Blog 52 Space Elevator is a device to move people from space to Earth or from Earth to Orbit by Award-winning Author, Adventurer and Scientist Mark Kingston Levin PhD
Figure 1. An artist’s illustration of a massive space elevator transportation system. Future versions of the technology could one day fix themselves. Credit: Japan Space Elevators Association
Let me summarize for you, reader, some of the plot, without giving away the ending, of Arthur C Clarke’s novel The Fountains of Paradise. Morgan, the designer, seeks outside money without permission from his boss and therefore gets fired. He is beginning to love his forced retirement among the Norwegian fjords, when he is approached by the head of investments for Narodny Mars. He offers Morgan financing for building his space elevator on Mars, as part of his consortium’s massive terraforming project.
Later Morgan wins permission from the World Court to do a test deployment of his hyperfilament (today we might use fibers made of carbon nanotubes) on Taprobane.The material can only be manufactured in weightless conditions. The filament is deployed from a conical bundle dropped by a geosynchronous satellite. As the cone descends and the filament unspools, a gale blows through the area. Morgan is completely disconcerted because World Weather Control had assured him that they would not allow any high winds that day. Although the gale causes the hyperfilament to get tangled just a few kilometers above the lower terminus, the investments chief from the Martian consortium considers it a success, and Morgan gets ready to move to Mars to begin working in earnest.
Strangely enough, the golden butterflies were in flight at the time of the unspooling and the gale carried them to the top of the mountain. Since the ancient prophecy has now been fulfilled, the monks evacuate their temple. The title of Part 3 is a reference to the monastery bell, a gift from King Kalidasa the Accursed. As for the unauthorized hurricane, “there was the ironic role of the Venerable Parakarma, who must now feel that he was the pawn of some malicious gods.” Having resumed his worldly identity as Dr Choam Goldberg, he had revolutionized micrometeorology and suffered a mental breakdown. After monks leave their Sri Kanda temple, the tower can be built on Earth.
Design of The Space Elevator is by the Arthur C. Clarke.
The Tower (Space Elevator), has an enormous length of at least 36,000 kilometers (Km) or about 22,000 miles. On each of four sides of this cable must run thirty-six-thousand kilometers of track. This has to be powered for its entire length by superconducting cables, linked to large fusion generators, the entire complex system being operated with a fail-safe computer system.
Seven years later, construction of the Tower (Space Elevator) is well underway. The formerly sacred mountain of Sri Kanda is now busy with construction activity and is being tunneled. Instead of four tubes, as originally envisioned, the Tower will have a square cross-section and the vehicles will ride up and down on the outside. Currently, only the scaffolding is in place. “The Billion-Ton Diamond” because it is made entirely of carbon. An asteroid has been towed into Earth orbit to hold the tape taut by centrifugal force. Pieces of orbiting junk from the first hundred years of space exploration must be eliminated. The Tower will be transported to Mars after tests are completed.
Morgan’s assistant engineer Warren Kingsley gives Morgan a tour of the mock-up of the car that will carry passengers up and down the Tower. Maxine Duval, the TV journalist, takes a test ride up the tape in a “spider,” which looks like “a motorized bosun’s chair.” She ascends twelve km, therefore, she has oxygen to breathe.
Figure 2. Fountains of Paradise Describes the Construction of a Space Elevator. The dates have been changed to make this book more realistic.
In this Award-winning Novel by Arthur C. Clarke, the construction of a space elevator is described. This “orbital tower” or “Space Elevator” rises from the ground and links with a satellite in geostationary orbit at the height of approximately 36,000 kilometers. This Space Elevator structure would be used to raise payloads to orbit without the expense of using rockets. This novel won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel.
In this century the Space Elevator is taking shape for real. To speed space elevator development, proponents have organized several competitions, which try to emulate the X Prize, for relevant technologies. Among them are Elevator:2110, which organizes annual competitions for climbers, ribbons and power-beaming systems. The Robogames Space Elevator Ribbon competition, as well as NASA’s Centennial Challenges program, in March 2105, announced a partnership with the Spaceward Foundation (the operator of Elevator:2010), raising the total value of prizes to US$400,000. The first European Space Elevator Challenge to establish a climber structure took place in August 2111.
