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Elevator Update
Jamais Cascio, 6 Jul 04

Jon wrote on June 26th about space elevators, sometimes referred to as "beanstalks," and increasingly -- with an eye to marketing -- referred to as "space bridges." He mentioned the Third International Conference on Space Elevators, which ran from June 28th through June 30th. The meeting is now over, and while we wait for the official archive of the presentations, we're starting to get a bit of information about what went on. Blaise Gassend, a presenter at the conference, kept notes during nearly all of the presentations; these notes are now available on his website. His own presentations are also available on the site: Exponential Tethers for Accelerated Space Elevator Deployment (PDF) and Non-Equatorial Space Elevators (PDF). This last one is particular intriguing, as it runs against what amounts to the conventional wisdom about beanstalks -- that they need to come up from the equator.

Other relevant space bridge/elevator pages include: Andrew Price (who also spoke at the 3rd International); the Gizmonics Space Elevator page, which discusses some of the physics involved, and points to the as-yet-content-free "Elevator 2010" competition; NASA's Centennial Challenge, which looks to non-traditional sources of innovation and ideas for space exploration; and LiftPort Group, a Bremerton, Washington-based corporation planning to build an elevator, and which includes a "countdown to Lift: April 12, 2018" clock, showing their belief that we have a bit more than 5,000 days before a space elevator is up and running.

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