The company is seeking to raise 40 million dollars, half of which is for design, engineering and testing, as well as 13 million dollars to run research on carbon nanotube compounds - a material that will be extremely strong, but also extremely easy to use in the construction of the cable that will be the heart of the system
Building a space shuttle is not a science fiction fantasy, Space.com claims this week. HighLift Systems was recently established in Seattle. The company sells the idea of an elevator to space.
In recent months, the company's senior officials have spoken that it is beginning to vie with government agencies such as NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and even the Office of Intelligence and Survey (NRO).
In order for the elevator to work, it is necessary to pass a cable whose one end will be in the earth and the upper end will reach beyond geosynchronous orbit (36 thousand km). To start the project, it is necessary to raise about 20 tons of cable and a wheel to a geosynchronous orbit. In the meantime, the company is planning an initial small-scale experiment of the system, which will be built from nanotubes.
"We're making pretty good progress," says Brad Edwards, co-founder of Haylift Systems, which was founded last year. "It's more a matter of desire and funding for this type of project," he concluded. Michael Lane, the president of the group met this week with Air Force personnel and said that things are moving.
The company is seeking to raise 40 million dollars, half of it for design, engineering and testing, as well as 13 million dollars to run research on carbon nanotube compounds - a material that will be extremely strong, but also extremely easy to use in the construction of the cable that will be the heart of the system. According to Lane, venture capital funds and a number of private investors have already expressed a commitment to invest several million dollars in the project. We received several inquiries from states in the US to move the factory to them, states like New Mexico and Nevada that offered a generous benefits package, but we did not come to any conclusions. We may consider this when our federal budget ends in January.
A space elevator is, at its simplest, a multi-cable operation of planetary mechanics. This is a cable that will be 100 thousand kilometers long, slightly more than a third of it - to the geosynchronous satellite and the rest of the cable will be used to balance the weight. When the cable is set in place, the force of gravity on the lower side and the tension of the cable on the far side will keep the cable at constant tension and in a constant position above a certain point on the earth.
If robotic spaceships climb the cable slowly, they can with very little effort, when they reach the other side of the cable, break out of the Earth's gravity and take off to the Moon, Mars, Venus or asteroids. A functioning elevator will be able to transport delicate and large structures into space such as solar energy satellites, habitable satellites and other useful payloads for space exploration and development.
The material chosen for the construction of the cable is a compound of carbon nanotubes. According to the company, this material is not a laboratory gimmick, but a lot of work is still needed to transform the material from the state of wires today to miles of cables in the future. According to Edwards, the development of the compound is progressing faster than expected and we will have materials for demonstration in the near future. We have very little doubt now that the elevator will technically be built, he said. In any case, the more important question is the question of funding.