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Proceedings Article

Space elevator feasibility test using laser power beaming

[+] Author Affiliations
Bradley C. Edwards

Eureka Scientific, Inc. (USA)

Harold E. Bennett

Bennett Optical Research, Inc. (USA)

Proc. SPIE 4632, Laser and Beam Control Technologies, 141 (June 5, 2002); doi:10.1117/12.469765
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From Conference Volume 4632

  • Laser and Beam Control Technologies
  • Santanu Basu; James F. Riker
  • San Jose, CA | January 18, 2002


The space elevator, a cable with one end attached to Earth and the other 100,000 km up in space that can be ascended by mechanical climbers, is a revolutionary system for carrying satellites into space. A 20.000 kg-capacity space elevator appears feasible with developing technologies at a cost of $40B. The basic design and implementation of the elevator have been worked out and many of the components are in use in other programs. The ComPower laser beaming design (free- electron laser and adaptive optics) has the performance required for the critical delivery of power to the climbers. With system designs in hand the next step is to perform a feasibility test of the overall system. One possible test utilizes a high-altitude balloon, carbon nanotube composite tether, protytpe climber, and laser power beaming system. A free-electron laser beam is directed to the climber using a lightweight composite mirror system with adjustable beam diameter. The climbers will ascend the tether to a 600 m altitude demonstrating the performance of the climber, power delivery and laser beaming system along with interactions of all the components. Combining this test with several others being conducted should demonstrate the viability of the space elevator.

© (2002) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

Bradley C. Edwards and Harold E. Bennett
"Space elevator feasibility test using laser power beaming", Proc. SPIE 4632, Laser and Beam Control Technologies, 141 (June 5, 2002); doi:10.1117/12.469765; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.469765

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