|Space Elevator||Gerardo64||4/15/06 2:01 PM|
3D Model of this Proyect
As early as 1895, a Russian scientist named Konstantin Tsiolkovsky suggested a fanciful "Celestial Castle" in geosynchronous Earth orbit attached to a tower on the ground (a satellite that always stays over the same point of the Earth). Another Russian, Yuri Artsutanov , wrote some of the first modern ideas about space elevators in 1960. His story never caught the attention of the West. The concept finally came to the attention of the space flight engineering community through a technical paper written in 1975 by Jerome Pearson of the Air Force Research Laboratory. This paper was the inspiration for Clarke's novel ( The Fountain of Paradise ) . "One of the fundamental problems we face right now is that it's so unbelievably expensive to get things into orbit," said Pearson. "The space elevator may be the answer."
While the Shuttle has been a reasonably successful launch vehicle, it hasn't met the goal of greatly reducing launch costs. Today the cost per kilo sent to the sky it´s about $20,000 The total cost of the program has been $145 billion as of early 2005, and is estimated to be $174 billion when the Shuttle retires in 2010.
NASA's plan for using the shuttle to launch all unmanned payloads declined, then was discontinued. Opinions differ on the lessons of the Shuttle. While it was developed within the original development cost and time estimates given to President Richard M. Nixon in 1971, the operational costs, flight rate, payload capacity, and reliability have been worse than anticipated.
A working elevator would reduce the cost of launching anything into space by roughly 98 percent. The $500 million it takes to launch the average satellite (insurance not included) would be a thing of the past.
So, what is the Space Elevator? Basically it´s a huge cable attached to a base on the Earth in one extreme and with a big geosynchronous satellite in the other. An elevator could rise trough this cable from the Earth surface to an external orbit without being a rocket. No fuel to take and burn, no explotion risk, a lot of payload can be carry in each trip, no need to be protected against the heat of a re entry as it´s going to travel slowly, in comparison with a shuttle.
So why nobody already make it! Well, there are still many technical problems, but science is reaching the needed knowledge and materials to do it.
Many known material or modern construction method doesn´t work for making this proyect.
Nano Technology is something new that could give us the solution to make a cable strong and light enough to do this proyect.
Now it is possible to put atoms the way we want to make a material. Fiber materials such as graphite, alumina, and quartz have exhibited tensile strengths greater than 20 GPa (Giga-Pascals). The desired strength for the space elevator cable is about 62 GPa. The estimated tensile strength of this Carbon Nanotube Material is 200 Giga Pascal. So that will be fine. This material have the potential to be 100 times as strong as steel, at one-sixth the density.
And the elevator would be electrical?
Yes, but as it is impossible to have an electrical power cable of that long we have to invent something to power it. Batteries can´t be used because of the power we need and their weight and size. So, we are done? Never….here comes WPT Wireless Power Transmition. Another new technology. This mean the possibility to send electricity trough the air. There are 2 ways in developing stage to make this. One is trough Microwaves and the other is trough a Laser Beam. It´s funny but the original idea of this was thought to solve an inverse problem. Peter Glaser suggested in 1968 to collect solar energy in space and send it to Earth converted in Microwaves. Then, bigs antennas would re-convert it to electricity. In the 1980's, researchers at NASA Langley, particularly Ed Conway and Gilbert Walker, worked on the potential use of lasers for space-to-space power beaming . In 1991, John Rather at NASA Headquarters suggested to send energy from Earth to Moon with a Laser Beam. The idea is that the elevator itself would have an array of photovoltaic cells that would transform the Laser Beam onto electricity to have enough power.
Ladies & Gentleman, last world Stop….
A big “attached” Spacial Station would be the place to reach after 4 or 8 days of traveling up and up… Some proyects add a counterbalance satellite far away the station. But we want to reach just that place. There we could produce starships, sun light collectors to send energy to Earth (with the new WPT technology), take raw materials from Earth surface to outer space to make our Earth Rings .
Then, when we arrived to other planets, we can make new Space Elevators there to extract minerals from those new lands and bring back home. The list is open, so….you can post suggestions!
All these structure would be anchored to Earth in a quiet place. The Pacific Ocean near Ecuator line it´s a good place, said scientists. It would be like an oil platform, so it could be move to avoid the cable to be hit by a passing satellite.
Many people could say all this is science fiction. But we are closer to do it than technology was at the time Jules Verne wrote about going to Moon…
Source 1 / Source2 / Source 3 / Source 4 / See what happens if the cable is broken / Source 5 / Source 6
3D Models for Google Earth (My personal site)
Puro Google Earth (Mi Blog sobre Google Earth en español)
Dropbox - Other Server to free host your KML (or whatever) files.
|Re: Space Elevator||tekgergedan||4/15/06 7:41 PM|
The first Googleman that went to the space: Gerardo.
