New Space and Tech

Russian Professor Claims NASA Stole Space Elevator Concept

By Marc Boucher
April 8, 2013
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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.
The Russian professor claims that Yuri Vasilievich Kondratyuk which was the pseudonym adopted by Oleksandr Ignatyevich Shargei, a pioneer of astronautics and spaceflight was the first to detail a space elevator. However this even conflicts with the historical forward written by two other Russian’s Vladimir V. Beletsky and Evgenii M. Levin in their book, Dynamics of Space Tether Systems (Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol 83) published in 1993. They also attribute the original idea to Tsiolkovskii but add that another Russian, F. Tsander, in 1910 “derived a formula for the Moon-to-Earth cable taper” which predates Kondratyuk’s ideas of 1920s which no one until now seems to have mentioned.

So to me it appears the Russians have been given their due credit and the whole premise that NASA stole the idea and is building an elevator is preposterous.

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