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Questions tagged [space-elevator]

Questions about a hypothetical transportation system between Earth and space that would not require large rockets to transport payloads.

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Space elevator idea

Just wondering if it would be possible to make a space tether/elevator out of looped rubber bands like that of a loom bands like the common loom band? Each time a new band is added for length, the ...
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Chinese find material to make space elevator. How much will the cable weigh?

The article China has strongest fibre that can haul 160 elephants – and a space elevator? came out today in the SCMP, and I would like to find out how much the cable would weigh. But I'm not sure if ...
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How will JAXA's space elevator-testing cubesat experiment work?

The Infobae article Japón inicia hoy el ambicioso proyecto de construir un ascensor espacial which translated from Spanish into English by Google says Japan begins today the ambitious project to ...
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“Free energy” moving the space elevator possible?

In this other question I have found the following: A space elevator can climb at a low, constant vertical speed (albeit for a very long climb), and gets its orbital speed for free [borrowed from ...
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Inflatable Power Line?

Could the weight of a launch tower or some of a space elevator be mitigated balloons? Similar to the children's air inflated jump houses could a tower be inflated with hydrogen/helium with different ...
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Which propelling device would be the most efficient for a space elevator?

There are many types of propulsion from electric turbine engines to steam powered catapults once used on aircraft carriers. Which of the many types of propulsion would be the most efficient in getting ...
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What is the shape of a space elevator?

When we think of a space elevator, we might usually think of a purely vertical tower, sticking perpendicular to the surface of the Earth, extending way past the geostationary belt, to the end-mass. ...
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Why is using a space elevator cheaper than rocket power?

Why is rocket power so much less efficient? In both cases you want to lift a given weight a certain height. What does climbing a tether give you that you don't have when using rockets? Wouldn't a ...
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Is space elevator a reasonable idea? [duplicate]

I read today that Japan is trying to build space elevator by 2050. To me, it sounds like making a super skyscraper. There are so many challenges building skyscraper that exist today. It is an ...
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What about a space winch?

So there is a similar question, I read it but I am thinking a little differently. So instead of a big tower going into orbit with cables like an elevator, what if we had a satellite in orbit, ...
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How do you find ZRVTOs between tethers from coplanar, tidelocked bodies?

In 1984 JPL engineer Paul Penzo described a ZRVTO (Zero Relative Velocity Transfer Orbit) between an elevator anchored on Deimos and an elevator anchored on Phobos. Here is a Penzo’s illustration: ...
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If a space elevator uses both compression and tension design, will we still need new materials?

We build as much of the space elevator under compression as possible and the remaining part using carbon based materials. Is this trick going to work or am I missing something?
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Would reusable rockets render the idea of space elevators useless? [closed]

With the expected advances in reusable rocket technology within the next decade, will constructing a space elevator become meaningless? Or will it still be way cheaper, safer and convenient to use ...
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Can the modern space elevator design be altered so as to reduce the tensile strength requirement of the material?

Most probably, we'll be able to mass manufacture diamond nano-threads and carbon nano-tubes in the near future, but they might not be strong enough. Is there a way to significantly reduce the tensile ...
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Atmospheric effects on a space elevator

Were I able to build a space elevator (ignoring for the moment that I can't due to current material science etc), what issues would there be relating to atmospheric conditions? Presumably it would be ...
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Space elevator orbit below GSO but slow enough to be caught by an airplane

I've read a space elevator at GSO 35,800 km (actually above GSO to create the needed counterweight) is not feasible due to lack of current available strength of materials. Also that a tether at low ...
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1answer
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How will the angular momentum of a Space Elevator be preserved?

This question has been bugging me for some time. First a little background. We know that a space elevator is essentially a (very) long rope with a heavy asteroid attached at the other end well beyond ...
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“Propeller-head” polar space elevator?

"Why isn't it possible to build a space elevator at the north pole?" made me think... Like the funny hat with a propeller on a kid's head - replace the head with Earth and propeller blades with space ...
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Why isn't it possible to build a space elevator at the north pole?

Why isn't it possible to build a space elevator at the north pole? Why does it have to be built on the equator?
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How to clear the way for a space elevator?

In the answer to this question about space elevators, the poster mentioned that the elevator cable would pass through a debris cloud as it moved through lower orbits. I presume most of that material ...
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How would the foundation/anchor for a space elevator work?

In a perfect scenario the space elevator is in Geosynchronous Orbit, it could be suspended a papers width above an egg, the egg would never be harmed and there would always be just enough room to ...
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Why does the material for space elevators have to be really strong?

If the space elevator platform (The very top) is orbiting a planet in a geosynchronous orbit, wouldn't the forces on the elevator "rope" be minimal?
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Space elevator: Is there some way you could make one to a low earth orbit?

All the current proposals for a space elevator seem to be for one to the GSO.However is there some proposal for a space elevator to a low earth orbit? I know that it would require continuous power to ...
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Would 100 miles off the equator be too much for a space elevator to have the right orbital geometry?

What about Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador as a starting point, saving some miles, thinner atmosphere etc? It's the farthest point from Earth's center, even compared to Mt. Everest because of the bulge. Has ...
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Space elevator - cord thickness - why is the strength to weight ratio a problem?

