Question How to climb the stairs to the stars?

Feb 18, 2022
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Hello. A couple of years ago I came up with the idea of how to build a space elevator with the current level of technology. How to patent this method? I have no money, moreover, I have a loan that will have to be repaid for years... And everything in this world needs money, including patenting. But the fear that my idea will be perverted does not allow me to freely share it with society. What should I do?
 

COLGeek

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Apr 3, 2020
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Has your proposal been peer reviewed? Have you met with private investors/equity firms?

If your ideas have merit and true potential, you may be able to bring folks with resources on board to get things moving forward.
 
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Apr 16, 2021
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If you could test your idea on a small scale, and it works. Then you could scale up your test model.

Investors or governments are not to invest in an unproven concept.
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Patents. A very difficult subject. I have had a number of patents granted worldwide, but that was some years ago. Also, I am UK based, so US has important differences. It may or may not still be the case, but for an non-US person to get a US patent was considered more difficult. Nevertheless, I had US grants of several of my applications. That is my patent background.

First point, which I believe still applies generally, is DO NOT PROPOGATE details of your invention. In any discussions, TAKE LEGAL ADVICE in making any disclosures confidential. General disclosure, even just verbally, may prejudice your application(s).

It appears, immediately, that you need financial backing, be careful about disclosures. I was lucky (or just careful). I nearly sold out to a Swedish company (Nobel) but, at the last second, "went public". Years later, shares went from 50p to £137, but that is another story, Are you in UK or US? Anyway, in seeking backing, BE CAREFUL.

One problem for most applicants is policing a granted patent, which can take a lot more money, including fighting large companies who could simply "out-money" you. For example, if you achieved patent coverage on clipping both socks in a pair with a paper clip when you washed them, how would you police it? You would need search warrants to enter private homes to see how they washed their socks! You would be safer, it seems, from this problem - but you need to be very careful with your claims (in the patent). Even in something which you (correctly) describe only briefly here, there could be marginal issues where proving infringement could be very difficult (and expensive) to enforce.

Take this only as general comment. You need legal/patent advice and, as you say, financial backing. If, as you suggest, you are in a high high investment environment, be very careful. You may be dipping your toes in shark infested waters.

Above all, before you get involved in any financial/legal involvement, be very sure that your idea really works. Do not let dreams interfere with harsh reality.

Best of luck,

Cat :)
 
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Feb 18, 2022
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If you could test your idea on a small scale, and it works. Then you could scale up your test model.

Investors or governments are not to invest in an unproven concept.
I tried to assemble a test model with a load cell to take at least some measurements. I assembled a Wheatstone bridge, connected everything through an amplifier, but the measurement values "jumping" and do not give any information. I studied with such difficulty how to assemble this model, I spent so much money on it and all to no avail. It's very depressing.
 
Nov 19, 2021
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First, do not disclose your idea to anyone, if you do it will no longer be patentable.
If you are getting a US patent, go to USPTO and read their FAQ's.
Your cheapest alternative is to draw it up as best you can according to their guidelines then apply for a provisional patent. The application does not need to be in final form. This application is inexpensive (US$200) and gives you two years of protection during which time you can shop it around. No company will talk to you unless you have at least a provisional. Let them buy it from you and put it into final form at their expense. To get it into final form you must hire an attorney, otherwise it will be full of holes. Expect that cost to be in the US$20,000-US$50,000 range. To defend it in Federal Court figure US$500,000-US$1,000,000.
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Stardust, at the risk of repeating myself, PLEASE be very, very careful.
Above all, before you get involved in any financial/legal involvement, be very sure that your idea really works. Do not let dreams interfere with harsh reality.

Also, do not forget that getting the patent(s) is one thing - policing them is another. I am 'out of date' in practical experience, but how do you stop someone operating your system on some independent Pacific island with no patent enforcement? This might need looking at early on!

Cat :)
 
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May 25, 2021
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Your elevator would have to be 62 miles or 100 kilometers high. To even reach suborbital. Physics would be working against you. Unless you could build a levitation , or a teleportation devise.

The shortest distance between Earth and space is about 62 miles (100 kilometers) straight up, which by general accord is where the planet's boundary ends and suborbital space begins.
 
May 25, 2021
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Controlled levitation would be the best way, once you found out how to control or reverse gravity. Like two magnets either pushing away from each other, or attracting each other. But these for space would need to be very powerful and large. Thus, hovering vehicles on a very much smaller scale. limiting them to only be able to achieve a certain height.
 
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Nov 19, 2021
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Space elevator must be built from the top down. Start with a vehicle at geosynchronous orbit, lower a cable towards the ground, match its weight with a counterweight at even higher altitude.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Clovis,

Can I please check that my 'take' on this question is correct? We seem to be envisaging a satellite about 100 km up attached to some sort of cable which extends down to Earth. Is that correct?

