September 27, 2005
SPACE ELEVATOR UPDATE:
A private group has taken one small step toward the prospect of building a futuristic space elevator.
LiftPort Group Inc., of Bremerton, Wash., has successfully tested a robot climber — a novel piece of hardware that reeled itself up and down a lengthy ribbon dangling from a high-altitude balloon.
The test run, conducted earlier this week, is seen as a precursor experiment intended to flight validate equipment and methods to construct a space elevator. This visionary concept would make use of an ultra-strong carbon nanotube composite ribbon stretching up to 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) from Earth into space.
It’s a baby step. But it’s a step.