strongly believe in the premise of Liftport, the idea that we need a space elevator to cut out the random rocket foolishness (and even the Nasa-dogged shuttle program). We need a way to get up into Earth orbit, something cheap and unrisky and everyday.
Liftport is essentially a PR piece put together by a wide range of authors. A few of them are scifi pieces, stories set around (and in the environment) of a working space elevator. Most of them are papers aimed and investors and the public, discussing all aspects of SEs, from implementation to cost to payoff to opportunities (including risks).
Sadly, it was assembled in 2006, aimed at generating support and investments for such an effort – many of the papers assumed we’d either be working out the final technical details if not stinging the initial ribbon by now. Alas, from our lofty lookback in 2015, we’re still touching the fuses of unstable Russian rockets.
It wasn’t as good a read as I’d been hoping for. The fiction was great across the board, and the papers, initially, were quite interesting. But after a while, I’ll admit that I felt like I was in some literary timeshare, where I’d agreed to stay for the full three hours and other than some interesting videos (i.e. the fiction) the rest of it was enthusiastic salesmanship.
Other issues – even post 9-11, the article on how safe such a structure would be from attack was a bit dismissive (relying, somewhat, on the belief that terrorists on a hijacked airplane would be unable to spot the cable – I’d think it was shimmer in the sunset, a perfect here-I-am beacon). I didn’t feel that such threats could be so easily discounted.
So overall, it was interesting to poke around and perhaps sample some of the points made (and certainly enjoy the fictional stories). But as far as going cover-to-cover, well, I gave up three papers short of the end. Good luck if you try it.
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