Riding A Ribbon To Space A Thousand Feet Closer

Sep 29, 2005

LiftPort says it has completed preliminary tests of its high altitude robotic lifters under its waiver to use airspace granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The lifters are early prototypes of the technology that the company is developing for use in the LiftPort Space Elevator, its commercial space elevator to ferry cargo back and forth into space.

In tests conducted in Washington state last week, the robotic lifters successfully climbed 1,000 feet up a simulated, working space elevator - a model elevator "ribbon" attached to a moored high altitude balloon. According to the company, these tests represent the first-ever use of this technology on a free-hanging ribbon in the development of the LiftPort space elevator concept.

"These tests mark an historic milestone, in regards to the general space elevator concept as well in the development of the LiftPort Space Elevator, and we appreciate the FAA's willingness to work with us on these tests," said Michael Laine, president of LiftPort Group.

"The ability to test our hardware in a simulated working environment is a critical step in the ultimate development of the LiftPort Space Elevator. Additionally, these tests are dual use - not only will they help us learn more about the things we need to do to ultimately build the LiftPort Space Elevator, but they have great value for real world applications today.

"Our system called HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) will have uses in a variety of fields. For example, after a natural disaster, we can provide radio, cellular or Internet access using our platform as a relay station. Or it could provide real time surveillance over the damaged region. Once our hardware is tested, we believe it can be deployed to save lives."

The company plans additional tests later this fall. Dates for the tests will be forthcoming.

A revolutionary way to send cargo into space, the LiftPort Space Elevator will consist of a carbon nanotube composite ribbon eventually stretching some 62,000 miles from earth to space.

The LiftPort Space Elevator plans to be anchored to an offshore sea platform near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and to a small man-made counterweight in space. Mechanical lifters are expected to move up and down the ribbon, carrying such items as people, satellites and solar power systems into space.

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: Mysteries of space dust revealed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NREL supercomputer tackles grid challenges

Jul 01, 2014

"Big data" is playing an increasingly big role in the renewable energy industry and the transformation of the nation's electrical grid, and no single entity provides a better tool for such data than the Energy ...

Checking up on tropical sunlight

Jun 11, 2014

Science is not settled on a bet or a hunch. Measurements and data feed conclusions and provide clarity. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that two ground-based stations on a tropical ...

How NASA builds a space laser

Jun 04, 2014

To build a satellite that will measure all the bumps and dips of our dynamic Earth, engineers started with a black box, built of a composite honeycomb material to make it as light as possible.

Recommended for you

Mysteries of space dust revealed

Aug 29, 2014

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the ...

A guide to the 2014 Neptune opposition season

Aug 29, 2014

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant ...

How can we find tiny particles in exoplanet atmospheres?

Aug 29, 2014

It may seem like magic, but astronomers have worked out a scheme that will allow them to detect and measure particles ten times smaller than the width of a human hair, even at many light-years distance.  ...

Spitzer telescope witnesses asteroid smashup

Aug 28, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the ...

User comments : 0