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Is it possible to build a space elevator ?

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UM-Bot

While undeniably useful, the concept of a space elevator may simply be impractical in the real world.

A science fiction staple, the space elevator is a transportation system which uses special capsules to carry things in to space along a cable that is so long that it stretches all the way in to orbit.

Read More: http://www.unexplain...-space-elevator

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DefenceMinisterMishkin

Screw that for an idea!

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Socio

I would think there is to much space debris, meteors etc... that could hit it, sending parts of it into orbit and other parts plummeting to Earth. I bet the weight of the cable alone getting severed in space then falling back to the ground would cause a massive impact crater.

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Aardvark-DK

Not alone aircraft, up to a hight of 30-40-50.000 feet.

And what about the strong winds in the upper atmosphere ?

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Grandpa Greenman

I think by the time they figure out how to do build one we will have a something that will launch cheap.

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CaptainHindsight

just imagine the luls here people. I mean, humans have enough trouble with ski lifts, falling off a space elevator would provide a whole new series of you've been framed.

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DieChecker

I think the wait time would be a good point. The whole point is that you don't need to go thousands of miles an hour to get to escape velocity, but that you could go up slower, like hundreds of miles per hour, But with a 100,000 km long cable, that would mean being on the cable for 500 to 1000 hours!!! Imagine being in a tiny elevator for 20 days??

Technologically I'm not sure we have the materials yet to do this. Supposedly carbon nano tubes are strong enough, it you have a cable already put together, however, most experts think that the cable would have to be made in place, which would mean that the first strands wouldn't be strong enough to support the strand, and it would break.

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XenoFish
Edited by XenoFish
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Whisperer

Anything is possible for sure but probable, not in your wildest imaginings...

Its my thought that the costs alone would be prohibitive, let alone the technology to undertake such a wonderful idea...and as has been pointed out, by the time such a concept becomes feasible, technology advances in current methods would have superseded the idea...

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keithisco

I think as progress is made in manufacturing Graphene (particularly in scrolling the sheets) then the possibility of combining this with carbon nanotubes MAY lead to the production of a tether with sufficient mechanical strength to make a space elevator possible.

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toast

The first substantiated thoughts about a possible space elevator were made in the early sixties, so at a time were just a handfull of satellites

orbited Earth. Today there are more than 1100 active satellites in orbit plus more than 600k space debris objects. So a space elevator with a

tether length of 100k km would cross, by math, the trajectories of thousands of objects multiple times a day. I dont think that there is any place

on Earth where such a device could be placed to be able to operate in a "free sky", means in an area where the tether will not get hit by orbiting

objects.

The idea for a space elevator had mostly economic reasons, means to lift up stuff more cheaper than with chemical propelled rockets buth this

math does not included all values those have to be considered for a valid calculation today. Untill today we do not have developed a material that

is capable to manage such high tensile forces and as the development is in still in process, we cannot count the final development investments

that have to be included into the general calculation. Even if we have such a material developed some day, the effects by erosion within the Earth

atmosphere, by weather, and outside the Earths atmosphere, by radiation, and by abrasion have to be investigated also to get the values how

long such a material will last during operation until it needs to get exchanged. So there are additional (high) investments to be done.

In addition, as such a device is a potential target for terrorist acts, the airspace around the elevators base up to 36k feet altitude and within a

radius of, lets say 200km, must be protected 24/7 by military equipment/manpower and just this fact will boost down a calculation for an economic

operating finally.

Of course, the research on such strong materials is fascinating and will bring benefits for a use on Earth, and/or on future missions on celestrial

bodies maybe, but I would say that a use of a space elevator on/from Earth will not work due to technical and economic reasons.

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Waspie_Dwarf

The first substantiated thoughts about a possible space elevator were made in the early sixties, so at a time were just a handfull of satellites

The idea of a space elevator goes back much further than that:

The key concept of the space elevator appeared in 1895 when Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. He considered a similar tower that reached all the way into space and was built from the ground up to the altitude of 35,790 kilometers, the height of geostationary orbit. He noted that the top of such a tower would be circling Earth as in a geostationary orbit. Objects would attain horizontal velocity as they rode up the tower, and an object released at the tower's top would have enough horizontal velocity to remain there in geostationary orbit. Tsiolkovsky's conceptual tower was a compression structure, while modern concepts call for a tensile structure (or "tether").

Source: wikipedia

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toast

The idea of a space elevator goes back much further than that:

Source: wikipedia

Yeah I know, but thats why I used the word substantiated to bring my post into the time were space exploration was still in progress.

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Waspie_Dwarf

Yeah I know, but thats why I used the word substantiated to bring my post into the time were space exploration was still in progress.

Never exclude Tsiolkovsky, a total genius but relatively unknown in the west. Without him there would have been no Goddard and von Braun.

For anyone wanting to know more about Space Elevators may I recommend Arthur C. Clarke's "Fountains of Paradise". Written in 1979 it predicts materials very similar to Graphene and carbon nanotubes.

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regeneratia

Heinlein said it was one of two of the most economical ways out of the atmosphere. The other one is via a sling-shot method.

I wouldn't underestimate Heinlein. He had great foresight.

I donate to the Kansas City Space Pirates: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KC_Space_Pirates

My son outgrew his space pirate t-shirt. I will have to get another.

Edited by regeneratia

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