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Old Aug 19th 2015, 05:32 PM
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Default Space Elevator



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Forget rockets: This ‘space elevator’ could launch you into orbit

A Canadian company has clinched a patent for a 12.4 mile-high "space elevator" that could launch astronauts and tourists into orbit.

The free-standing tower would essentially be inflated, supported by a series of gas-pressurized cells, and serve as a docking platform for space planes that could launch cargo, tourists and satellites directly into lower orbit.

Thoth Technology, the Ontario-based company behind the invention, told CNBC the elevator could transport 10 tons of cargo at approximately seven miles per hour, with passengers able to reach the top of the tower in about 60 minutes. Passengers could then board a space plane that could reach lower orbit without the need for costly a rocket launch.
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Interesting concept. I don't think anyone can consider space a viable frontier until one of these type of things gets built. Rockets and shuttle craft are just satellite delivery systems and that's pretty much it. A space elevator has serious possiblities, though I doubt if anyone is going to be building one any time soon.
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Old Aug 20th 2015, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: Space Elevator

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Interesting concept. I don't think anyone can consider space a viable frontier until one of these type of things gets built. Rockets and shuttle craft are just satellite delivery systems and that's pretty much it. A space elevator has serious possiblities, though I doubt if anyone is going to be building one any time soon.
Neil Armstrong did not need a space elevator to get to the moon
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Old Aug 20th 2015, 09:34 AM
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Default Re: Space Elevator

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Interesting concept. I don't think anyone can consider space a viable frontier until one of these type of things gets built. Rockets and shuttle craft are just satellite delivery systems and that's pretty much it. A space elevator has serious possiblities, though I doubt if anyone is going to be building one any time soon.
Arthur C. Clarke said "a space elevator will be built 10 years after everyone stops laughing"
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Old Aug 20th 2015, 05:04 PM
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Space elevators remain a lofty idea, say experts
Any stairway to the heavens will still have to dodge a torrent of space junk

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Scientists have created three or four materials that are theoretically strong enough to support such a structure, Semon says, including carbon nanotubes and boron nitride nanotubes. But "the material to make a real space elevator has not been developed yet in quantities large enough to build a space elevator," he says.

While tensile strength is an abiding issue, Turner says an even bigger hurdle may be dealing with orbital debris, commonly known as "space junk," which refers to the shards of equipment from satellites and space vehicles that orbit the earth.
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It seems that we've been treating orbital space like a junk yard for over half a century now and its a mess up there.
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Old Aug 20th 2015, 05:06 PM
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Neil Armstrong did not need a space elevator to get to the moon
No, but it cost a rather large fortune to do it.

Rockets may be a functional way to get into space orbit, but they are horribly expensive, unsustainable, massively polluting and contribute enormously to the 'space junk' problem.
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Old Aug 20th 2015, 05:07 PM
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Arthur C. Clarke said "a space elevator will be built 10 years after everyone stops laughing"
Indeed. I have no doubt that this is idea is a viable one and that it is merely a matter of time before one is built. It appears they are very close to having the kind of materials needed to make it, but as noted above, the whole 'space junk' issue is troubling.
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Old Aug 25th 2015, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Space Elevator

This isn't really a space elevator qua space elevator though, is it?
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Old Aug 25th 2015, 05:18 PM
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This isn't really a space elevator qua space elevator though, is it?
That depends on how you look at it.

If one insists that a 'space elevator' must reach up at least a thousand miles or more to be considered a 'true space elevator', then no it isn't exactly what some people dreamed up decades ago.

But if you consider that it uses precisely the same technique known as a 'space elevator' in the same way that a 'space elevator' is supposed to work, then I'd say its a space elevator, even if it is a relatively smallish one (only 20km high).

That is to say, just because it is a smaller scale version of the 'ideal' space elevator doesn't mean it isn't a space elevator.
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Old Aug 25th 2015, 08:09 PM
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That depends on how you look at it.

If one insists that a 'space elevator' must reach up at least a thousand miles or more to be considered a 'true space elevator', then no it isn't exactly what some people dreamed up decades ago.

But if you consider that it uses precisely the same technique known as a 'space elevator' in the same way that a 'space elevator' is supposed to work, then I'd say its a space elevator, even if it is a relatively smallish one (only 20km high).

That is to say, just because it is a smaller scale version of the 'ideal' space elevator doesn't mean it isn't a space elevator.
The height isn't the issue, the technique is. A space elevator is essentially just a cable while this thing is a tower.
For the record, this story seems to be little more than a case of getting a US patent in as the first just to cut off present and future competition (oh, the irony of the US patent system ). The patent itself reads like a Christmas wish list, full of 'could's, 'might's and 'may's with very little in the form of actual scientific or even engineering details (patent # is 9,085,897, direct links to it don't seem to work).
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Old Aug 26th 2015, 05:01 PM
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The height isn't the issue, the technique is. A space elevator is essentially just a cable while this thing is a tower.
For the record, this story seems to be little more than a case of getting a US patent in as the first just to cut off present and future competition (oh, the irony of the US patent system ). The patent itself reads like a Christmas wish list, full of 'could's, 'might's and 'may's with very little in the form of actual scientific or even engineering details (patent # is 9,085,897, direct links to it don't seem to work).
From what I understand of the design, it is a cable with a form of housing around it (inside of which the cable-crawler-elevator would function). In this respect, it is essentially a 'space elevator'.

As for the patent, you are probably correct since no one is about to build it yet, though that's nothing unusual for the patent-legal-lottery game that everyone plays these days. From what I've read, the patent filed in the US is identical to the one previously filed by the same company in UK a few years ago.
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