New Space and Tech

Concept: Dirigible Space Elevator

By Marc Boucher
Status Report
July 12, 2013
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Concept: Dirigible Space Elevator
Dirigible Space Elevator
Tech Briefs/Matthew Lytle

A Dirigible Space Elevator, a unique combination of aerospace design and geodesic geometry, has many monetary, efficiency and energy saving uses. The geodesic exo-structure allows any airship the ability to fly upwards at speeds exceeding 150 mph. The reduced costs to get to space will improve everything with respect to technological R & D associated with space.
The space elevator works by using dirigible technology that drastically cuts costs of sending a rocket into space. By filling 12 donut shaped balloons with hot air, spaced 5,000 ft apart each, and wrapping them around an elevator that reaches to a height of 60,000 ft, a rocket can easily be transported to the top derigible. A geodesic structure being strongest design and weighing the least conquers the challenge of using hot gas for lift in an airship due to pressure, etc. Additionally, an airplane in flight being a group of tensions and strains traveling through the air, the structure of the plane needs to deal with these forces all the time or the plane will eventually break up. Geodesic structures create offsetting forces with the minimum amount of material, thus, having less weight. The diameter of the open space (donuthole) of each dirigible is at least 100 feet across increasing incrementally providing ample room for rockets including a minimal buffer distance for exothermic thrust without damage. Each dirigible would be tied to the one above and below it with three ropes. Taking off from this height drastically reduces the amount of thrust and, by extension, fuel required for a rocket to leave the earth’s atmosphere.

Read more at the Tech Briefs Create the Future Design Contest.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.