A space elevator is a proposed type of space-Earth transportation system.
The bizzar concept of a space elevator was first published in 1895 by the Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.
Space elevators a theoretical device that has a thin cable, called a 'tether', is anchored to the surface at the equator and counter-weighted end reaching into space. The counter-weight at the upper end keeps the center of mass well above geostationary orbit level. This produces enough upward centrifugal force from Earth's rotation to fully counter the downward gravity, keeping the cable upright and taut and straight. The cars, called 'climbers', move up and down it on on centrifugal force to go up and powerful superconductor motors to go down. They would not fly off the end in to outer space due to the presence of the large counter-weight at the end.
The counter-weight and it's instillation crew would still have to be launched by a rocket. Any possible impacts by space objects such as meteoroids, micrometeorites and orbiting man-made debris, pose a major hazard to the project an thus a further design constraint on the type of cable used. A cable would need to be designed to maneuver out of the way of debris, or absorb impacts of small debris without breaking or bending.
The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) promotes the idea space elevator.
- Manned space travel
- Skyhook momentum exchange tether
- Gravity-gradient stabilization tether
- Electrodynamic tether
- Momentum exchange tether
- Space loops
- Space rockets
- Space tether device