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Outreach Space Elevators

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"Even though the challenges to bring the space elevator to reality are substantial, there are no physical or economic reasons why it can't be built in our lifetime." That's the matter-of-fact feeling of physicist, Bradley Edwards of Eureka Scientific in Berkeley, California Now, 3 years later...it is a reality!


The first cable could launch multi-ton payloads every 3 days. Cargo hoisted by laser-powered climbers, be it fragile payloads such as radio dishes, complex planetary probes, solar power satellites, or human-carrying modules could be dropped off in geosynchronous orbit in a week's travel time," Edwards said.


Using a laser beam to boost the climbers into space is doable, said Harold Bennett, president of Bennett Optical Research, Inc. of Ridgecrest, California. "If you do it right, you can take out 96 percent of the effect of the atmosphere on the laser beam through adaptive optics," he said. The strength of the pulsed laser beam is less than the intensity of the Sun, so birds, airplanes, or human eyes wouldn't be affected, he said.




Space elevators were once a thing of science fiction. The idea was conceived of a few decades ago, but made impossible due to lack of a material strong enough to support the weight of the structure itself. In 1991, carbon nanotubes were invented. Upwards of 100 times stronger than steel at 1/5th the weight, the only thing we had to wait for was being able to mass produce nanotubes. In 1998, several firms came together, and were able to mass produce carbon nanotubes by the ton. The government threw itself full onto the program, giving a total of 100 billion denarii and the best engineers Slavic Byzantium had to offer. In 2 and a half years, the first elevator became operational to send 20 000kg cargo trams into space. With the first elevator completed, we were able to greatly decrease the build time of subsequent elevators and have been constructing more lines at a rate of one per year. We have just completed the fifth line, and with five operational, we can increase the rate of production to a projected maximum of two per year.


These elevators have been able to allow our space program to grow exponentially as the cost per kilogram of sending something into space used to be several thousand denarii. Now, it costs a mere 37 denarii per kilogram. As more elevators are created, so too will the cost per kilogram decrease. Once we have 40 operational elevators, we expect the cost to be no more than 5 denarii per kilogram. Within the year, costs expect to be low enough for middle class citizens to be able to travel into space.


Each elevator is tethered in space by the Freedom Space station. Coupled with simple physics, the relatively low mass of Freedom SS is enough to keep the wires taut. All of the elevators go up to geosynchronous orbit, and payloads can be released at any required altitude up to that point.


Commerical use began with the completion of the first elevator, and now we are opening it up to all other nations that wish to launch any satellites, components for space construction, or anything else you need to be taken into space. Total time to reach the end of the line is approximately 7 days. We hope to make it 6 days, and eventually 5 with the incorporation of other means of providing power to the trams in subsequent years.


Within 5 years, we will have enough of a presence in space to be able to begin construction of a space elevator on the Moon. These are exicting years for us all!


If you wish to place anything in orbit for 1/1000th the cost of the next cheapest option, feel free to contact the commerical division of Outreach Space Centre.

Edited by Slavic Byzantium (see edit history)
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OOC: This space elevator is nothing new to me, as I have read most of Arthur C. Clark's works. But I wonder if perhaps this could better be moved to another section of the forum. As said in the OOC-area, I was thinking about creating special subfora in the Historical Board. Future RP would be one of these parts. I have noticed you replied in the thread about the Ilia's, with two very elaborate posts. Would you be interested in playing with a similar idea in the "Future RP"-board?

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Sounds like fun. Although several NASA scientists do seem to believe if you give them 10 billion dollars and 10 years with the current technology and all the carbon nanotubes needed...they could get a space elevator operational with 2 and a half years of construction. I'm not sure if this needs to be moved. But if you feel it is appropriate elsewhere....

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