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Effect of Edward's space elevator on private space travels?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:20 am
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Effect of Edward's space elevator on private space travels? 
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Post Effect of Edward's space elevator on private space travels?   Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:20 am
The german newspaper HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT today is reporting that on a conference in Fairmont (West-Virginia) Bradley C. Edwards (NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts NIAC) will present his concept of a space elevator. Edwards says, that such an elevator could be ready for space missions within 15 years.

The concept is presented to the public at the NIAC-Hompage too.

NASA and Congress are financing Edwards' concept and his working on it really.

What effects and impacts will this elevator have on privte space travels, private spacecrafts?

More important: It's required that private space travel enterprises get free market access to the elevator if it is going to be built. And the best - from my point of view - would be they to contribute the major part in its construction and ownership.

The elevator would giv easy access to orbit, moon and mars.

What would be to be done?



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:59 am
It's really hard to say. In the end the determining factor will be cost per pound to orbit. If the elevator gets that down below $100/pound then you will see the start of an explosion across the solar system. The lower the cost per pound the greater the expansion will be.

I read somewhere that JP aerospace is projecting a cost of something like $1/ton to orbit and somewhere else that it was $1/ton/mile whatever that means. Whichever it may be that their Airship to orbit may very well beat out the space elevator.

It was also mentioned in another thread that super cannons may be another low cost per pound system, at least for cargo.

Another of my favorites in the unusual launch systems is the laser launch or light craft systems.

I think that there will always be rockets moving people to orbit simply because of the amount of time involved. The space elevator will take a week or more and JP aerospace is an even longer amount of time for their system but in the end whatever system that has the lowest cost per pound will be the dominant form of off-planet transport, much like shipping container ships do the bulk of cargo shipping today. With at least two of those systems possibly coming online in the next 15 to 20 years I'd say that the next two decades are going to be very interesting.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:38 pm
The costs per pound to orbit are one factor - the revenue per pound to orbit will be another in the case of private space travels.

One critical point is the maximal possible amount of pounds to orbit compared to the elevator or compared over all space transport systems and space travel systems.

Important too is the easy access to orbit by the elevator - private space travels mustn't be excluded from using it.

The elevator mustn't become a threat for private space travels - and it wouldn't if private spacecrafts take part in building it as well as using it. Then there should be the chance and the possibility to build spacecrafts with orbit ability and to move them to orbit by the elevator. Private space travel enterprises and private spacecraft enterprises should share the ownership of the elevator.

What transport system is the best will depend not only on the costs per pound to orbit but on the items to be transported too.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:54 pm
hmm maybe te private industry could get nvolved with an elevator, maybe hlp maintain it or ship to further space objects?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:16 am
From the point of view of someone who wants to bring something to orbit or in general to space the elevator is something like a road, a railroad or a channel for use by ships. It's an infrastructure.

Roads, railroads and channels are free for use provided the using is payed - ergo the use of the elevator should be free too if each of its users pays.

The revenues of the elevator belong to the owners of the elevator and the elevator may be a substitute to spacecrafts and because of this it may be a serious competitor to private spacecrafts.

The elevator to be a competitor to spacecrafts means that in principle - in theory, in an academical sense - it might be a concept of a team competing for the XPRIZE. The only reason why no team is using this concept are the amount of financial ressources to build the elevator - the teams are missing the financial and economical power needed by the concept. There is real danger that they will loose against the elevator not because of competitional disadvantages but for the lack of financial power.

Result: private space travel enterprises should get and hold significant amount of shares in ownership of the elevator.

The XPRIZE Foundation or a XPRIZE2 or XPRIZE3 should force private significant shares in ownership of the elevator. Developments and ideas will be needed to construct it I think.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:30 am
No private space enterprise by any stretch of the imagination could raise even the low-end $10 billion estimate for a space elevator. If the government don't do it, it won't happen in this century.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:57 am
The point was that private space enterprises should hold SHARE the ownership.

And it's important that as many enterprises as possible hold shares.

