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Old 2013-08-22, 14:27   #1
jasong
 
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Default USA and space elevator politics.

I'm horrible at geography, so please forgive me if I say something stupid, but I've been thinking about the US and space elevators. I'm reading a scifi book with a space elevator as a major plot point. The space elevator is anchored to the Earth on the shores of Australia, I forget precisely where.

The location got me to thinking. As far as I know, I don't think the US owns any land that falls directly on the equator. So, assuming I'm correct, and realizing the US government is very control freaky, where do you think the US would want to place a space elevator, assuming the ability suddenly materialized? You get a million worthless points if you name the place in my book as the location, but you're disqualified if you know the location by reading the book. Saying the coast of Australia doesn't count, lol.
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Old 2013-08-22, 16:16   #2
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In the past the location thrown around is around Equador which historically has been very US friendly easy access for the US Navy. The last 6-7 years, though, has seen a stange and sudden growth of anti-US feeling in that country. So I doubt that currently anyone would suggest that option.

Hawaii is 18 degrees off the equator so still an option. Choose a spot a couple hundred miles south from Hawaii but still within the boundary of Naval support. Adds cost to the derrick I suppose.

Good question. I take that back. Great question! I'm a fan of the idea of Space Elevators (and gettting off this rock in general.) Anybody have current cost estimates? I'm guessing it would be less than we've (the USA) spent on the latest air craft carrier to build the first highway to the stars.

Last fiddled with by chappy on 2013-08-22 at 16:50 Reason: lots of grammar and spelling errors. I'm excited I tells you!
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Old 2013-08-22, 16:39   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
So, assuming I'm correct, and realizing the US government is very control freaky, where do you think the US would want to place a space elevator, assuming the ability suddenly materialized?
Ecuador or Peru might be likely candidates (Snowden aside).

Last fiddled with by chalsall on 2013-08-22 at 16:39 Reason: Fixed quote error.
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Old 2013-08-22, 16:55   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappy View Post
I'm a fan of the idea of Space Elevators (and gettting off this rock in general.)
Indeed. Ditto.

A related idea is the Skyhook which doesn't need a fixed physical ground-site. It does need, on the other hand, very big and fast planes, and is estimated to be possible with our current technology.
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Old 2013-08-22, 16:59   #5
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http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/studi...521Edwards.pdf

old material, 10 years out of date. Cost estimates in the 6.5-10 billion range. so lets double that to 20 billion for the first one (the second one will be considerable cheaper :)

Gerald R. Ford class carrier 13.5 billion, so I would lose the bet. But, I still think we'd be getting a better deal :)
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Old 2013-08-22, 17:03   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
Indeed. Ditto.

A related idea is the Skyhook which doesn't need a fixed physical ground-site. It does need, on the other hand, very big and fast planes, and is estimated to be possible with our current technology.
I'm so excited right now you could sell me on Project Orion. Let's do this!
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Old 2013-08-22, 17:05   #7
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lunch is over and I really have to get back to work, so I promise no more spamming the forum for a while :)

http://liftport.com/IPS/page/pages
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Old 2013-08-22, 17:11   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappy View Post
I'm so excited right now you could sell me on Project Orion. Let's do this!
LOL... If you haven't read it, George Dyson's "Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship" is an amazing read. I re-read it every couple of years just for the awe of what seriously smart people think about and do.

The idea was sound. Ironically It was stopped largely because of the security risks associated with the development of small nukes (and the radio-active fall-out when used in atmosphere).
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Old 2013-08-23, 00:08   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappy View Post
Choose a spot a couple hundred miles south from Hawaii but still within the boundary of Naval support. Adds cost to the derrick I suppose.
Guam might not be a horrible spot. What about the US Virgin Islands?
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Old 2013-08-23, 03:41   #10
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What happens to the delivery things once their unloaded? I'm a huge fan of recycling.
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Old 2013-08-24, 21:31   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
What happens to the delivery things once their unloaded? I'm a huge fan of recycling.
Assuming you're talking about the vessels...

My understanding of the current thinking is something like SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will carry payload up, and then carry heavier payload down (Gold or Platinum, for example, collected from asteroids). This will help boost the Skyhook in its orbit.

If done properly, multiple countries and companies will invest in the first Skyhook, and will have compatible vessels.
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