This checklist is intended for people with new ideas that are different from the usual design for the space elevator. We want you to think about how they relate to what’s already been done or to the key issues that we have already identified for fixed infrastructure intended to launch or assist in launching to space.
Dr. John Knapman, ISEC Research Director, and the ISEC Research Committee have put together this checklist as a way to independently evaluate any ideas related to getting material, payloads, and humans to space in a cost effective manner. At ISEC, we want to encourage new ideas on ways to get to space, but we also want to continue with the academic rigor used for all our studies, regardless of where the ideas come from.
Top three questions
1. Is the structure naturally stable?
a. If so, explain or refer to the relevant theory.
b. If not, what measures do you propose to stabilize it?
2. What mechanism is required to raise spacecraft from Earth’s surface?
a. What provides the energy and momentum to accelerate spacecraft to orbital velocity or beyond?
b. What provides the energy to lift spacecraft to orbital altitude or beyond?
3. What is the required strength of the material?
a. Use specific strength or give tensile strength in GPa and mass density in kg/m3.
4. How will it cope with space debris and natural meteoroids?
a. Consider tracked items above 10 cm and smaller items that are not tracked.
5. Explain the balance of forces in the structure.
6. What method of construction or erection is proposed?
7. What are the advantages of this proposal over ideas that have already been published?
a. The Launch Loop
b. The Orbital Ring
c. The Space Elevator
i. In its classical form
ii. In the multi-stage form
d. The Space Fountain
e. The Skyhook or Bolo
8. What are the best locations for the Earth station or stations, if any?
9. How does the structure cope with winds and other atmospheric conditions?
10. How does it cope with radiation, including the following?
a. Solar radiation, including solar flares and other hazardous phenomena
b. The effects of the Van Allen radiation belt
c. Cosmic rays
11. What will be the total mass of the structure?
12. What further study is required?