Space Elevator: Generating Interest In The Future Of Space Access

Space Elevator: Generating Interest In The Future Of Space Access

Paul E. Nelson (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-624-2.ch016
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Abstract

Currently, transporting cargo into Outer Space is not only expensive, but a complicated and prolonged process. The Space Shuttles used today are inadequate, overused and obsolete. At this time, there are efforts all around the world to make Space more accessible. There have been many proposals to solve the Space transportation dilemma. One proposal is the creation of a Space Elevator. The Space Elevator would provide low-cost, easy access to Space by dramatically reducing the cost of sending cargo into Space. A $10-$100 per pound the Space Elevator would provide an astounding cost-saving compared to the tens of thousands of dollars per pound it costs today. This low-cost access to Space would make it possible to substantially increase the amount of cargo that could be sent into Space on a daily basis. The first part of this paper describes how the Space Elevator is expected to work, and the advantage of access to space via the SE versus using primarily rockets. A compendium of information from a variety of sources is included in order to explain how the Space Elevator would be designed, constructed, and how it could solve the problems of transporting cargo into Space easily, cheaply, and frequently. The Space Elevator is a relatively new topic in the area of realistic science concepts and was merely science fiction not too long ago. The Space Elevator (“SE”) concept has only been in the spotlight in the last five years due to the work of Dr. Bradley Edwards of Carbon Designs Inc. Acceptance of the SE will be a difficult task for many reasons. One of these is that most people do not know about the SE concept, and those who do, tend to have trouble believing it is possible to build. In order to determine the best way of integrating the SE concept into society, a survey was conducted at Darien High School. The survey included such topics as the naming of "The Space Elevator," and how best to get the younger generation interested in the idea. The second part of this paper describes how to utilize the survey results to further the SE concept.

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