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Steven Mading's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Steven Mading

Comment 4 by KenChimp :

Any private corporation serious about investing in the space faring future should be devoting venture capital on research and development of a space elevator. Any corporation that develops and implements this great feat of engineering would own the cheapest, most non-polluting and reusable vehicle for LEO travel ever devised.

That's a view that is very naive because it ignores the inevitible governmental nature of an enterprise with the potential to create worldwide disaster such as a space elevator. Any such enterprise will require massive governmental (and international in this case) buy-in to be allowed to move forward.

If you're wondering what the worldwise disaster I'm talking about is, imagine what happens if the space elevator is severed anywhere along its length and the tidal forces pull the two parts in opposite directions - one out away from earth and the other.... toward earth....

Given the length that a space elevator needs to be to be in geostationary orbit, that's one very very LONG meteroite wrapping itself around the equator as it comes crashing down.

I'm not saying this should stop development on a space elevator - only that it's going to require such massive amounts of beaurocracy and safety review to allow the project in the first place that a private company will not carry it out.

Tue, 02 Aug 2011 16:37:08 UTC | #857059