If so, are you then proposing a geosynchronous orbit, or allowing the satellite to circuit the Earth, dragging the cable below it? If so, the ladder would travel at an angle, which would necessitate its length being considerably longer than 100 km, unless the lower end were to be at a considerable height above the surface.

Can you tell us a little more about the cable please?

Cat :)
 
Nov 19, 2021
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The satellite is proposed to be in geosychronous orbit directly over the equator. There would be a cable made of carbon fiber that extended down to the Earth and was fastened to a ground station. Such a cable would pull the satellite out of orbit and down to Earth therefore its mass must be counterbalanced by a counterweight much farther out in space attached by a tether to the satellite which is in geosynchronous orbit. Such an arrangement would be stable and not require any energy input to remain in place. Payloads could climb the cable and get into orbit at very low energy cost. Basically the Earth, satellite, counterweight would pull sideways on the cable and transfer energy to the payload thus speeding it up.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Thank you billslugg. Is it suggested that the savings in supplying the satellite would be counterbalanced by the enormous effort in constructing such a monstrosity?

Have the supply missions in setting up this system been taken into account, plus the normal supplies which the satellite might require in any case? What would be the cost of the cable? What if it breaks during construction. How would it be anchored at the Equator?

Not something I would invest in, but that's just my opinion.

Cat :) :) :)
 
Nov 19, 2021
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Yes, the system would be monumentally expensive, however it could be built incrementally, starting with a small satellite and a hair thin cable. A tiny robot could travel up and down adding to the cables.
There would be no need to anchor the bottom end, it would hover motionless above that point on the Earth. It would need to be way out in the ocean so as to be away from airplane routes. Fortunately the weather there is very stable.
 
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Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
billslugg,

Thank you for the reference dated September 6th, 2000.
It starts "Inspired partly by science fiction, NASA scientists are seriously considering space elevators as a mass-transit system for the next century.".

I am not being negative about this - just trying to get things into perspective.
Maybe the problems will be solved in the next one to two hundred years - it certainly is an interesting idea, and I wish them luck.

Maybe things will be very different by then, and this idea may sound like riding a penny-farthing round to the shops - or maybe it will be the latest craze and the success of its day. Who knows?

Cat :) :) :)


P.S. Just noticed: "There would be no need to anchor the bottom end, it would hover motionless above that point on the Earth. It would need to be way out in the ocean so as to be away from airplane routes."

Would that not make it inconvenient to access? I am not sure of the purpose. Is it meant to facilitate transport to the satellite?
 
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Yes, we knew 22 years ago that there were materials with the theoretical strength to do the job. The latest info I could find, ca 2018, said that the needed strength was 62 Mpa but current carbon nanotubes were but 20 Mpa. We are still off by a factor of three. I have no doubt this will fall in short order. What will take forever is the funding and environmental and social reviews. Such a massive project will certainly benefit only the wealthy and cause a huge carbon footprint. It would also be horribly prone to sabotage. I doubt we'll ever get there.

My point was simply the bottom end would not be pulling upwards and need anchoring. Of course we would anchor it so it would always be in the same spot. Winds would move it around.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
billslugg, "What will take forever is the funding and environmental and social reviews."

That is one of the reasons I suggested one to two hundred years. I agree that this might be a modest estimate.

and

"Of course we would anchor it so it would always be in the same spot."

Was this not to be in the middle of the ocean (which? Pacific?)?

How would this anchor work? Was it not to be in mid air?

Cat :)
 
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The Earth terminal would be a large barge out in the ocean, far from airplane routes. Pacific ocean would be fine. Probably held in place by thrusters. Ocean is awfully deep out there. Currents are very slow in the equatorial zone. There would be no advantage to terminating the lower end up in the air, better to service it with boats than aircraft.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
From #17:
"There would be no need to anchor the bottom end, it would hover motionless above that point on the Earth."

You are confusing me! Please remind me of the purpose. Mid Pacific away from traffic sounds rather isolated for any type of commercial activity.

I am not trying to be critical - just to understand what it is all about.
If you think I am being at all pushy, I will shut up and go away.

Cat :) :) :)
 
Nov 19, 2021
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Let me restate something. The lower end of the tether would hover motionless above the Earth if we chose to leave it that way. Winds would push it around but it would not 'snap back' into space if we didn't hold on to it.

Also, the device could be sited anywhere on the Earth's equator but it would be important to have it far away from any airline routes so airplanes would not bump into it accidentally.

As for being located at a relatively inaccessible place far out in the ocean, given the current difficulties in launching into space, they really would not care. Just put the payload on a boat and send the boat over there. It is required to have it on the Equator, it is highly desirable to have the bottom end fastened to something down on Earth. It is prudent to keep it out of weather systems and airplane traffic.
 

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