Japan Takes Tiny First Step Toward Space Elevator

The space-elevator test equipment will be launched on a Japanese H-2B rocket next week

The space-elevator test equipment will be launched on a Japanese H-2B rocket next week

One of the most serious takes at space elevator technology comes from Japan, where several institutions, led by Shizuoka University, are preparing to test a mini version of a space elevator system.

CNET has reached out to Obayashi and Shizuoka University for comments.

Two small cubic satellites, which measure about 10 centimeters on each side, will be connected by a 10-meter steel cable.

"It's going to be the world's first experiment to test elevator movement in space", a university spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

The connected satellites will be launched and the motorized container that will act as a lift cabin will travel along the cable.

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The satellites will be ferried to the ISS by a Japanese rocket, due to be launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Kagoshima Prefecture on 11 September.

The movement of the motorised "elevator" box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites. Because on paper, a space elevator is one of the largest, most mind-boggling engineering projects ever undertaken by humanity: the cable itself would be at least 21,750 miles long, anchored to a giant tower somewhere along the equator, with the other end attached to a counterweight about the size of a small asteroid. And if the experiment works, it could be a step in the right direction toward realizing the dream of traveling to space by elevators instead of the traditional rocket.

The project's technical advisor, Japan's building big Obayashi Corporation, is additionally working on a a similar project, even though it previously acknowledged it expects to dispute a save elevator by 2050.The Mainichi identified a decision of boundaries researchers face.

The space elevator concept was first proposed in 1895 by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who envisaged a cable reaching into space from the earth's equator. In this case, the Elevator will be a six capsules a length of 18 meters and a diameter of 7.3 metres. Such cable must have a good protection against high-energy cosmic rays. And not to play the devil's advocate, but there is also the risk of some satellite in orbit hitting the space elevator on its trip up or down the cable. Currently, no material has proven strong enough to survive the stresses placed on the elevator cable by the tug of gravity and wind in the upper atmosphere.

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