Space Elevator Base Leg Architecture

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C. Swan; P. A. Swan (2006), JBIS, 59, 338-342

Refcode: 2006.59.338
Keywords: Space elevator, systems architecture, debris, ribbon design, systems engineering, anchor.

While the Space Elevator stretches for 104,000 kilometers, the region of most concern, from the survival perspective, is 2,500 kms and below. The threats inside this dangerous arena include debris, spacecraft, meteorites, lightening, winds, rogue waves, aircraft, and intentional human acts. Two major questions will be addressed that will influence the overall systems architecture of a Space Elevator. While the deployment phase of the development of the Space Elevator will only have a single ribbon from the surface of the Earth to well beyond the Geosynchronous altitude, a mature Space Elevator must never allow a complete sever of the system. Design approaches, materials selections, international policy development and assembly must ensure that the integrity of the Space Elevator be maintained. The trade space analysis will address the probability of an individual ribbon being severed, the length of time to repair, and the potential for a catastrophic Space Elevator cut. The architecture proposed for the base leg portion will address two questions: Shall there be multiple base legs to 2,500 kms altitude? And Should the anchor be based on land or at sea?

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