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The space elevator - climbing a ribbon all the way to space?

Posted by: The Legionnaire - Mon Jul 28, 2003 9:58 pm
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The space elevator - climbing a ribbon all the way to space? 

When will the first space elevator enter service?
By the year 2020. 14%  14%  [ 7 ]
Between 2020 and 2040. 31%  31%  [ 16 ]
Beyond 2040. 29%  29%  [ 15 ]
Never - it's impossible! 25%  25%  [ 13 ]
Total votes : 51

The space elevator - climbing a ribbon all the way to space? 
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Post    Posted on: Sat Jun 10, 2006 7:46 am
There is a way to build the Space Elevator at less propellant requirements: The counterweights could be made of lunar ressources at the Moon. The carbon to make the tether of could be carried there and doesn't need to ahve a volume of more than one or two cubemeters.

I suppose that the problem of missing atoms is reduced on the Moon due to the much less gravity.

To launch the counterweight and the tether from the Moon will require much less propellant than to launch them from Earth.

Since most of the mass of the Space Elevator then would be be taken from the Moon this mass wouldn't have to be launched from Earth never - and the HLLV for that mass wouldn't be required. The propellants LH2 and LOX are supposed to be available on the Moon explicitly by NASA.



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Post    Posted on: Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:19 am
To be honest I was always a little skeptical that these things would be built and as time has gone on I think that it is becoming less likely.

Although I think that it will eventually be possible, by the time that happens I am hopeful that the cost to orbit will have come down making it less attractive to investors. If the cost of putting a payload into orbit using relatively cheap conventional rocketry is only a factor or 2 above that of a space elevator I dont see anyone making the large investments necessary to run one. The cost will not end once the elevator is in place, there will be facilities, personnel and maintenance costs which are not likely to be much different to conventional launch vehicles.

One of the drawbacks as I see it is the time to orbit which makes it unlikely that one could be used to carry people which may become one of the major cargos within the next couple of decades. If you have to send people by other means then you might as well use the same craft (using spare capacity) or modified versions to send everything they need as well. Such a problem on a conventional vehicle would not stop others flying for very long.

Another problem is that if the tether breaks (they will be susceptible to bombing for instance) then you have to build the whole thing again as the counterweight will be thrown out of orbit taking everything with it. A manned station acting as a counterweight would need to be evacuated before the people were sent to far out of orbit. Even if you compare it to when the US lost the shuttle that never lost the entire capability and they could have flown in a much shorter timescale if it had been a much simpler/robust vehicle.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:39 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

the arguments and issues by the Italian I take as scientific arguments and considerations. This menas that the Italian as long as he is speaking as a scientist applies the fact that there is no evidence and no proof that the Space Elevator is possible - its possibility can't be stated scientifically.

So there may be a lot of caution in the scientific statement of the Italian.

Also I still haven't compared the subject of his analysis or investigation to what Bradley C. Edwards said or used in his study. There may be differences because the scientists has to keep the subject within some restrictions for the sake of scientific precision. He is considering an object of a lab or of a theory while Edwards is considering something in the reaility - his 100,000 km tether never would be an object within a lab.

And there are going on competions of NASA which are kinds of experiments outside science.

Regarding the advantages and purposes of the Space Elevator I allways also have in mind interplanetary launches and ladnings and launches on other planets. These are aspects under which the Space Elevator may prove to be overwhelming advantegous since the propellant requirements are increasing for such missions, trips, journeys. The saved propellant wuld be available for manoevers, crrectionss etc.

...



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