January 18th, 2009
EuroSpaceward’s Markus Klettner today sent me a link to a new article about the Space Elevator in the Times Online. The focus this article is the work being done at Cambridge University by a team headed up with Professor Alan Windle. From the article:
“The Cambridge team is making about 1 gram of the high-tech material per day, enough to stretch to 18 miles in length. “We have Nasa on the phone asking for 144,000 miles of the stuff, but there is a difference between what can be achieved in a lab and on an industrial level,” says Alan Windle, professor of materials science at Cambridge University, who is anxious not to let the work get ahead of itself.”
I must admit to some scepticism about NASA really making enquiries about this; it’s always been my understanding that they sponsor the Space Elevator Games because of their interest in Power-Beaming and ultra-strong materials, not because they plan on building a Space Elevator. It’s certainly not on any of NASA’s roadmaps and neither presidential candidate spoke about it - not even to win the Speculist competition!
I have emailed Professor Windle about this and will post his reply when I receive it.
I also liked the quote from Spaceward’s Ben Shelef;
“We are talking about something totally different from the conventional concept of space travel,” says Ben Shelef, chief executive officer of the Spaceward Foundation, NASA’s partner in the project. “This is not about three astronauts on a special mission, it is about hundreds of tons a day being lifted into orbit. I often say that we shouldn’t be dealing with NASA on this, we should be dealing with the US Department of Transportation.”
It’s an interesting article and worth the read…
(graphic from the Times Online article - click on it (or visit the article) to see a larger version)