LiftPort Group, the Space Elevator Companies, Receives Waiver to Use Airspace from the FAA To Conduct Tests of Its Space Elevator Technology
The tests, which are planned for early fall, will simulate a working space elevator by launching a model elevator "ribbon" attached to moored balloon initially up to a mile high. The robotic lifters will then be tested in their ability to climb up and down the free-hanging ribbon, marking the first-ever test of this technology in the development of the space elevator concept.
“We appreciate the FAA's willingness to work with us on these tests. The ability to test our hardware in a simulated working environment is a critical step in the ultimate development of the LiftPort Space Elevator”
"We appreciate the FAA's willingness to work with us on these tests. The ability to test our hardware in a simulated working environment is a critical step in the ultimate development of the LiftPort Space Elevator," said Michael Laine, president of LiftPort Group. "The FAA's approval of LiftPort Group to conduct these tests represents an important milestone for us as well in the development of our overall space elevator concept. These tests are dual use -- not only will they help us learn more about the things we need to do to ultimately build the LiftPort Space Elevator, but they have great value for real world applications today. Our system called HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) will have uses in a variety of fields. For example, after a natural disaster, we can provide radio, cellular or Internet access using our platform as a relay station. Or it could provide real time surveillance over the damaged region. Once our hardware is tested, we believe it can be deployed to save lives."
The robotic lifters to be used in the tests approved by the FAA represent the 18th set of space elevator lifter prototypes developed by LiftPort. Previous tests of earlier robotic lifter prototypes have been conducted in a variety of locations, including MIT and the Mars Desert Research Center; however, the tests approved by the FAA are the first to be conducted by LiftPort at up to a mile high and simulating a model space elevator.
A revolutionary way to send cargo into space, the LiftPort Space Elevator will consist of a carbon nanotube composite ribbon eventually stretching some 62,000 miles from earth to space. The LiftPort Space Elevator plans to be anchored to an offshore sea platform near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and to a small man-made counterweight in space. Mechanical lifters are expected to move up and down the ribbon, carrying such items as people, satellites and solar power systems into space.
Headquartered in Bremerton, Wash., LiftPort Inc. is a privately held company dedicated to the development of the first commercial elevator to space. More information can be obtained at the company's web site at www.liftport.com.