Excellent info. Thanks.
|Re: Space Elevator||Valery35||4/16/06 12:34 AM|
|Re: Space Elevator||TheLedge (GEC Moderator)||4/16/06 12:42 AM|
Very nice model and comprehensive info.
Unfortunately while there's nutters out there willing to fly into buildings nothing like this will ever happen.
GOOGLE EARTH @ GOOGLE +
|Re: Space Elevator||Braham_S_Aggarwal||4/16/06 8:22 AM|
|Re: Space Elevator||Hill.||4/16/06 12:28 PM|
This is very nicely done, Gerardo. I like the model and the many useful references. I first heard of the concept in the Arthur C. Clarke's Fountains of Paradise mentioned in your post. Kim Stanley Robinson also used the idea of a space elevator on Mars in his Mars Trilogy about the terraforming of Mars, which describes the destruction of a space elevator.
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|Re: Space Elevator||darkmancer218||4/16/06 12:54 PM|
That is soo cool. I never thought you could actually building anything onto the earth itself in this program, but I sit corrected. Awesome job!!
|Re: Space Elevator||Frank4||4/17/06 8:40 AM|
Just for the record, I want to point out that I published the first 3D space elevator for Google Earth back in January. :-) My model was the simplest 3D model I could think of creating with a simple KML drawing tool released back in January. I like Gerardo's model a lot better...
Here's a screenshot:
|Tek & Valery||Gerardo64||4/17/06 4:50 PM|
"There were a couple of mouse clics for me but a great "restart" for GE"
|To repliers - Periboob added||Gerardo64||4/17/06 5:04 PM|
Thanks a lot darkmance218
Braham: Thanks and very nice video!
JP Wade: Look what this Forum generates... I´ve made a post that was a kind of inspiration for you as you said (shuttle over Andes) and your models were an inspiration for me!
The Ledge: You are right. You know, in my research I found a list of problems this proyect would have to face with and one of the first was Terrorism...
Thanks for your concepts.
Embont: Thanks! By the way, nice logo. Nice to see people from China..waiting for your posts
gscad2004: Yes, but remember the future is the consecuence of what we did today... Ein Gruß nach Deutschland!
Periboob: Yes, the principal problem is how to set the cable. When I do my litlle research I found something about this but, being honest, it was such a messy explanation I decided not to include it.. Very interesting the Launch Loop...
|Re: Space Elevator||embont||4/17/06 6:16 PM|
It's model very cool.
Wilcom to embdesign
|Re: Space Elevator||gscad2004||4/18/06 6:28 AM|
That is Future and when all nations
in love not war then we have the money
to do that
Das Glas ist immer noch halb voll ! Habt viel Spass !!!
The glass is still half full ! Have a lot of Fun !!!
|Re: Space Elevator||Periboob||4/19/06 4:57 PM|
Great thread. I have always loved the science fiction based on possibilities of alternative space travel.
The one that I thought the second cleverest, maybe more practical than the elevator, was an orbiting reverse rail-gun. A large tube, in low earth orbit, filled with the machinery for electro-magnetically catching and accelerating a vertically-launched spacecraft that shows up at just the right time and place to go in the mouth of the tube. (If you miss just a little it is messy ) A big part of the problem, (like with the elevator) is to get enough stuff in orbit to build the "catcher". Probably possible make it mostly self sustaining, with solar power collectors, and using that power to run an ion engine (maybe use the left-over fuel from the caught launch vehicles as reaction mass?).
But the best idea, was the "launch loop" described here. To get above the atmosphere. Just from size, a combination of the orbiting rail gun with a launch loop is going to be much cheaper than the elevator (we are talking ~40,000 miles long for the elevator?). All of them are pretty vulnerable to terrorism though.
Frank, my math is a little too rusty to be sure, but I think that Sri Lanka is a little too far from the equator to be stable as an attachment point for a "bean stalk". Just thinking about it, I suspect that the top of the stalk will have a daily drift, back and forth, from directly over the base, to a point equidistant from the equator on the south side. But a nice picture. I took the liberty of rescaling your KML a little to make it a little more "realistic"?
|Re: Space Elevator||steve_bryan||4/23/06 3:23 PM|
It's such a cool model I hate to quibble but isn't the scale wrong? The semi-major axis of an object in geosynchronous orbit around the Earth is about 26,000 miles while the radius is about 4,000 miles. So the station should be about 6 Earth radii away (which is also approximately the Earth's circumference). I did a screen capture from Freefall, a Mac satellite simulator, and that is how far Inmarsat 3F5 appears to be.
I suppose a station could be put about anywhere along the cable (like Clarke did in his novel Fountains of Paradise) but the cable would have to extend out to geosynchronous orbit and probably beyond. I still haven't found a good reference for the details of an analysis of all the physics involved.
