this is my version for a "space elevator" but made of many parts
each one of them is floating independently in mid-air. each section
is designed to lift 1 kilogram at a time.
this solves the main problems in "space elevator": strength of the
tether; mass of the counterweight; getting power to the climber.
Design Your Own Space Elevator by Practical Engineering
this is done by separating the long journey into many stations each
with its own "trick" according to which unique part of the Earth's
atmosphere it's located in.
each layer in the atmosphere has a unique useful characteristic
(1) troposphere: 0 to 12 km - a hot air balloon has buoyancy
(2) stratosphere: 12 to 50 km - layers don't mix, so we can make
hydrogen/helium/methane balloons and keep them "stuck" in the layer
(3) mesosphere: 50 to 80 km - not enough air for balloons. but this
means we can pass a laser without diffraction. the laser is produced
in a few dedicated "stations" in the previous layer (stratosphere).
these "stations" have mirrors and direct the Sun's light to a
special "station" with a synthetic ruby crystal and mirrors that
combines the white light beams and produce a red laser beam.
(4) thermosphere: 80 to 700 km - different chemicals are in
different layers so again we use balloons filled with the lightest
chemical and keep the "stuck" in the layer we want.
(5) exosphere: 700 to 10,000 km - has mainly the Aurora, which means
it has solar wind. solar wind can be used to make energy to make a
the laser beam here is used to push on small particles emitted by
the "station", which in turn pushes the "station" like a rocket. we
don't need much thrust because we just want it to maintain altitude.
between the stations robotic "climbers" pass parcels like in
each robot moves up and down only on his own rope (between his two
this has the advantage that each climber doesn't need to store
energy for a long trip.
this has another advantage that on the way down the robot can
reproduce some of the energy, like in an electric car
we use braids of these cheap escalators for structural strength
this way if any single connection is compromised, the robots can
still work around it and pass the package to the next level.
this is like if you're in the shopping mall and one escalator is out
of order you walk further on that floor and find another escalator
that still works.
in more advanced future designs robots can also swing between same
level stations and catch each other in the middle to reform new
connections (like in that video game "Cut the Rope")
what if the air drag from Earth's rotation pulls too much?
this is NOT like holding your hand outside the car's window. over
short distances (the distance between our stations) the difference
in air speed from each sub-layer to the other should be gradual.
BUT just in case, we have 2 options:
(1) not grounding the lower end so the whole structure is free to
lean with the air drag and ease the pull tension.
(2) make the whole thing in one of the Earth's poles. this way there
is no pull only twist, which can be handled with free-rotating
joints where we tie the cable between each two stations.
what can we do with 1 kilogram each time?
i think the coolest thing will be with water which have plenty in
there is a book by Brian McConnell and Alexander Tolley:
A Design for a Reusable Water-Based Spacecraft Known as the
it's by Springer and is part of SpringerBriefs in Space Development.
i didn't read it yet but it's on my to do list, but here is a quote
from this book's introduction:
The basic idea behind the spacecoach is simple; build a spacecraft
whose mass is mostly water or water-rich material at the beginning
of its journey. This water is used for many purposes throughout
flight, such as radiation shielding, a heat sink, life support and
for electric propulsion.