Space 'elevator' to the 🌒 moon

Jun 13, 2021
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Subject: space elevator technology promises exceptional earth-space transport capacity at low cost and with much less pollution. Some concepts promise a feasible development cost of $1 billion USD (far cheaper than for example Ariane 6 that costed $6 billion USD to develop).

Question: why are space agencies not investing their resources in the development of a space elevator? For example, Europe is planning to develop Ariane 7 (re-usable rocket) by 2035.

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The concept of using an "elevator" to travel from Earth to space has been around for quite some time, with an early concept first proposed in 1959 by Russian engineer Yuri Artsutanov. But now that seemingly far-fetched idea can become a reality.

The idea is relatively simple: a cable is tensioned from a satellite counterweight above geosynchronous orbit, where it is attached to a floating anchor station at the equator. The cord can stand on its own by centrifugal force, allowing a car to travel along the cord, straight from Earth to a space station.

NASA and space agencies in Japan and China have been working on this version of the space elevator for years. The Obayashi Corporation has promised that a version will be operational by 2050, costing an estimated $90 billion. According to new updates, they say the space elevator will be ready in 2035.

According to IAA (International Academy Of Aeronautics), a ribbon made by them can lift a weight up to 20 tons using carbon nanotubes.

The space elevator's cable will travel through geostationary orbit and its two sides will be secured by a 2 million kg anchor. After this charge is sent into the universe, the relationship between Earth and the universe is reduced.
https://inventionsky.com/space-elevator-project/

60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be ready by 2035, new study says
The idea of climbing such a ribbon with just your body weight sounds precarious enough, but the ribbon predicted by a new report from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) could launch up to seven 20-ton payloads at once.

7x 20 tons = 140 tons capacity (per x hours).

Space X's Falcon Super Heavy has a 64-ton capacity with a 100-ton target.

Ariane 6 (planned for 2022) has a capacity of 4.5 tons. Ariane 6 costed €5 billion to develop and the cost per launch is €95 million.

The proposed space elevator for availability 2035 makes it possible to lift 140 tons per x hours for a capacity of +2,000 tons per day, at virtually no cost (on solar energy instead of +90 million Euro per launch for 4.5 tons of capacity at Ariane 6).

With 2,000 tons per day capacity, it would be possible to lift the Eiffel Tower (10,100 tons) to space in just 5 days or the Empire State Building in 182 days. With an improvement in elevator technology, it might be possible to move larger structures to space at once.

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford weighs 100,000 tons. A spaceship like USS Enterprise (Starship Enterprise) from Star Trek may weigh 100x as much.

The Space X Super Heavy (Starship) costs $150 million USD per launch for 64 tons of capacity per launch. The cost of raising the USS Gerald R. Ford would be $234 billion USD. The cost of lifting 100x the weight for a spaceship like USS Enterprise would be $23.5 trillion (trillion) USD. Even at 100x less cost per launch, the cost would be $234 billion USD.

With Ariane 6 (planned for 2022, 4.5 tons capacity and $95 million per launch), the cost of raising USS Gerald R. Ford would be $2 trillion (trillion) Euro.

With a space elevator: potentially 0 USD costs (solar energy) and virtually unlimited capacity in terms of weight. Raising the fictional USS Enterprise spaceship could be possible in months time with limited transportation costs.

A Colossal Elevator to Space Could Go Up Sooner Than You Ever Thought
https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/colossal-elevator-space-could-be-going-sooner-you-ever-imagined-ncna915421

China is heading for the stars with plans to have a space elevator ready by 2045
The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, a subordinate of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), the country's main contractor for the country's space program, recently drew up long-term plans for its space program, including the plan to have a space elevator operational by 2045.
https://www.yicaiglobal.com/news/china-shoots-for-stars-with-plans-to-build-space-elevator-by-2045

(2019) A space elevator is possible with today’s technology, researchers say
https://www.technologyreview.com/2019/09/12/102622/a-space-elevator-is-possible-with-todays-technology-researchers-say-we-just-need-to-dangle/

(2019) Space 'elevator' to the Moon could happen by the end of the century
https://www.foxnews.com/science/space-elevator-moon-reality

NASA: https://sservi.nasa.gov/articles/the-space-elevator-concept/

LiftPort - on the way to the moon

The Seattle, Washington-based company LiftPort wants to build a space elevator on Earth, but the company has no plans to do it all in one go. Instead, Michael Laine, CEO, and his team settle for a more modest goal: to build an elevator on the moon by 2022.

