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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What Δv is needed to reach LEO from a space elevator?

In two recent questions about space elevators, the topic of reaching non-geostationary orbits came up, particularly the popular Low Earth Orbits. This question is simply about how hard exactly it is ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
477 views

Propulsion options for orbital transfers after release from space elevator

In a recent discussion of cost estimates of hypothetical space elevators it was mentioned that a space elevator is (obviously) well suited to bring payloads to a geosynchronous orbit while reaching ...
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
4k views

Would Starship be able to lift mass to orbit (both low and geo-stationary) cheaper than "any" space elevator?

A comment to an answer to a question about Mars missions stated that using Starship to launch mass to orbit would be cheaper than a space elevator. I didn't imagine that. I know that space elevators ...
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
260 views

What can possibly accelerate space elevator to these types of extreme velocities?

Is it possible for a space elevator not to just reach speeds of a few hundred km/h, but much faster. Since in the future, people might want to go up to GEO to maybe work there and come back home on ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar
-6 votes
1 answer
305 views

Hydrogen-propelled space elevator [closed]

I'm working on a space elevator design using kerosene-burning jet engines and dirigibles supporting 1km stages of pipeline and cable stretching up to the end of the stratosphere (~50km), then using ...
Sam Cottle's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why can't buoyancy of air be used to support a mega structure as an alternative to a space elevator?

The reason for asking this question stems from recent articles about large loss of strength of carbon nano tubes with even single atom movement, tested samples showing high vulnerability to space ...
stringue's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
115 views

How close are we to a space elevator, materially? [duplicate]

Under the most advanced design of the SE, what are the values of the (tensile) strength and other qualities of the materials needed? What are those of the best materials we have in our hands now?
longtry's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Does a space elevator ruin most satellite orbits?

A space elevator would offer a direct connection between the surface of the Earth and geosynchronous orbits. While the concept has several severe problems, according to my understanding of orbital ...
TheDyingOfLight's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Could a space elevator launch a payload to a solar orbit?

From my understanding, a practical space elevator would require a large center 'station' in geostationary orbit that the cable is attached to, and some form of counterweight on the other side, ...
EriKana's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
187 views

Could we use Mars as as an asteroid mining base?

After getting a lot of helpful feedback I've arrived at a question: What if we setup base on Mars: I) Mine water, and split it for propellant. II) Load up light weight (expandable?) rockets with it....
Artem Shamsutdinov's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
241 views

Do forward thinking launch providers like SpaceX, Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic fund any carbon nanotube research?

Elon Musk has indicated (ex.: Tweet) that he has little interest in carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with respect to the concept of an orbital elevator, claiming in essence that the development is simply not ...
DJG's user avatar
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1 answer
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Have there been any serious studies into a space elevator?

I know it would be really expensive in the short term, but has anyone actually went and figured out if it would be a good investment, even if it was something as simple as a gas line for orbital ...
Not_Shark's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
105 views

How much would reduce the cost of sending kgs to the moon having a 200,000 miles space elevator there?

According to this article/study A space elevator to the moon could be doable Its central element is a cable that would be anchored to the moon and span more than 200,000 miles to a point above ...
Pablo's user avatar
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2 answers
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What are the calculations for gas transport to the Moon with a pipeline?

This paper, acquired from this question about tethers on the Moon, describes LADDER, a mission to deploy a Lunar Space Elevator (LSE). The space tether, made of Zylon fiber, would be 264,000 km long,...
Cornelis's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
190 views

Which solar system objects could a space elevator be built on with modern tech?

Which solar system objects have the right combination of low gravity and fast spinning rate, that an object tall enough to be a space elevator could be built on with modern construction tech? By "...
Ingolifs's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
59 views

Has there been any independent verification of the results from this Chinese nanotube study?

Watts up referred to the South China Morning Post in reporting that a Tsinghua University team led by Wei Fei claimed in 2018 to have manufactured carbon nanotube fibre has tensile strength of 80 ...
DJG's user avatar
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12 votes
4 answers
2k views

What tensile strength would be needed for a lunar space elevator?

A space elevator from the Moon's equator, slightly past the L1 Lagrange point and extending into cis-lunar space would have a substantially lower tensile strength requirement than an Earth-based ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
1k views

How about space ziplines

I've heard of the hypothetical space elevator. But how about space ziplines. Have the idea been explored if so what are the challenges? By zipline I mean giant long cables connecting space station to ...
Teddy's user avatar
  • 149
18 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why can't they just drop a solar winch down from a shuttle and have planes fly up and clip things on?

Why can't they just drop a solar winch down from a shuttle and have planes fly up and clip things on? I know of the idea to have a space lift but the cable necessary is too expensive. Why can't we ...
SpaceMonkey's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
141 views

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 ...
Nick's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
460 views

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 ...
Herman's user avatar
  • 383
2 votes
1 answer
204 views

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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
327 views

"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 ...
J. Doe's user avatar
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-7 votes
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300 views

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 ...
Muze's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
308 views

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 ...
Muze's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
428 views

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. ...
costrom's user avatar
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70 votes
17 answers
22k views

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 ...
Xavier Aaron's user avatar
-7 votes
1 answer
254 views

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 ...
Ubi.B's user avatar
  • 482
0 votes
1 answer
219 views

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, ...
MrKingsley's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
131 views

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: ...
HopDavid's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
618 views

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?
harsh99's user avatar
  • 509
14 votes
7 answers
6k views

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 ...
harsh99's user avatar
  • 509
4 votes
2 answers
228 views

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 ...
harsh99's user avatar
  • 509
6 votes
2 answers
500 views

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 ...
Mark Roworth's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
340 views

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 ...
Brooks Nelson's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
648 views

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 ...
Quietghost's user avatar
  • 2,476
6 votes
1 answer
493 views

"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 ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
26 votes
11 answers
17k views

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?
Xandler's user avatar
  • 261
0 votes
0 answers
159 views

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 ...
J.D. Ray's user avatar
  • 235
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

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 ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
4k views

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?
Fluffy's user avatar
  • 241
2 votes
3 answers
600 views

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 ...
user2277550's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
808 views

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 ...
RTachoir's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

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 ...
Chandran Goodchild's user avatar
-4 votes
3 answers
783 views

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 ...
Muze's user avatar
  • 1
5 votes
1 answer
459 views

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 ...
Adjit's user avatar
  • 255
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

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 ...
Adjit's user avatar
  • 255
5 votes
1 answer
287 views

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 ...
Loren Pechtel's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
155 views

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 ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

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 ...
Neal Wiser's user avatar