See animations pertaining to space elevator construction deployment
SPACE ELEVATOR DEPLOYMENT/CONSTRUCTION FROM AN INITIAL GEO ORBIT
This is one of many schemes that have been put forth to accomplish deployment of the space elevator. It starts with a large satellite positioned at GEO. This GEO object (likely having been constructed from components delivered to GEO via many conventional rocket launches) contains:
1. The Ribbon,
2. The Lower satellite that is the earth-seeking guidance and control module, that delivers the bottom of the ribbon to its anchor point, and,
3. The Upper satellite that manages ribbon deployment, it's own guidance and control, and is destined to become the ballast mass for the space elevator.
As the ribbon deploys downward from GEO, the two end-satellites perform a delicate guidance and control dance, to wit: as,
- the lower satellite progressively moves into the Earth's gravity well ever increasing magnitude (thus creating downward force on the system), - the upper satellite must move to ever higher altitudes creating a correspondingly greater centrifugal force to counter the increasing gravity pull.
The series of animations below depict the natural tendencies of such a process, as well as portrays examples of control schemes that produce failure modes, and finally, depicts how the deployment would look when successfully accomplished.