DailyDirt: Listening To Muzak On A Long Space Elevator Ride...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Reliable space travel is slightly elusive. Sure, we have a few rocket systems that can take people up to low Earth orbit, but there's always the chance that those rockets will fail and explode in the sky. On top of that, re-usable rockets haven't quite lived up to their promised cost effectiveness, though some progress is being made on that front. A space elevator could provide a nice alternative, obviating the need for explosive chemical thrust to get to orbital altitudes. But where would we put it, if it's even possible to build one? (Maybe on Mars first....) After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.
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Filed Under: geosynchronous orbit, graphene, international space elevator consortium, isec, leo, space, space elevator, space exploration, space junk, space travel

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    Avatar28 (profile), 11 Sep 2015 @ 2:30pm

    Re: "There are more than a handful of significant challenges that need to be solved before anyone gets a working space elevator"

    Hours? Try days. Distance to geosynchronous orbit is a bit over 22,000 miles. Even if your space elevator car could average 1000 mph ascending that's still almost 24 hours to get there. It's doubtful that you're going to have climbers going 1000 mph though. A much more realistic speed might be 250 mph. Well your one day climb is now four days.

    Now let's consider that there are two ways to counterweight the elevator. The first method is to extend the cable as far out as it is from the earth, so a total length of around 45,000 miles. The other option is to anchor the cable to a small asteroid located a few thousand miles past geostationary orbit. The asteroid would be a more logical choice since it gives you the raw materials for a space station too. Just hollow it out, send the minerals down to earth for processing if they aren't going to be needed in space, and build your station inside it.

    Guess what, we'll assume the station is about 5000 miles past geostationary level. Now we're looking at another 20 hours. Basically five days up and five days down. A space elevator is great for getting lots of stuff up into space cheaply. Not so great for getting it up QUICKLY.

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