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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: 2) by Immerman on Tuesday September 04 2018, @05:39PM

    by Immerman (3985) on Tuesday September 04 2018, @05:39PM (#730356)

    Right you are - I carelessly overlooked the fact that Google gave me the circumference in miles rather than km.

    I'm less certain about the direction the cable would fall though, I'm thinking it would be to the east. Consider: the cable isn't stationary, it's not being dragged down by the spinning of the Earth, it's *also* spinning west-to-east, and doing so considerably faster than the Earth's surface. Just like the outside of a spinning record moves faster than the inside, so does the outside of the cable - at geostationary orbit it's traveling east at about 3000m/s, versus the 460m/s of the Earth's surface, and it will be picking up speed the whole way down. As it loses altitude (and the associated moment of inertia) it must gain angular speed to conserve its angular momentum.

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