To my understanding the main problem with space elevators is that the strength to weight ratio is not high enough to support the cable's weight. Naturally the first thought that would come to mind is ...
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Balloon Space Ladder [duplicate]

Using weather balloons pressurized to not to pop in a chain from the ground what is the highest altitude possible in a chain? You could up scale to use blimps but it is a balloon that can achieve ...
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Would it be possible to suspend a space elevator in the stratosphere?

Having a material strong enough to support a space elevator built from the ground up seems like it may never be able to happen. I had also seen another suggestion for building a space elevator ...
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Why would a space elevator / structure need to be in Geosynchronous orbit?

I've read a bunch on space elevators and from what everyone is saying, it would be required that the elevator is in geosynchronous orbit. From my understanding, that is so that it would stay fixed in ...
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Rotovators and booster recovery: is there a free lunch here?

Rotovators have the big advantage that they don't have as much force on them as a full space elevator and thus can be constructed without such incredibly strong materials. The big downside is that ...
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What is the specific compression strength of an orbital tower structure?

Taper ratio is a central concept for space elevators and tethers. It tells how much larger the cross section of the tether has to be at one end of the tether, compared to the other. Being a ...
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3answers
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How does the gravity of Earth change as you climb a space elevator?

I'm doing research for a movie. If you were in a space elevator/tower at an altitude of 250 miles, how much gravity would you experience? (I've heard various estimates of .9Gz and .65Gz) How about if ...
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Tethered geostationary orbit

One of the biggest issues that I've heard of in building a space elevator is the high tensile strength of the cord used to tether the the elevator to the ground. If there's a structure that's at ...
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Space Elevator Hurdle: Can you ground out the Van Allen belts?

Problem One of the biggest problems of a space elevator concept is that the elevator would have to be centered on the equator, and its tethers would pass through the Van Allen belts that contain ...
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Space elevator/tower trough magnetic repulsion? What are the technical problems?

As more material weight leads to higher stress for a space elevator I have been asking myself if a kind of tower thats based on magnetic repulsion would not be an alternative. While I know that ...
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1answer
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Could a space winch work?

Could you have a large winch in space with a cable hanging down, say, 60 kilometers, connected to a floating station floated by helium? The payload could be floated up by balloons, which would then ...
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Impact of space junk on Earth based space elevators

It is well known there is a lot a space junk orbiting the Earth. From previous questions posted on this site it appears that if it were possible to establish a space elevator cable for Earth it would ...
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What sensations would I feel on a Space Elevator?

For simplicity: Standard, 50,000km space elevator from equator to the counterweight. Acceleration, followed by constant velocity, followed by deceleration, and a stop past geostationary orbit. What ...
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Taper ratio for partial space elevator

The calculations for the taper ratio of a space elevator don't seem to be all that difficult and it is easy to find some equations to use. You can even find an expression written out for the total ...
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Reverse Lunar Space Elevator

The possibility of a space elevator from the lunar surface is discussed in this question. A lunar elevator for the purpose of return to Earth could be achieved at the L1 Lagrange Point between Earth ...
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Would a 'space elevator'/sling on a rotating asteroid work?

It is possible to find numerous studies of space elevators, for Earth, Luna, Mars and even Phobos. But would a 'space elevator' work on an asteroid? I use scare quotes because typically the point of a ...
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Could pull from a space elevator be used to assist a rocket launch?

Well, more specifically, using a counterweight like you'd find in a non-space elevator to give the rocket a little acceleration before firing up and spending all that fuel-to-lift-the-fuel-to-lift-the-...
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How long would it take to ride to the top of a space elevator?

The question What is a “space elevator”? describes two key points about the length of a space elevator: equatorial geosynchronous orbit at 22,245 miles (35,800 km) above mean sea level, and an ...
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Could I tie together two satellites at different altitudes?

Could I tie together two satellites at different altitudes? Is there an existing name for this? Can this be stable, or will it spin out of control? How strong of a rope will I need? For the sake ...
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Needed height from the release of a space elevator to get a stable elliptical orbit?

As we know, something released from around 36000 km height from a space elevator will remain in geostationary orbit around the Earth. Things released from lower will go into an elliptical orbit ...
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What's the path of something dropped from a space elevator

What sort of paths would payloads follow after being released from a space elevator such as the one described in Clarke's Fountains of Paradise?
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Space Elevator Between Doubly-Tidally Locked Bodies

Space elevators may be a reality only in the future, but I know we have the basic principles down pat. Something has been bugging me, though. If we had the proper materials, we could build such an ...
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If we build a space elevator from Earth surface to GEO, could I step off it at GEO and remain in GEO?

Ignore for a moment the question of whether building such a space elevator is practical. Let's also ignore the minute delta-v involved in "stepping off" something in orbit. If we were to build a ...
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Standing at the top of a space elevator would 'up' be towards the Earth?

If I rode a space elevator to the top, assuming only natural forces apply, would the Earth be over my head or under my feet? If it was over my head how is that possible?
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Where could we build a space elevator today (2014)?

A space elevator is an interesting concept, allowing for very low cost transit to orbit. Currently we don't seem to have a technology that will provide a strong enough cable to make the climb from ...
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Can we make a space blimp?

OK. Hear me out. I know that blimps float because of the buoyancy of air, and there is no air in space. But think of the way a boat floats on the top of water even though the material that the boat is ...