The Japanese construction company Obayashi, which cooperates with the University of Shizuoka, regularly recalls its desire to build a space elevator, but every time the stumbling block is the lack of suitable material for the cable. And now, it seems, there is a breakthrough in the project – the prototype of the cable and the moving mechanism are going to be tested next week. While on a very small scale.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has planned an experiment using two CubeSat satellites, between which the 10th carbon fiber cable is stretched. A capsule with a size of 6x3x3 cm will slide along the cable, all this will take place in space and be controlled by satellite cameras. This model will show the first and main real advantages, disadvantages and difficulties of creating a space elevator.
Carbon nanotubes are today considered to be the most promising, if not the only, material suitable for this purpose. Of these, you will need to build a structure with a base of 400 m on Earth, a height of 96,000 km and weighing 12,5 thousand tons. The second end of the cable will be attached to the satellite in orbit, but will it be able to retain it with such an anchor? This and other questions scientists and will find out in the course of the experiment.
Japan declares its intention to build a functioning space elevator by the year 2050 – and behind such a bold promise is a simple commercial gain. Estimated cost of shipping 1 kg of cargo to space on the elevator is about $ 250, whereas they now have to carry missiles at $ 25-100 thousand per kg. No matter how much a space elevator costs, with reliable work, it will make the entire space industry uncompetitive and therefore will pay off quickly.js.src = “&version=v2.8”; 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));