An excerpt from Phys: A Japanese team working to develop a "space elevator" will conduct a first trial this month, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology.
The test equipment, produced by researchers at Shizuoka University, will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan's space agency from southern island of Tanegashima next week.
The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in—a box just six centimetres (2.4 inches) long, three centimetres wide, and three centimetres high.
If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two mini satellites that will keep it taut.
The mini-elevator will travel along the cable from a container in one of the satellites.
"It's going to be the world's first experiment to test elevator movement in space," a university spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.