|9/4/2015 by mdc|
|Jim Drury reports that ambitious plans to build a twenty kilometer (12.4 miles) tall space elevator tower have been announced by a Canadian space technology firm. Although this distance is a mere fraction of that reached in space missions, Thoth Technology says its ThothX Tower will make a major cost reduction in space flights by helping navigate the difficult first 50 kilometers (31 miles) of travel that traditionally requires rockets. The latter are inefficient, particularly regarding fuel consumption. In addition to needing to carry sufficient fuel to get a payload into orbit, they need extra fuel in order to carry the required fuel to reach that point in the first place.|
Despite first being proposed more than a century ago, the idea of a space elevator has always appeared fanciful but Thoth Technology has been granted a United States (US) patent for the elevator, which is pneumatically pressurized and actively-guided over its base. It would stand more than 20 times higher than the largest man-made structure - the 829.8 meter (2,722 foot) tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
According to Thoth space systems specialist Ian Tomaszewski, if you have a 20 kilometer tall tower and you launch from the tower then you can get to Space in a single stage to orbit. Normally on a rocket launcher you would launch vertically for a while and then you expel those stages of the propellant and those will fall back down to the ocean, and then you continue on. By this you will eliminate that part of the journey and you will be able to get to Space in a single stage.
The tower will be built of reinforced inflatable sections. An interior tower made of multiple pneumatically-reinforced segments would allow elevation. This interior tower would form an inner wall to the inflatable sections and a hollow middle for the elevator car. Decks, stabilizers, and other building components could be raised by the framework.