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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.