Space Elevator: April 2005

Well it seems the race is on to see who will be the first to mass produce carbon nanotubes for a future space elevator. Liftport joins Carbon Designs who earlier announced plans to commercially produce carbon nanotubes.

From the press release Michael Laine sent me.

LiftPort Group, the space elevator companies, today announced plans for a carbon nanotube manufacturing plant, the company's first formal facility for production of the material on a commercial scale.

The House Science Committee heard testimony yesterday from several witnesses including Mr. Demish who brought up the space elevator.

"Mr. Demish, an aerospace financial analyst, said the large costs associated with space access will limit the industry's growth. "Access to space will stay expensive until we can achieve something like the proposed space elevator that Arthur C. Clarke, among others, has written about," Demish testified."

Experts: Commercial Space Industry has Potential

(Via SpaceRef Top Stories.)

The headline from reads straight out of a cold war era novel, "Russian Professor Says NASA Stole Space Elevator Concept From Soviet Scientist". It's quite amusing actually. After all NASA has never claimed they came up with the concept of the Space Elevator and to my knowledge is not building a Space Elevator.

In fact all historical accounts give credit to Tsiolkovski, a Russian, as having come up with the idea first and then another Russian Yuri Artsutanov, a Leningrad engineer provided the first detailed explanation in 1960.

Today's announcement of a licensing agreement between the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Carbon Designs, Inc. (CDI) would appear to be a sign that the commercial production of carbon nanotubes is close at hand.

The deal, one of the largest technology transfers at Los Alamos, would see CDI initially invest $2 million. The joint effort would develop fibers expected that would be many times stronger than any current engineering materials. Of course the deal has far reaching implacations. The direct result of the aggreement could see mass production of carbon nanotubes for a future space elevator. Dr. Brad Edwards the President of CDI can be characterized as the modern father of the space elevator concept.