The space elevator
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THE SPACE ELEVATOR. Aaditya Sapkal (ES12B1016). The Components. The Ribbon The Anchors The Climbers The Power. The Ribbon: Design. The Ribbon: Construction. Initial production takes place on earth

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THE SPACE ELEVATOR

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The space elevator

THE SPACE ELEVATOR

AadityaSapkal

(ES12B1016)


The components

The Components

  • The Ribbon

  • The Anchors

  • The Climbers

  • The Power


The ribbon design

The Ribbon: Design


The ribbon construction

The Ribbon: Construction

  • Initial production takes place on earth

  • Aligned nanotubes are epoxyed into sheets, which are then combined (reinforced)

  • Climbers have a similar system on-board to build tether


Why carbon nanotubes

Why Carbon Nanotubes?


The anchors

The Anchors

  • The space anchor will consist of the spent launch vehicle

  • The Earth anchor will consist of a mobile sea platform 1500 miles from the Galapagos islands


The climbers

The Climbers

  • Initial ~200 climbers used to build nano-ribbon

  • Later used as launch vehicles for payloads from 20,000- 1,000,000 kg, at velocities up to 200km/hr

  • Climbers powered by electron laser & photovoltaic cells, with power requirements of 1.4-120MW


  • The power

    The Power

    • Free-electron lasers used to deliver power

    • Adaptive Optics on Hobby-Eberly telescope used to focus Earth-based beams, (25cm spot @ 1,000km altitude)

    • Reduced power delivered at high altitudes compensated by reduced gravitational force on climber, (~0.1g)


    Deployment

    Deployment


    Major hurdles

    Major Hurdles

    • Ribbon Construction

    • Atmospheric:

      • Lightning

      • High Winds

      • Atomic Oxygen

  • Orbital:

    • Meteors

    • Low orbit object

  • Ribbon Breakage


  • Sufficient ribbons

    Sufficient Ribbons

    Problems:

    Solutions:

    Nanotubes must be defect free and straight

    The epoxy must be strong yet flexible, burn up at a several hundred Kelvin, and cure relatively quickly

    The length of the finished cable is 91,000km, and nanotubes are cm in length

    Large scale behavior of nanotubes unknown

    Nanotubes are grown aligned, and defects can be controlled in current production methods, (spark gap)

    The ribbon can be produced in small length bundles and then connected


    Atmospheric oxygen 60 100km

    Atmospheric Oxygen 60-100km

    Threat:

    Solution:

    Extremely corrosive, will etch ribbon epoxy and possibly nanotubes

    Coat ribbon with Gold or Aluminum which have resisted etching in these atmospheric conditions,(NASA’s Long Duration Exposure Facility


    Low orbit objects 500 1700km

    Low Orbit Objects 500-1700km

    Threat:

    • 108,000 (>1cm) objects with enough velocity to sever or critically damage tether. Strikes could occur ~every 14 hours

      Solution:

    • Tracking systems for objects >10cm already in place, sea platform will move tether to avoid

    • Tracking systems for 1-10cm objects coming on-line


    Lightning

    Lightning

    Threat:

    • Ribbon has lower resistivity than surrounding air, lighting will prefer this path.

      Solutions:

    • Platform lies in a region of very low lightning activity

    • Platform is mobile, and can move tether out of the way of incoming storms


    High winds

    High Winds

    Threat:

    • 32m/s wind velocity will induce enough drag to destroy tether

      Solution:

    • Winds at platform location consistently below critical velocity

    • Width of tether will be adjusted to minimize wind loading


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