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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14
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4answers
2k views

What is a “space elevator”?

I've seen an hypothetical "Space elevator" referenced in various media the last couple of years. Is this something thats really planned in the making, or just a hypothetical scenario? How will a space ...
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5answers
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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 ...
29
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3answers
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What technological barriers do we need to overcome to build a space elevator?

The concept of a space elevator unfortunately still seems like one confined to fiction, at least for now. However, I've heard some sources claim that carbon nanotubes could be the first material ...
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2answers
852 views

Benefit of sling shot effect with a space elevator

The upper end of a space elevator is moving considerably faster than orbital speed at that distance from Earth. As a result anything released from the top of elevator would get thrown away from the ...
-7
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4answers
245 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 ...
66
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17answers
20k 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 ...
12
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
11
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4answers
662 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 ...
10
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4answers
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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 ...
9
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2answers
3k views

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 ...
13
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3answers
918 views

Between a space elevator on Mars versus the Moon, which would have lower material strength requirement?

On one hand, the Moon has lower gravity, and the gravity from Earth also reduces the distance the it has to span. This is particularly true for EML-1, and a little less so for EML-2. I don't know if ...
1
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2answers
267 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 ...
26
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11answers
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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?
23
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1answer
1k views

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?
14
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7answers
5k 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 ...
9
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4answers
1k views

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 ...
6
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2answers
913 views

Can a “free launch” from a space elevator really be free?

The question Benefit of sling shot effect with a space elevator implies that you can get free $\Delta V$ from a space elevator launch. As highlighted in this answer on SciFi quoting Sheffield book "...
3
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0answers
394 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 ...
13
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
7
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1answer
401 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
924 views

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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0answers
48 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 ...
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2answers
300 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 ...
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3answers
617 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 ...