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“Space Elevator Architectures” by David Raitt
Published in Quest Volume: 28 #1 (2021)


The idea of a space elevator has captured the imagination of scientists and engineers (as well as writers and artists) for some 125 years and been the subject of studies by Russians, Americans, Europeans, and Japanese. The concept has been extensively refined and developed over the last few decades and is currently conceived as a 100,000-km long, thin, strong ribbon or tether extending into space up which climbers will travel to release payloads in different orbits, as well as to the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere. Such a space elevator would be a tremendous transportation infrastructure affording massive fast-transit movement of cargo and supplies daily, safely and cheaply into space. This article describes the various insights gained from the published descriptions, studies, and experiments concerning the space elevator’s concept and different elements, including its construction, engineering details, material, criteria, development, function, purpose, and operation. All these diverse insights have led to refinements and modifications of the various components making up the entire system (its architecture). To date, there have been eight such architectures (convergent rather than divergent) and a brief overview of each of these is provided.


Raitt, David. “Space Elevator Architectures.” Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly 28, no. 1 (2021): 17-26.

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More Information

  • Archive ID # G301189
  • Format: Document (PDF)
  • Author/Creator:
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Publisher: Quest
  • Copyright Status: Copyrighted
  • Copyright Holder: SPACE 3.0
  • Language: English
  • Number of Pages: 10
  • Type: History
  • Subject:
  • Collection: Quest
  • Availability: Digital Download

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