Space Elevators are a Scifi Standard – Now There’s a Real One! Promise of Technology for Cheap Space Flight #space #technology #Japan #satellite

concept of space elevator

Concept for an ocean based space elevator

A space elevator is a “planet-to-space transportation system.” Vehicles climb a cable attached to the surface and counterweighted in orbit above geostationary level. I’ve used a space elevator in my own scifi writing. Sadly, we don’t have  materials to construct one yet. Well, not a full sized one.

A miniature is now in orbit. Congratulations to Japan for their September 22 launch.

Built by engineers at Shizuoka University in Japan, comprised of two 10-centimeter cubic satellites connected by a 10-meter-long tether. A small robot representing an elevator car, about 3 centimeters across and 6 centimeters tall, will move up and down the cable using a motor as the experiment floats in space.

The Japanese hope to build a real, full sized space elevator sometime around 2050 and use an ocean-based surface tether. That allows time to solve the many practical problems that have kept this idea on the drawing boards since the 1800s. Good luck!