We first heard of the space elavator a couple of years ago, when we read reports of how Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had bandied about the idea. Basically, it consists of building a massive tether connected to earth, which then sprouts out to space in geosynchronous orbit. It just hangs out in space allowing an elevator to shoot up and down. Pretty far out, right?
Well, the idea is actually being worked on — and a lot of the action is here in Silicon Valley. Here’s an item saying that LiftPort Group has received a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use airspace to conduct preliminary tests of its high altitude robotic lifter. We also heard from Scott Mize, of the Foresight Nanotech Institute, that there was a meeting at Nasa-Ames here in Silicon Valley (just a hop away from Google’s headquarters) last weekend to discuss a prototype of the actual elevator design.
[Update: We’ve just heard that Mike Laine from Liftport will be speaking at the conference hosted by the Foresight Nanotech Institute next month. It is called “Advancing Beneficial Nanotechnology: Focusing on the Cutting Edge,” and is being held October 22-27. He’ll be speaking on Tuesday, the 25th, at 3 p.m.
By the way, check out Liftport Web site. It’s intro: “The LiftPort Group (LPG) is dedicated to building a mass transportation system to open up access to the inner solar system (LEO, GEO, the Moon, Mars, and asteroids).” It gets better from there. Check out the section on the space elevator. They’ve even got a countdown to the lift date, April 12, 2018.
Note the comment below, too, which says there will be some sort of demo 10/21 at Moffet Field]