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What is a Space Elevator?

A space elevator is a system for lifting payloads, and eventually people, from the Earth’s surface into space. The one under consideration in this report consists of a tether 100,000km long balanced about a node in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and reaching down to an anchor point on Earth. Electrically powered spacecraft, called tether climbers, travel up or down the tether at far lower costs [currently projected at $500/kg] than using rockets. In addition, the service the space elevator provides is a cargo capacity/throughput of two orders of magnitude larger than present rockets, with tremendously kinder environmental effects, and a miniscule potential for future space debris. Tether climbers can continue to the apex anchor – the point at 100,000km altitude – where their speed is sufficient for direct interplanetary travel.

Space Elevators

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