Thursday, October 11, 2007

An Alternative to Shuttle and Constellation? ;)

While browsing the web, I found an interesting blog entry on the "space elevator". In short, it is an elevator-like concept that is promised to deliver people and material at a much lower cost into orbit -- with a real elevator-like system. It sounds much like a curiosity, but has received serious consideration, even in scientific circles. However the latest scientific news I read (don't remember where) is that no current material is strong enough to withstand the forces. The conclusion there was that it could not be done...

You might find this blog post an interesting read:

Good by Space Shuttle. Hello Space Elevator.

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karah said...

Hi Rainer, I also read an article about space elevators and recall them saying that the material needed could not be made as of yet. That was in Focus Magazine.
Wouldn't it be great to have a lift straight up :)


Rainer said...

Hi Karah,

thanks for commenting. Yes, the elevator concept is very interesting. And, of course, 100 years ago something like the shuttle looked totally impossible. Maybe we just need to wait a little longer...


Brian Dunbar said...

The conclusion there was that it could not be done...

Perhaps that should read 'can't be done right now'. Since CNT was discovered in 1991 we've gone from 'whazzat' to commercial production of some really nifty stuff. Granted the requisite strength for a space elevator is not there. Yet.

There is room for optimism - there are a number of terrestrial applications for CNT material with that strength - body armor, structural members and so on. This should keep engineers busy working on this stuff.

B. Dunbar

Rainer said...

Hi Brian,

yes, of course you are right: nobody can state that it is impossible at all. Things we use in our everyday life were unthinkable of maybe 50 years ago. So I agree, there is reason to be optimistic. I don't bet when it will be ready, I think you've probably more insight into that ;)