Space Elevator

A space elevator is a non-rocket spacelaunch structure (a structure designed to transport material from a celestial body’s surface into space). Many elevator variants have been suggested, all of which involve travelling along a fixed structure instead of using rocket-powered space launch, most often a cable that reaches from the surface of the Earth on or near the equator to geostationary orbit (GSO) and a counterweight outside of the geostationary orbit in this case Libreville in Gabon. Also there is a space elevator located on Beta Canum Venaticorum – Beta Canum in the French Arm of explored human space.

Discussion of a space elevator dates back to 1895 when Konstantin Tsiolkovsky1 proposed a free-standing “Tsiolkovsky” tower reaching from the surface of Earth to geostationary orbit 35,785 km (22,236 miles) up. Like all buildings, Tsiolkovsky’s structure would be under compression, supporting its weight from below. Since 1959, most ideas for space elevators have focused on purely tensile structures, with the weight of the system held up from above. In the tensile concepts, a space tether reaches from a large mass (the counterweight) beyond geostationary orbit to the ground. This structure is held in tension between Earth and the counterweight like a guitar string held taut. Space elevators have also sometimes been referred to as beanstalks, space bridges, space lifts, space ladders, skyhooks, orbital towers, or orbital elevators.

Diagram of a typical Space Elevator or ‘Beanstalk’

Space Elevator

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