International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC)

The space elevator is closer than you think! The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is composed of individuals and organizations from around the world who share a vision of humanity in space. Our vision: The space elevator is a transportation infrastructure that is ecological and "beats gravity well". Its decisive strength is that it delivers huge amounts of cargo to GEO and beyond in an environmentally friendly way.

https://www.isec.org/

The EU may also plan to invest in a space elevator.

(2017) The European Parliament calls for a space elevator
https://juliareda.eu/2017/09/ep-calls-for-space-elevator/

MIT Review: A space elevator is possible with today's technology, researchers say (we just need to dangle it from the moon)
https://www.technologyreview.com/2019/09/12/102622/a-space-elevator-is-possible-with-todays-technology-researchers-say-we-just-need-to-dangle/

A space elevator to the moon is feasible - and surprisingly cheap
New study suggests an efficient lunar space elevator could be built for about $1 billion using existing technology.
https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/space-elevator-moon-could-be-doable-surprisingly-cheap-ncna1051496

A giant elevator could connect Earth to space using current technology, experts say — here's how that could work
https://www.businessinsider.de/international/space-elevator-on-earth-moon-2019-9/?r=US&IR=T

A lunar space elevator is feasible and cheap, scientists find
https://observer.com/2019/09/moon-space-elevator-lunar-exploration-columbia-study/

Space elevator designed to reach the International Space Station from Earth
http://www.evolo.us/space-elevator-designed-to-reach-the-international-space-station/
 
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Apr 16, 2021
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Hi:
I think this is a wonderful concept but I do not think it is very practical given the Earth's gravity and weather to name a couple items.
I think the Moon would be a better place to try this idea out.
Clive
 
Jun 13, 2021
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The cited studies mention that it is feasible with today's technology. Don't you think that they will have factored in aspects such as ⛈🌪weather?

What is the basis for your idea that weather may be a problem for the technology? In one example, the cable is anchored on earth using a 2 million KG anchor.


When a lift concept would be a success and 10+ lifts are built, it could provide a +20,000 ton per day capacity with near zero transport costs, low pollution and low risk of failure (safe transport of humans to space).
 
May 11, 2021
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The cited studies mention that it is feasible with today's technology. Don't you think that they will have factored in aspects such as ⛈🌪weather?

What is the basis for your idea that weather may be a problem for the technology? In one example, the cable is anchored on earth using a 2 million KG anchor.


When a lift concept would be a success and 10+ lifts are built, it could provide a +20,000 ton per day capacity with near zero transport costs, low pollution and low risk of failure (safe transport of humans to space).
Unfortunately the “New report” link in your article does not work so we can’t see if it did consider weather issues. But there are plenty of other issues as well as weather and dozens if not hundreds of academic papers on the subject for those who are interested such as:

Material strength
https://www.nature.com/articles/news060522-1.pdf

Repairing a space elevator
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2018.0086

Thermal cycling
https://academicjournals.org/journal/JCEMS/article-full-text-pdf/FD1AD1F59522

Also there would be issues with space debris, the Van Allen radiation belts, affordability and politics to name but four
 

Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
Feb 18, 2020
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Am I not understanding this correctly?

If you are pulling something up, then there is a corresponding downward pull on the object in space. Same story as a kite. The kite is pulled upwards, you have to pull it down to stop it flying away.

Cat :
 
Apr 16, 2021
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In my mind, it depends how high the object is. The higher the object is, the less the pull of gravity.
And it also depends on where you are. If you are on the Moon where there is less gravity, the object regardless of its weight will take a long time to drop to ground level.

Clive
 

Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
Feb 18, 2020
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I really cannot understand this. I must be missing something.
Have I got this right? It is being proposed that you have a space station or way station in geosynchronous orbit and from this you have a tube or corridor dangling down to Earth through which traffic can flow.

