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. The satellite (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.
These two end-satellites perform a delicate control dance" as the ribbon deploys downward from GEO; 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.