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jeffolie

The Fountains of Paradise is a 1979 novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Set in the 22nd century, it describes the construction of a space elevator. This orbital "beanstalk" is a giant structure rising from the ground and linking with a satellite in geostationary or Clarke Orbit at the height of approximately 36,000 kilometers. Such a structure would be used to raise payloads to orbit without having to use rockets.

GK

Yes. I am familiar with The Fountains of Paradise. Note that the most popular franchises, like Star Wars and Star Trek, never mention such a method of reaching space.

Also note that Arthur C. Clarke may too be lapsing into linear thinking. He sets the time in the 22nd century, when the people making the elevator are aiming for 2018. Even I say that is too optimistic, but what if they manage it by, say, 2030?

Paul Moore

I'm scientifically illiterate, but so far this projects seems to be building from the ground up. Wouldn't it make more sense to feed the line down from a satellite instead of doing some Indian rope trick with it? Or is this just the testing phase until they figure out the best material for the job.

GK

Paul,

They are probably waiting for the price of carbon nanotubes to drop over the coming several years, while over the same period, can continue to improve on the robots that are sent up the ribbon.

Not only would a 100-mile nanotube ribbon be super-expensive today, but the robots would not be able to climb very high until after years of improvement.

Constant

Few months back I jotted down some thoughts on the cabling and breaking system for the space elevator.

I understand there's a way to build the structure; I'm wondering how the heat and how objects will physically move up and down.

[At the link under my name]

GK

Constant,

Carbon Nanotubes have some pretty amazing properties. As their costs decline over the next 15 years, a few fantastic things can occur that are not possible today.

Brian

"My opinion on whether this goal is possible? It is difficult, and 2018 might be a decade too soon, even if it does succeed"

I am not sure the real challenge is technical. Granted technical problems remain are not minimal.

The real challenge is going to be organizational. How do you organize a company to build a large project in space, then support the infrastructure when it's done? There are good models for this in terrestrial environments - FedEx, any of the large freight lines and so on.


"Yes. I am familiar with The Fountains of Paradise. Note that the most popular franchises, like Star Wars and Star Trek, never mention such a method of reaching space."

That always bothered me. Great, spaceships, large mucking habitats. HOW did you get there?


"Yes. I am familiar with The Fountains of Paradise. Note that the most popular franchises, like Star Wars and Star Trek, never mention such a method of reaching space."

In 'Fountains' the engineer in charge says space elevators weren't possible until the orbital fabs were capble of producing the unobtanium (my word not his).

Which points out hte point above - if you've got orbital fabs you've solved the 'getting to space cheaply' problem.


"I'm scientifically illiterate, but so far this projects seems to be building from the ground up. Wouldn't it make more sense to feed the line down from a satellite instead of doing some Indian rope trick with it? Or is this just the testing phase until they figure out the best material for the job."

If you're talking about HALE (our system tested in the desert) then the point is being missed. Which says something about our message not getting out.

HALE exists to

a) test technologies and concepts for sending lifters up and down ribbon.
b) to provide short-term revenue to Liftport Group by servicing aerostats

the inventor

Dear Fellow Scientist,

NASA's rocket technology not for real space exploration but here is one.

Sir, don't be dismayed to see how little information there is on the internet. Despite that, I hope you totally understand my need for anonymity. Assuming that the technology is as effective as I say it is, releasing it to the public in all its splendor could make the world think that a) I am off my rocker, b) that I'm completely wrong or c) just some sci-fi aficionado who's gone a bit too far.

Sad state of affairs, but hey, that's the price of true innovation right?

http://nlspropulsion.net

Regards,

The Inventor

ams

Carbon nanotubes are the "miracle material" of today's popular future. But they might not make it in terms of allowing a space elevator. The space elevator may just be barely possible with the *microscopic* properties of the nanotubes, but any elevator will have to be assembled from a *macroscopic* material, which is always much weaker than the individual grains. In the case of nanotubes, they tend to slip against each other, working against their tensile strength. Furthermore, anything you construct CE wise will need a safety factor larger than 1.0000001. 10-50 is typical.

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