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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 04 2018, @01:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the going-up! dept.

Japan is taking us one step closer to a space elevator.

Elon Musk may not believe in space elevators yet, but Japan is taking a step forward to realise the dream of travelling to space by elevators instead of the traditional rocket.

A team of researchers from Japan's Shizuoka University and other institutions will conduct the first test in space this month as part of a project to build a space elevator, Japan's The Mainichi reported last week. The space elevator essentially ferries people and cargo shipments in an elevator car travelling on a cable connecting Earth to a space station.

This test is the first exploring the movement of a container on a cable in space. Two ultra-small cubic satellites measuring 10 centimeters on each side connected by a steel cable about 10 metres long will be carried from Kagoshima's Tanegashima Space Center to the International Space Station on Sept. 11.

From there, the connected satellites will be launched and a motorised container acting as an elevator car will travel along the cable and have its journey recorded via a camera attached to the satellites.

The project's technical advisor, Japan's construction giant Obayashi Corporation, is also working on a similar project, though it previously said it expects to deliver a space elevator by 2050.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04 2018, @03:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04 2018, @03:32PM (#730282)

    "flying aircraft carrier"

    We built a couple of those in fact. The most practical was used to break the sound barrier. (or wasn't, if you believe the claim that the F86 got there first)

    "building a big gun to launch payloads":

    As I understand it, the Germans came close. But that of course, was not their intention.

    "flying cars"

    There have been a couple models that were practical. There just aren't markets for mass production. That you don't know how to use a tool, doesn't mean there isn't a use for the tool.

    I'd like to see them move the project along. It doesn't really matter whether they are successful. What matters is that nationally, Japan starts taking a serious interest in deep space. If the space elevator works, great. If it doesn't, well there are plenty of other projects to contribute to. For the moment the more important thing is to get everybody contributing, even if it is a cacophany.

    You get the people in a room first. Then you make the choir.