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KenChimp's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by KenChimp

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.

I don't see my statements as naive in any regard. Venture Capital is the single most important, and therefore the single most influential factor in such an endeavor.

But I do concur that once there is a workable plan backed up by current technology and enough venture capital to get the ball rolling, a space elevator project would hit the roadblock of mindless bureaucratic wrangling as politicians and other so-called leaders of the world seek publicity and votes in their support of or denouncement of such a project. Governments around the world, and the media would turn the whole debate into a circus of pseudo-scientific fear mongering, fascist neo-con lice would be seeking to kill any appropriations of tax dollars for said project, special interests (especially in the aero-space arm of the defense industry) would be attempting to exert their influence on politicians to garner favor for any government contracts associated with the project, and on and on and on, it makes my head spin just thinking about it.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 20:38:08 UTC | #858370