The construction of the elevator will take place in more than 10 years - then successful private space enterprises might be enterprises comparable to enterprises like Porsche, Ferrari or perhaps TUI or the german VW.

There will be an effect of the Aldridge report that mustn't be neglected if NASA and the government do what the Aldridge commission is recommending.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:58 pm
If it costs ten billion, bill gates could do it. so your wrong about there being NO WAY to do it do it this century privately.

The liability is the thing which would make people not want to build it.

As well as the huge amount of money in one place, you cannot invest in one part at a time, see if people like that part, then make a more advanced model.


Btw is there anyway the (first?) space elevator could not just go up 62 miles and be used as a launch platform?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 1:30 pm
The problem of an orbit is that it requires a certain velocity to stay aloft - basically, you have to go fast enough to keep missing the Earth. That said, the closer you are to Earth, the harder it will pull you toward it, thus, the faster you need to go to stay in orbit - thus the lower your orbital altitude, the higher your orbital speed must be.

A 'short' elevator like you suggest would not be feasible, simply becase a 110km orbit would require a rather high orbital velocity, one much higher than Earths angular velocity in its rotation. So your elevator's top and bottom would have trouble staying in the same spot over each other. What you need for a 'Hellevator' is a mass beyond geostationary orbit altitude (which is the altitude where orbital velocity matches Earth's angular velocity) and a ground station exactly on the equator below it. The connection between these two points would have a centre of gravity exactly on the geostationary orbit altitude, which would keep it in the correct position.

Another concept is somewhat simpler: You build an elevator from, say, 100 km altitude to an altitude which is not geostationary, but has a relatively low orbital velocity. This places a platform at the 'low end' in a low altitude entirely reachable by low-cost vehicles, and allows the vehicle (or cargo) to be elevated out into space to a position from which it can be easily launched to orbit or transorbitally (away from Earth). The biggest problem with such a platofrm is, it would be in motion, and thus require timing to get to from any given spot. However, it would be muchy cheaper to build, as it would take fewer resources.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 7:30 pm
I think the main problem for lifting human beings (or plants, or livestock) to GEO with the Elevator is the relatively long duration of time spent in the Van Allen belts. That is not a minor issue.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 8:47 pm
How fast does an accelerating space vehicle pass thorugh? How fast could an elevator car go through? I'm think the elevator could actually cross the radiation belts even faster than a spacecraft, as it would have an Earth radius to accelerate for until hitting the first one. Given the right propulsive method, you could make such an elevator go very fast indeed. So I doubt that this is a problem that radiation shielding (possibly magnetic in nature) couldn't solve. van Allen radioation is mostly particle radiation (due to their nature). Such radiation is fairly easily stopped. A glass of water will stop Beta particles (which are what the inner radiation belt (the strongest) is made up of). A sheet of paper stops Alpha particles.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 8:59 pm
In factoring in velocity of the Elevator gondola, you must also take into account friction. This includes wear and tear of the moving parts and the surface of the ribbon itself. It's theoretically made out of buckytubes, not unobtanium, so it is a factor. The design drawings I've seen out there tend to show the crawler using electric motors, not rockets or anything like that.
Even assuming straight up at 200mph and not taking into account accelleration and deceleration, and disembarking (for the sake of simplification) 22000miles, that's a pretty long trip.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 30, 2004 9:17 pm
You could disembark before you got to the radiation belts.

As far as long travel time, you would not have to go the whole length of the elevator---how high would you have to be to get into orbit with accelerating much? I mean, if you go high enough you could use the velocity gained as you fell towards the earth to get into orbit. Right?

How high how are the radiation belts? Can you fly around them if you are in a spaceship? I had always pictured them as rings around the planet, not spheres around the planet.

How did the apollo missions get though the radiation belts?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 01, 2004 1:24 am
i'm not sure of the altitude of the belts, but they're at a specific place in the magnetic field, which since it's blown by the solar wind, looks like a 3d teardrop, so that's the shape of the radiation belts.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jul 01, 2004 2:01 am
So you cannot fly around them?


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