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.
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.
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.
A new international report lays out the challenges to building Earth's next great mega-project -- and they're more surmountable than you think.
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
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.
(2019) A space elevator is possible with today’s technology, researchers say
(2019) Space 'elevator' to the Moon could happen by the end of the century
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.
The EU may also plan to invest in a space elevator.
(2017) The European Parliament calls for a space elevator
MIT Review: A space elevator is possible with today's technology, researchers say (we just need to dangle it from the moon)
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.
A giant elevator could connect Earth to space using current technology, experts say — here's how that could work
A lunar space elevator is feasible and cheap, scientists find
Space elevator designed to reach the International Space Station from Earth