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: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Shortcut to protein portraits

Dec 16, 2014

All living organisms, from bacteria to humans, rely on proteins to perform their vital functions. How these proteins accomplish their tasks depends on their structure. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute ...

NASA's Orion capsule poised for first test launch

Dec 02, 2014

NASA's multi-billion dollar Orion capsule is poised for its first test launch Thursday, in a demonstration flight that aims to propel it higher than any spacecraft meant to carry humans in 40 years.

Team develops cognitive test battery for spaceflight

Nov 26, 2014

Space is one of the most demanding and unforgiving environments. Human exploration of space requires astronauts to maintain consistently high levels of cognitive performance to ensure mission safety and success, and prevent ...

Hi-SEAS and Mars Society kick off new season of missions

Nov 04, 2014

The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (aka. Hi-SEAS) – a human spaceflight analog for Mars located on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii – just kicked off its third research mission ...

NASA lining up ICESat-2's laser-catching telescope

Nov 03, 2014

To catch individual laser photons that have travelled more than 600 miles from a satellite to Earth and back, the satellite's telescope needs to be perfectly positioned. Last week, engineers and technicians ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.