“Ten-X Stimulus Projects”

The DaVinci Institute’s Thomas Frey has given his opinion on “What projects can the U.S. government invest in to provide at least 10 times return on Investment?“.

One of the projects he supports is the Space Elevator;

“The space elevator is a proposed system to transport material from the earth’s surface into space.  Many variations of this idea have been proposed, but the primary idea involves an elevator-type car that travels along a fixed cabling system held in place by a geostationary satellite orbiting the earth.  The space elevator is intended to replace our present system of using rockets to transport people and equipment outside of the earth’s atmosphere.  Current technology is not capable of manufacturing a cabling system that is both strong enough and light enough to make this connection.  Most of the recent efforts have focused on the use of carbon nanotube-based materials for the tether design, since the strength of microscopic carbon nanotubes appears great enough to make this possible.  A functional space elevator will become a primary driver of space commerce, enabling travel beyond earth’s gravitational pull for a fraction of today’s cost.”

Nice to know we’re on the list but he’s not emphasizing the main advantage of a Space Elevator, it’s scalability.  There is really no limit to how big you can build this thing and thus how much capacity it can carry.  Yes, the price per kilo has to be reasonable, but if you can’t carry hundreds or thousands of tons per day into space, the commercialization of space will be a very slow and painful process, no matter how inexpensive it is.

Freight cars, think freight cars to space…

(Picture of Freight Car from here – click on the thumbnail for a larger version)

4 thoughts on ““Ten-X Stimulus Projects”

  1. Hasshi Sudler

    Piggybacking on the freight car idea, rather than having one ribbon dropped back down to Earth, have a space station drop two ribbons back to Earth such that one is dedicate for ascending elevators and the other for descending elevators. Once an elevator reaches the end of the line, the elevator is moves off one line and onto the other, readying it for the next trip.

    This constant rotation along two lines would allow a long series of “freight cars” to transport items and people up and down the ribbons in a continuous manner.

  2. eric williams

    A “space elevator”?? what the hell for……I really think there are better & more important things to spend $billions on down here, dont you? grow up.

  3. Ted Semon Post author

    Eric, would you have opposed the intercontinental railway or the interstate highway system? Infrastructure projects like these make the future happen. If we ever want to have space-based solar power, colonization of other worlds, anything that requires a LOT of stuff being lifted off of earth, you’ll have to have something like a space elevator to do it – rockets just won’t cut it…

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