Is this tube meant to be anchored to Earth, or how does traffic access it?

Cat :)
 
Apr 16, 2021
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Hi:
I don't see the practicality of doing this on Earth. Try this idea out on the Moon, Man. We already know that there is a mini space station planned for lunar orbit called Gateway. It makes more sense to try this idea out on the Moon where the gravity is 1/6 of that of the Earth. It would be a useful in lunar exploration.
Furthermore, it's not rocket science
Clive
 
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Mar 25, 2021
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The cited studies mention that it is feasible with today's technology.
"Today", being 50 years from now.

1. Lift capacity
2. Actual construction methods and tools in space
3. Longevity of objects "in space" (cold welding, power, etc)
4. Living facilities for the construction crew

We are just now at the point of knowing how to turn a wrench. The ISS took 20 years to assemble, and now parts of it are wearing out.

"feasible with today's technology" is a click baity pipe dream. It will happen eventually, just not anytime soon.
 
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May 14, 2021
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The problem I see is that, by necessity, it has to be constructed on the equator, but virtually every orbit has to cross the equator. Eventually all inclined orbits will precess into the tower’s location. So, absolutely everything below geo altitude would have to be cleared or the tower wouldn’t last long. That would severely limit the utility of low orbit. The up side would be that several of these towers could be used as anchors to begin a Dyson ribbon to which geo satellites could be anchored without the necessity for stationkeeping.
 
Jun 1, 2020
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What protection would there be against saboteurs and space debris? A geostationary column would encounter extreme impact energies for any NEO as these satellites are traveling about 18,000 mph.

As objects go up, their much weaker angular momentum will require something to compensate for this as their climb will take angular momentum from the elevator system, though this compensation is likely much less, I suppose, than that required by a launch process.
 
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What protection would there be against saboteurs and space debris? A geostationary column would encounter extreme impact energies for any NEO as these satellites are traveling about 18,000 mph.

As objects go up, their much weaker angular momentum will require something to compensate for this as their climb will take angular momentum from the elevator system, though this compensation is likely much less, I suppose, than that required by a launch process.
I recall a novel I read some years ago in which an elevator was built of carbon fiber, three cables braided together. Then saboteurs bombed about 30000 or so miles up, the lower portion fell down, wrapping the Earth about 1 1/3 times killing millions of people all along the equator and untold property damage, not to mention the ecosystem. Don’t remember where the upper section went.
 

Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
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Space elevator - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Space_elevator


A space elevator is a proposed type of planet-to-space transportation system. The main component would be a cable (also called a tether) anchored to the ... The weight of the material needed to build the elevator would have required ... of "space-elevator tether" made of carbon-fiber composite strings and fiberglass tape ...


Apart from the strength of the cable, how is this thing anchored at Earth's surface.

IMHO - totally madcap idea from cloud cuckoo land - at least for a long, long time.

Cat :)
 
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Jun 1, 2020
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I recall a novel I read some years ago in which an elevator was built of carbon fiber, three cables braided together. Then saboteurs bombed about 30000 or so miles up, the lower portion fell down, wrapping the Earth about 1 1/3 times killing millions of people all along the equator and untold property damage, not to mention the ecosystem. Don’t remember where the upper section went.
I would have guessed that most of that cable would burn-up in the atmosphere, even carbon fibers. As it fell from above, it would gain angular velocity due to its extra angular momentum in that part of the cable.

This story also reminds me of the movie with three sky divers (the "good guys") taking out an extended flex drill system. :)
 

Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
Feb 18, 2020
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"The word cloud-cuckoo-land denotes a realm of fantasy, dreams or impractical notions. It is from Greek Νεϕελοκοκκυγία (= Nephelokokkugía), from νεϕέλη (= nephélē), cloud, and κόκκυξ (= kόkkux), cuckoo; this compound was coined by the Greek comic dramatist Aristophanes (circa 450-385 BC) in The Birds.1 Dec 2017" Wiki

origin of 'cloud-cuckoo-land' | word histories


Cat :)
 
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