Saturday, October 07, 2006

Space Elevator Confusion, Is It In You? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
There seems to be a bit of a time frame gap as to exactly when the Space Elevator will be built by two competing authorities.

According to LiftPort, the Space Elevator will be built around 2031 (at its earliest) because of various factors, mainly due to creating a carbon nanotube that is strong enough as well as various testing of the ribbon.

But according to Dr. Bradley Edwards of Carbon Designs, Inc., the LiftPort Roadmap is flawed as he goes on to explain:

The major pitfalls of this roadmap include but are not limited to:

At the end of August an announcement came out from Los Alamos National Laboratory stating they had produced material 100 times stronger than steel (pound for pound). This is about 50GPa or about 15 times Kevlar, Vectran or Spectran. Efforts to produce large commercial quantities of material with these characteristics are underway. Liftport has this material strength milestone at the year 2020 and this drives much of their roadmap.

The laser tracking test in the roadmap listed for completion the end of 2009 were completed about ten years ago out of the Starfire Range in New Mexico and laser tracking and ranging have been done since the early 1970's. These results have been referenced in several prominent space elevator documents. [...]

The orbital environment test proposed was done on NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility spacecraft many years ago for most materials and testing of the carbon nanotubes would be best done at the numerous plasma labs around the country set up for this purpose. Due to the orbital velocity a satellite can not realistically test atomic oxygen degradation. Radiation tests would also be best done in a lab for a small fraction of the cost and for the better results that can be obtained on orbit. Other environmental tests have been done on other materials and doing them with carbon nanotubes will not provide additional information.

He later dismisses LiftPort's roadmap plan, claiming they are not looking at the efforts of others around the world that have shortened most of the research neccessary for building the space elevator.

Ted Simon and I were pretty much dissappointed about the delay, although this new information is starting to make me wonder which authority does one trust regarding the Space Elevator.

I will sleep on the new info tonight, although I think I probably should begin to Google info regarding the SE project world wide. Hopefully, both LiftPort and Dr. Edwards will be able to explain (in layman's terms) the exact date for an SE. But then again, that's probably why he (along with Philip) wrote this book.

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You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

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~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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