengh each would replace the wooden part of the railroad track. As far as I understand an electromagnetic tether could transfer energy without having to make physical contact with it. Hence there would be no need to connect the tethers with another.

I was thinking that the space elevator would either be powered by tethers(used as tentacles off of the Space Elevator) or the tethers could provide for extra ener4gy/lift once the object made it out of low orbit.

The more tethers a spacecraft/probe would pass the more energy/speed it would build up.

posted on Jun, 4 2006 @ 07:30 PM
Well, one of my idea's that i've been bandying around for a while in my head is to use Superconducting Nanowires as a way to provide energy for the Lifter, and enable the Tether to send energy back down to the surface from solar arrays in orbit. A system similiar to a Monorail could work, but would be unsafe for human use IMO. A better way would be to have it setup more like a subway where a certain section of the tether is electrified just before the arrival and shutting off a second after its no long by that section. The electricity will be passed through a similiar method to how a docking stations for an appliance works, which will drive a tread with traction gained through van der waals forces(it sticks to all the nooks and crannies at the molecular scale, very very strong stuff).

posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 07:32 PM
sounds pretty good to me Sardion, the tech you talk of would be easier to implement first with solar arrays and then later on with the space elevator, agreed?

Are you proposing that if we get a few of these solar arrays up with their Superconducting Nanowires that we could build off of these to build a space elevator?
Once we got even one of these solar arrays with Superconducting Nanowires into orbit wouldn't it be simple to get the next one up? Just have the first electic nanowire bring up the second?

posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 07:54 PM
I invisage the Solar Arreys in a extremely high orbit(approx. 100,000 km) geostationary if possible, beaming the energy(converted to Microwaves) back to specific points on the elevator to send electricity back to ground station or any other points where it's needed. The space elevator is actually an intrical part of my idea of colonizing and terraforming mars.

[edit on 5-6-2006 by sardion2000]

posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 08:28 PM
Why couldn't you have a network of solar arrays that orbit, wouldn't this be the cheaper option? Especially if its just going to microwave the energy back anyways?

posted on Jun, 5 2006 @ 08:45 PM
No it would be vastly more expensive. What I had in mind is that the Solar microwave lasers will be shot at collectors well above the atmosphere and will then be fed into the CNT Powerlines to wherever it's needed. Over such a short distance there would be virtually zero loss in the transmission, negligable loss in the conversion and minor losses on the way down(or up) the tether to where it's needed.

posted on Sep, 19 2006 @ 02:41 AM
Just found this article on CNN about the Space Elevator.

Apparantly the people over at CNN believe that it could only be 20 years away, if, IF given proper funding.

posted on Sep, 19 2006 @ 05:22 PM
That article says nothing new.

We allready know the Space Elevator is on its way in becoming a reality, I could care less what CNN has to say about it.

BTW, Its only 30 days until we can see how much progress has been made in the space elevator area. I think everyone will be "wow'ed" how far they have come just from lasts years challenges.

posted on Sep, 19 2006 @ 06:04 PM
It's that time of year again already?!? I thought the competition happened in April.

posted on Sep, 19 2006 @ 07:47 PM
maybe your thinking of something different.(?)

I'm talking about the X-Prize Cup...which is on October 20-21.

I hope that people have been working really hard on their designs...I'm looking forward to see their progress.

X-Prize Cup

posted on Sep, 19 2006 @ 07:52 PM
I thought you were referencing the Space Tether competition.

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