The Space Elevator Concept and Dynamics

Bryan E. Laubscher

Wednesday 19th September 2018

The Space Elevator or Space Lift is a radical technology for accessing space and the ultimate Earth-bound slender structure. The concept was first published in 1960 and was subsequently popularized in science fiction stories. After the discovery of carbon nanotubes in 1991 and subsequent calculations and measurements of their strength, the Space Elevator concept moved from the realm of science fiction to science possibility. The Space Elevator is conceived to be a carbon nanotube ribbon stretching from an Earth station in the ocean on the equator to far beyond geosynchronous altitude. This elevator co-rotates with the Earth. Climbers ascend the ribbon using power beamed from Earth to launch spacecraft in orbit or to other worlds. The requirements of the ribbon material, challenges to the building of the space elevator, deployment, oscillations, design variations and the promise of the space elevator are briefly discussed in this paper.

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