Something Else To See And Avoid — Space Elevators?


LiftPort Group, a consortium of companies working together to develop a space elevator, said on Monday it has successfully completed a second round of tests of its high-altitude platform. The tests, which required an FAA waiver to use the airspace, were completed earlier this month in Arizona. LiftPort says it launched an observation and communication platform to over 5,000 feet and maintained it in a stationary position for more than six hours, using an arrangement of high-altitude balloons. A ribbon attached from the platform to the ground supported robotic lifters that climbed as high as 1,500 feet. LiftPort says the technology can eventually be used to create a space elevator that would be anchored to an offshore sea platform near the equator in the Pacific Ocean. A carbon nanotube composite ribbon would stretch some 62,000 miles from earth to space. Mechanical lifters would move up and down the ribbon, carrying such items as people, satellites and solar power systems. “We’re pleased at the success of this round of testing,” said Michael Laine, president of LiftPort. “Testing our technology in real world settings is critical to the ultimate success of our space elevator, and we appreciate the FAA’s willingness to work with us on this.” The company is headquartered in Bremerton, Wash.