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Title: Concept Definition

[Cover Img]


  • Moderator: Brad Edwards
  • Created: July 6, 2008
  • Modified: July 25, 2008


  • This is a collaborative article
  • Discipline(s): Wiki, Engineering

The Concept

To start we all need to agree on the basic premise of our pursuit. These pages are to develop as much of the technology as possible for a working, viable space elevator. The basic concept is to run a line from Earth to space that can be ascended by mechanical climbers. No expendables are needed or carried and the overall cost and risk of getting to space is reduced.

Development Process

In developing this concept we must start with a few working premises.

  1. The design will not be risk-free - we will be pushing the limits of technology.
  2. High-risk or yet-to-be-developed technology is not to be used when existing technology can be made to work.
  3. Simplify designs where possible.
  4. Positive contributions (completing a difficult calculation in detail, improving a component design,...) are valuable, negative contributions (attacking a design without producing a better alternative, definitive statements with no supporting evidence, ...) do more harm than good.
  5. The space elevator is a large system of interacting components, improvements on one component will not be made that cause larger issues on another.
  6. The real world must be considered. A design with an excellent definable business case (includes investment return, national pride, military,...) is better than one that has no business case almost independent of most other concerns.
  7. This is a serious effort but the effort must be kept friendly to maintain interest.

Basic System

We must also be working toward the same basic system which is laid out here. The baseline comes from a number of sources or reaserch and engineering and is by no means the final design. The basic system we propose here is:

  1. An Earth elevator with one end attached to Earth in some fashion and the other end beyond geosynchronous orbit.
  2. Few or no expendables are used.
  3. We will focus on the transportation infrastructure and only be addressing the applications(space stations, solar power satellite, colonization,...) as it relates to defining the transportation system and the business case for constructing the elevator. These areas are heavily being worked by others and we need to focus our efforts.
  4. All other aspects are fair game for modification and will be changed based on objective, quantitative arguments. For example, calling a design "stupid" will make no headway, proving a design is "stupid" will be appreciated, providing a detailed quantitative solution to a serious problem will gain you admiration and praise.

Additional Work Needed

<issues Project = "Concept"/>