This response to earlier comments was left on the post about Liftport’s space elevator development work from a few weeks back, and I wanted to toss them up so they weren’t overlooked. (Earlier comments in bold.)
And that means getting beyond our primitive space technology.
In terms of material needed we can – we think – get the job done with six to eight Delta IV launches, plus on-orbit assembly.
The last is tricky – it’s not like anyone has done this before … unless you count ISS and MIR. We’ll need a place for the assemblers to work and live. Again, it’s a new application of somewhat established concepts. But it’s been done before.
This is not to poo-poo the difficulty involved, merely to note that it’s possible with technology we have now.
People would want to see that a beanstalk works, and continues to work for a significant period of time before allowing a 100000km carbon nanotube whip to be placed over their heads
Wrong imagery. Any forces that would impart enough energy to play crack-the-whip will shred the material. The stuff is going to be strong, but that level of strong it ain’t.
A break? Stuff that is below the break will come down. Stuff above goes up and might be controllable in it’s altitude by moving the cars up and down.
The stuff coming down? It’s light – kg’s per kilometer. It’s messy and there are (maybe) some long-term implications if we don’t police up the stuff. And if the break is way up there and we have thousands of kilometers coming down? The bits that survive the shock of the breakup will burn on re-entry.
Which is not to make light of any of this – we’ve got studying to do before we can say with assurance ‘yes we can do this’ but some basic physics and engineering dictate that a whip hovering over our heads it’s not going to be.
More seriously and of longer-term impact – we’ve got to live here too. We’re working hard not to build something that could wrack the planet. Many eye-balls help – and I hope you and other bloggers like you will keep an eye on us and keep us honest.
Enron I don’t want to be.
A lot of good discussion on that post if you’re interested in such things…