Space Elevator Technology and Research

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J. Knapman (2016), JBIS, 69, pp.211-219

Refcode: 2016.69.211
Keywords: Tether climber, materials, power, debris, atmosphere, simulator

Abstract:
The feasibility study on space elevators published by the IAA presented the state of the art in many areas, including characteristics of the tether climbers, how to deal with Earth’s atmosphere, avoiding space debris, tether dynamics and the feasibility condition that gives a minimum acceptable tether strength. Since then, progress has been made on areas including the reduction of tether climbers’ power requirements, dealing with the atmosphere and design of the Earth station. There remains a shortfall in material strength, but there is a new proposal – the multi-stage elevator – to enable the use of weaker materials than previously envisaged. At the same time, there have been some advances in methods of making stronger materials. Further areas of proposed research are in simulation of the tether’s movement in its environment, including radiation, design of tether climbers, and stronger materials.

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