You hop on an elevator at ground level and see a large, cumbersome figure walking toward you.
As you hold the door for them, you realize that this shadowy figure is an astronaut destined for deep space.
You are going to the breaches of our atmosphere to send them off.
So, the elevator has to lead to the shuttle you’re taking, right?
This elevator is inflatable.
I know, it’s crazy sounding!
I hardly can believe it myself, but Canadian space firm Thoth Technology has received a US patent for an elevator, the Thothx) to take spacecraft and astronauts at least part way into space.
When it’s built it will reach 12.4 miles into our atmosphere, and reduce launch costs by up to 30%.
This is huge when you think about the need to launch more vessels into space for exploration or colonization purposes.
Not only will the tower reduce launch costs, but it will be able to perform some functions of current satellites. Thus, reducing the number we have in orbit.
The space elevator was originally proposed by Russian space pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1909, and was popularized by Sir Arthur Clarke in his novel The Fountains of Paradise. Unlike the Thoth Technology design, this particular design had the elevator reaching 22,000 miles from the Earth’s surface.
Unfortunately, this is impossible with our current capabilities because it would require a tower reaching up to geosynchronous orbit and another cable stretching thousands of miles beyond, with a counterbalance the size of an astroid at the end.
So, it seems that Thoth wins for a brilliant compromise.
At 12.4 miles high, the Thoth tower would be 755ft in diameter and topped with a deck, or decks that rockets and satellite payloads could be launched from as well as landing and refueling for various crafts.
In addition, the tower could be used for scientific research, communications, tourism, remote sensing, and mounting wind generators.
Here’s to the future!