Space Elevator Experiment: robot along the rope climb seven kilometers

For decades, there are many visionaries have wanted to build a space elevator can transport goods to rail and low cost compared with the firing of rockets. However, billions of dollars are still spent little effect. A public-financing pilot project will be the space of perhaps one small step.

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According to foreign media reports, the past several decades, there are many visionaries have wanted to build a space elevator can transport goods to rail and low cost compared with the firing of rockets. However, billions of dollars are still spent little effect. A public-financing pilot project will be the space of perhaps one small step.

The experiment was a high-altitude balloon launch into the air, there is a bolt 4.5 miles (about 7 km) long rope on a balloon, and then put a robot in the following, you can always climb to the top rope. This will be the space elevator group (LiftPort Group) most ambitious ever planned, Tacoma, Washington Space Elevator Group specializes in the research and development of space elevator technology.

Space Elevator Group founder Michael Ryan (Michael Laine), said: “This time, I’m worried that if there is a problem, people will say, ‘Oh, the space elevator is a stupid idea’.” Ryan and other enthusiasts have been in space Elevator field the past several years, the space elevator is also known as the “Gateway to the sky rail.” The idea sounds almost ridiculous: with 62,000 miles to a point (about 100,000 kilometers) of Earth’s surface with a super-high-altitude tether connected. Then, the construction in which the shuttle up and down the elevator car.

Space elevator advocates say that if these objectives can be completed, you can reduce the amount of space transportation costs, and only 1% today. The biggest advocates of this concept is the late science fiction guru Arthur C. Clarke (Arthur C. Clarke), he once said if people do not laugh at this idea, then, 50 years after the first space elevator can be built.

Stressful

Two years ago, Ryan launched a fund-raising event, the initial goal is to give him a balloon carrying experiments to raise $ 8,000, but he received a $ 110,000 sponsorship from about 3500 hands. After that, he immediately began to plan his risky experiments. Ryan said: “The sponsors want to see my plan into practice, I am grateful for their support, and of course this also brought me some pressure.”

He and his colleagues at the space elevator group are still studying for experimental high-altitude balloons, several rounds of climbing robots and polymer fibers. They also need to deal with some deliveries Federal Aviation Administration documents. If the plan goes well, a few months after the experiment will be the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State (Olympic Peninsula) were. Ryan said, this is not a sure thing can. “There are many possible will result in failure of the experiment.”

Fear frustration

For failure and frustration, Ryan is no stranger. But he rose to the challenge, painstaking research technology could one day be used to build a space elevator. Ryan said: “We have never claimed that this would be the final solution space elevator technology, but this experiment will help us to grasp the problem.” After the balloon carrying the experiment, the next step will be connected with the ultra-small satellite (CubeSat), and take mini-climbing robots. Finally, Ryan hopes to build the lunar elevator, and from the transportation of goods between the Earth and the moon.

Space elevator advocates believe that this technique can be used to build practical or lunar elevator, the elevator and even Mars. The construction of such a huge extraterrestrial devices require hundreds of millions of funds, these funds are also currently are in sight. President of the International Space Elevator Association Peter Swann (Peter Swan) said: “If no one is willing to use the lunar elevator, then the construction of such infrastructure is stupid.”

Is it necessary?

Built on Earth space elevator for consumers will undoubtedly be more very attractive, but in the economic, technical, and even meteorology are facing enormous challenges. For example, in the storm and lightning environment, how to operate? How space elevator maintenance? Last week in Seattle, Swann and other space elevator enthusiasts to discuss these issues at the annual meeting of the space elevator. However, the answers to these questions may take several decades to answer.

Retired software engineer Ted Semon (Ted Semon) has been in the maintenance of the space elevator blog (Space Elevator Blog). He pointed out that currently can not produce enough tough material, used ropes linking Earth and space. Simon said: “When you have the right materials, from achieving the dream of space elevator is not far away.”

? Arthur C. Clarke’s dream whether in the future it will be realized a naive SpaceX founder Elon · Musk (Elon Musk) at the 2008 interview, said: “It will take a long time, and the need to face Many economic problems. “Musker on reducing the cost of space transportation problem has a different strategy, which is to create a reusable rocket. He believes that this program can make space flight costs to today’s 1 percent – which is planned space elevator as claimed.

In last week’s Seattle meeting, Swann for Musk reusable rocket skeptical. He said: “If he really able to put the cost down, I would applaud him.”

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