Japan Will Be Conducting Its First Test As Part Of Their Space Elevator Project

Submitted by: trimble 4 months ago in Tech


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.
There are 11 comments:
Male 885
Low Orbit Space Tether. The Elevator is just the delivery system, which is what they're testing. The tether is the actual framework, which we're still many years away from.

Hell, I can build a space elevator, I just don't have a tether to hook it up to.
2
Reply
Male 18,342
10m is nothing. Besides, locomotion is easy. What's not easy is solving the problems with tensional strength, torsional stability and static conductivity.
1
Reply
Male 13,505
That's a complete joke.

Carbon-nanotubes are no where near ready for this sort of thing (i think they have only made less than 1M of it in a lab), and 1000km of steel cable will take a Looooong time to get into space.

This whole thing seems badly thought out.. but then again my idea of a 'space elevator' is basically what it says, taking an elevator from the surface of a planet into space (assuming we can even do that)
-3
Reply
Male 10,232
monkwarrior That's a complete joke.

Maybe you missed the entire part about it being "a first trial", a "test" and "proof of concept"?

Or course current materials are not ready for this. That's why you test, and see which direction you should advance in. 
1
Reply
Male 2,793
I read about this idea many years ago in a Sci fi story. The only real technology we lack is a material for the cables. Taken to the extreme we could build a ring around the earth anchored by elevators on opposite sides of the world or even intermittent stations around the earth like a donut with the hole in it filled with the earth and cables linking the two together. When you drop a elevator down it would create energy for the lift up. It would make getting things in to space much more economical. I believe that a station only about 200 miles high would be enough to hold the cable up. Of course the dynamics of keeping it in synchronized orbit is I'm sure rather complicated.
1
Reply
Male 965
casaledana (Comment deleted)
0
Reply
Male 10,232
casaledana The simplified version of that is a cable (or cables) to a station at geostationary orbit (~22,250 miles), then extending through the station to a large counterweight.  

The plus of the cable to the counterweight is that the further you can take the elevator ABOVE geostationary point, you're gaining more inertia over and above escape velocity.
0
Reply
Male 9,621
First steps, that's good. May take a while but it's good someone is making a start.
0
Reply
Male 1,249
A space elevator is a cool idea, but my understanding is we don't yet have a material strong enough for the cable on a full-scale elevator
1
Reply
Male 965
rammo34 We could make a cable, but then it would not have uniform thickness. We insist on uniform thickness because ... we just do.
0
Reply
Male 2,793
rammo34   This is why we need space travel, in a zero gravity environment the possibilities of making super strong materials or even growing a crystal (meaning linked atoms that are super strong similar to diamonds) like structure that could do the job.
1
Reply