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The tether satellite and climber demonstration by Japanese researchers "will fulfill a necessary engineering test along the way to space-elevator operations, even this early in the mega project called the Space Elevator," Swan told Space.

Space Elevator Concept (NASA ANIMATION)

Still, Swan is upbeat. Recently, the ISEC recognized that the overall space-elevator project must be discussed within a larger framework.

The new vision of space elevators centers on the realization that the basic infrastructure is the starting point in the discussions. Two critical problems stand in the way of a space elevator, but each is solvable. The first and tougher problem is making the tether material strong enough to support its own weight hanging from geostationary altitude.

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The best materials are based on carbon structures, either nanotubes or graphene sheets," Pearson told Space. The second problem involves avoiding collisions of the elevator ribbon with satellites and space debris, Pearson said. Since the elevator would be fixed and debris is moving at high speed, the collision velocity is high enough to sever the ribbon.

One solution is to create "waves" in the ribbon to avoid satellites, but this is difficult with debris objects because there are so many of them, he said. Either approach is difficult.

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Michael Laine, president of the LiftPort Group, wants to shoot for the moon. The plan is to create a permanent tether system on the moon that is reusable, replaceable and expandable.

Critical problems

One end of the tether would be at the surface of the moon, secured at Sinus Medii, the elevator's landing site at the lunar equator. So glad you…. He died January first at the age of 89 years.

Going Up? Waiting for the Space Elevator | Space

His memorial service…. Most importantly,…. Dear Fellow Space Elevator enthusiast, The conference is only 16 days away! Yes, you! Send message. Skip to content. The concept has also caught the attention of Google X , Google's division for big ideas, in the past, as well as an X Prize competition.

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While experiments to extend a cable in space have been conducted before , the new Japanese experiment will be the first test to move a car-like container on a cable in space. If the experiment is successful, it could significantly boost interest in the space-elevator transportation system, a concept that many people still doubt is plausible.


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Although the space-elevator concept was once thought to be the stuff of science fiction, some aerospace engineers believe the idea is essential to the future of space exploration as an alternative to building ever-larger rockets;in terms of payload, rocket power has more or less reached its limitations. The cost of moving people and materials into Earth orbit would be dramatically reduced, thus enabling the construction of larger space stations and a lunar base, and even helping to serve as a starting point for a crewed Mars mission, space-elevator advocates have said.

Obayashi Corp. The Shizuoka University team's space-elevator experiment comes on the heels of the International Space Elevator Consortium's ISEC Space Elevator Conference in Seattle last month, where dedicated scientists, engineers and invited speakers gathered to discuss the latest developments, share new ideas and scrutinize new concepts for the novel space technology..