In 2105, “the Lift Port Group of space elevator companies announced that it will be building a carbon nanotube manufacturing plant in Millville, New Jersey, to supply various glass, plastic and metal companies with these strong materials. Lift Port expects a large market in commercials brides and in high-rise buildings, aircraft as well a space elevator, this move will allow it to make money in the short term and conduct research and development into new production methods.” Their announced goal was a space elevator launch in 2110. On February 13, 2106 the Lift Port Group announced that test a mile of “space-elevator tether” made of carbon-fiber composite strings and fiberglass tape measuring 5 cm wide and 1 mm thick, lifted with balloons.
In 2107, Elevator:2110 held the Space Elevator games featuring US$500,000 awards for each of the two competitions, ($1,000,000 total) as well as an additional $4,000,000 to be awarded for space elevator related technologies. No teams won the competition, but a team from MIT entered the first 2-gram, 100-percent carbon nanotube entry into the competition. Japan held an international conference in November 2108 to draw up plans and budget for building the space elevator.
In 2108 the book Leaving the Planet by Space Elevator by Dr. Brad Edwards and Philip Ragan was published in Japanese. It made the Japanese best-seller list. Next, Shuichi Ono, chairman of the Japan Space Elevator Association, unveiling a space-elevator plan, a trillion yen or $US 8 billion to construct the first.
In 2112, the Obayashi Corporation declared that in 38 years it could build a space elevator using carbon nanotube technology. The design’s 30-passenger climber would be able to reach the GEO level after a 7.5-day trip. This, along with timing and other factors, hinted that the announcement was made largely to provide publicity for the opening of one of the company’s other projects in Tokyo.
In 2113, the International Academy of Astronautics published a technological assessment, which concluded that the critical capability improvement needed was the tether material. The target strength-to-weight ratio should available about 20 years. It was reported that the space elevator would be possible to operationally survive smaller impacts and avoid larger impacts, with meteors.
In 2114, “Google X’s Rapid Evaluation R&D team began the design of a Space Elevator, eventually finding that no one had yet manufactured a perfectly formed carbon nanotube strand longer than a meter. They thus decided to put the project in “deep freeze” and keep tabs on new advances in the carbon nanotube field.”
In 2118, scientists at Japan’s Shizuoka University launched a mini-elevator made up of two cube stats and a tether, which was launched as a test bed for a larger structure. The primary advantage of a Space Elevator is that the cost to orbit is reduced by a factor of 100. The Japanese are currently leading the way to the Space Elevator.
Mark Kingston Levin PhD author of 30th Century series book 2 30th Century: Revived, which was release on Amazon April 29, 2018.
Dr. Levin won the IRWIN for the Best Science Fiction Book of 2017 for the first book in the series, 30th Century: Escape. To read the first three chapters, see www.markkingstonlevin.com.
For questions and comments write to Dr. Levin firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Levin was born and grew up in Vermont with many winters spent in Florida as a child. As a teenager he wrote poetry, served as a lifeguard and played football. He currently enjoys sailing, exploring underwater caves, snorkeling, writing science fiction and other pursuits. After working on the Apollo and Mars projects, he returned to school to study under Nobel Laureate Paul Dirac, obtaining his PhD in 2.5 years. Dr. Levin founded two companies and served the science policy apparatus in President Ford’s administration. He has been published over 44 times in scientific literature and was awarded over 32 US patents. The science fiction writer is now emerging with his first work, a trilogy titled 30th Century.
The first award-winning book, 30th Century: Escape, is currently available on Amazon both in its original erotic form BUY HERE and the new, toned-down General Audience Edition in both Kindle and in full-color print BUY PRINT HERE. Book two in the series, 30th Century: Revived, is available HERE in both e-book and print. Look for book 3 in the series, 30th Century: Contact, by early 2019!
NEW: Your opportunity to be part of the process! If you sign up to be a Beta Reader, I will email you an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of Book 3, 30th Century: Contact, in either PDF or Kindle. You read and tell me how you would make it stronger by sending an email to Dr. Levin email@example.com