Edit: That file available for download is a jpeg of the picture, not a placemark. It is compressed in a zip file because the forum software required it.
|Re: To repliers - Periboob added||Periboob||4/29/06 1:08 AM|
I have not been keeping up with the nano-fiber stuff too much, but I think the major problem is creating (never mind lifting) the millions (billions?) of tons of "cable" in orbit. Since (AFAIK) there are no materials which are strong/stiff enough to build a tower up from the ground, we have to build down. And like someone else mentioned, we have to build out also. Start at synch altitude, and start building down, it would fall due to tidal forces on the dangling cable, so you have to simultaneously build out for a counterbalance. And with the required taper...
Suppose we have a fiber to build a cable that can hold 3000 lbs, that weighs 0.1 oz per foot (33 lbs per mile), so 100 miles up, the fiber will have to hold the payload, plus the weight of the 100 miles of cable below, and therefore has a doubled strength requirement. (and the weight/ft) so at 200 miles, we will need 4 times the strength and weight... Of course as the height increases, the strength requirements will grow more slowly, because gravity is decreasing. But still a lot of fiber is going to be required.
On the anchor problem, I remember one fictional treatment, where the whole stalk was constructed in orbit, and then "flown" carefully down to a pre-prepared pit where big bull dozers were ready to push rock down onto the mushroom shaped "anchor" of the stalk, as soon as it was in the pit. What could go wrong? I think if it missed the pit, the loose stalk would wrap around the earth nearly twice. Possibly with some collateral damage.
|Re: To repliers - Periboob added||Gerardo64||4/29/06 8:56 PM|
About the weight of the cable I read that being of nano tubes could be around 1500 tons only.
Anyway, what I don´t belive it would easy to do is the hole balance in every condition. I mean, this is supossed to carry heavy payloads, so you have to design a counterbalance to keep the balance with the payload going up (changing the center of gravity of the elevator), and also when nothing is going up...
There is a tech site ( here ) with many maths formulas about some problems about the elevator. It´s a litlle old, but interesting.
After reading many sites about the elevator I have the feeling that the methods of carrying material to space we have today are in their limits. We are like in "prision" now (in the Earth I mean). We can´t do more than sending a small robot to mars. No more than that. And I also see real interest in such proyect in NASA. This was hard to imagine in the 70´s, so I´m confident that something it´s going on. Isn´t about making a modern shuttle. No, there´s a revolutionary solution to come. I don´t know if would be the elevator as we know today, but something it´s in the "oven"...
|Re: Space Elevator||jesusw||6/4/06 12:42 AM|
In the novel, Clarke already said that Taprobane (Sri Lanka) was a fictional place and that he liberally moved the island "800 km south" in order to have it at the Ecuator. He also doubled the size of the mountain.
He aknowledges that there are better spots at sea level i like the island of Gan in the Maldives.
Also, in the novel the solution was a tape made of diamond, which comes to be carbon nano tubes by our current technology.
And more important, he made a novel, not a engineering paper, but I still love it to the smallest bit.
Reporting live from Smogcity
|Re: Space Elevator||jesusw||6/4/06 12:54 AM|
And taking advantage that I´m around in this thread.
Pearson´s wasn´t the first paper on the subject in the West, there is a previous work.
"Satellite Elongation into a True Sky-Hook"
By John D. Isaacs, Hugh Bradner and George E. Backus and Allyn C. Vine.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the last guy from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
In other themes.
Nano technology is here if you haven´t heard, a page about it in National Geographic:
|100000km of cable?||Gregor_J_Rothfuss||6/15/06 4:08 PM|
this is awesome.
i have only one question though: isn't the model a bit too small? it seems to be about 6000km high, when a lot of designs for the space elevator require 100000km of cable.
|Re: Space Elevator||BlackwaterPro||7/7/06 8:08 AM|
This is very interesting. Food for thought...would tapping into geothermal energy benefit a project like this?
|Re: Space Elevator||Cole_Naymash||1/14/07 3:17 PM|
Sounds like an awesome idea, I work in composite cable production and making that long of a run would be practically impossible. Also with such a long cable the axial and shear stresses would be enormous. Well, sounds like it needs work but I'm sure it could be done!
|Re: Space Elevator||konakoka||8/8/11 12:06 AM|
Just joined, new member to this forum. My question to you is why do you have your Space elevator info/discussion out in the Pacific Ocean on the Google Earth map to the East of the Marquesas Islands? I was reading a little about it as I was studying the Marquesas, I am from Hawaii, living on the Big Island, and continued to read, wondering when the part about why you placed it there was going to show up? Before I ask more questions that may be irrelevant like "if we all posted stuff all over Google Earth there would be clutter everywhere and no room left so why is your article there and others out there like it as well"? I did find it interesting by the way but not at all what I was looking for. Thanks for any info about my question. Scott, Kealakekua, Hawaii