OT Japanese Space-Elevator Experiment Launching to Space Station Next Week (Really!)
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2018-09-08 17:51:48 UTC

Japanese Space-Elevator Experiment Launching to Space Station Next Week

By Scott Snowden, Space.com Contributor | September 7, 2018 06:18pm ET
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Space elevators have long been a staple of science fiction. Now,
scientists in Japan will test space-elevator tech from the International
Space Station.
Credit: NASA
The push for a space elevator took a step forward this week when a team
of researchers from Shizuoka University in Japan announced that they
will launch an experiment to the International Space Station next week.

In the experiment, which will be the first of its kind in space, two
ultrasmall cubic satellites, or "cubesats," will be released into space
from the station. They will be connected by a steel cable, where a small
container — acting like an elevator car — will move along the cable
using its own motor. A camera attached to the satellites will record the
movements of the container in space, according to the Japanese newspaper
The Mainichi.

Each cubesat measures just under 4 inches (10 centimeters) on each side.
The cubesats will be connected by a 33-foot-long (10 meters) steel cable
for the "elevator car" to move along, according to the report. [Japan's
Kounotori Space Cargo Ship in Pictures]

The materials for the experiment, which was developed by researchers at
the Shizuoka University Faculty of Engineering, will launch to the space
station Monday (Sept. 10) on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's
next Kounotori cargo ship, H-IIB Vehicle No. 7. It is scheduled to
launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan's Kagoshima prefecture
at 6:32 p.m. EDT (2232 GMT) on Monday, though it will be early Tuesday
morning (Sept. 11) local time at the launch site.

Engineers have been dreaming of a space elevator for decades.

In 2012, Tokyo-based Obayashi Corp. announced plans to build a space
elevator by 2050. The concept has also caught the attention of Google X,
Google's division for big ideas, in the past, as well as an X Prize
competition. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, a division
of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., also announced last
year that it plans to have an operational space-elevator system by 2045.

While experiments to extend a cable in space have been conducted before,
the new Japanese experiment will be the first test to move a car-like
container on a cable in space. If the experiment is successful, it could
significantly boost interest in the space-elevator transportation
system, a concept that many people still doubt is plausible.

Although the space-elevator concept was once thought to be the stuff of
science fiction, some aerospace engineers believe the idea is essential
to the future of space exploration as an alternative to building
ever-larger rockets;in terms of payload, rocket power has more or less
reached its limitations.

The cost of moving people and materials into Earth orbit would be
dramatically reduced, thus enabling the construction of larger space
stations and a lunar base, and even helping to serve as a starting point
for a crewed Mars mission, space-elevator advocates have said.

"In theory, a space elevator is highly plausible," Yoji Ishikawa, leader
of the new experiment's research team, told The Mainichi. "Space travel
may become something popular in the future."

Obayashi Corp. estimates the total cost of a fully functional,
first-generation space elevator to be 10 trillion yen (about $90
billion) — almost the same as that for the maglev train project
connecting Tokyo and Osaka.

The Shizuoka University team's space-elevator experiment comes on the
heels of the International Space Elevator Consortium's (ISEC) 2018 Space
Elevator Conference in Seattle last month, where dedicated scientists,
engineers and invited speakers gathered to discuss the latest
developments, share new ideas and scrutinize new concepts for the novel
space technology..

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Siri Cruise
2018-09-09 02:21:08 UTC
Post by a425couple
Japanese Space-Elevator Experiment Launching to Space Station Next Week
:-<> Siri Seal of Disavowal #000-001. Disavowed. Denied. Deleted. @
'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' /|\
An almond doesn't lactate. This post / \
Yet another supercilious snowflake for justice. insults Islam. Mohammed
2018-09-09 05:53:10 UTC
Post by Siri Cruise
...as opposed to Mount Niitaka. So the works of Arthur C. Clarke aren't the only
thing referenced.

John Savard