The team has identified 18 topics that need research. We are fleshing out proposals for those we think are highest priority. The purpose is:

  1. To give advice and counsel to potential collaborators
  2. To ease the entry of new participants
  3. To promote a consistent set of assumptions between different projects
  4. To conserve resources by avoiding duplication of research work

We want this work to be a resource for a non-profit foundation that may be able to provide some research funding. We are aiming to produce one or more high-quality documents and presentations in which we all have confidence; this will take some time and effort.

List of Topics

  1. Tether dynamics

We want a comprehensive simulation tool that is consistent with recent configurations (100,000km length) but with enough latitude that engineers, scientists and strategists can examine variations and effects of several kinds of disturbance.

  1. Tether electrodynamics

The aim is to understand the tether’s electromagnetic properties and their interaction with the space environment to predict things like climber motion, endpoint motion and the possibility of power generation and transmission and more.

  1. Radiation environment to which the tether and tether climbers will be subjected
  1. Tether materials development, testing and manufacture
a. Macro structure: (strength, length and weave)
● Resilience to small impacts
● Provision for tapering
b. Micro structure: the materials science
c. Friction
d. Electrical properties
e. Alternatives to CNT
  1. Hazards to the tether and to tether climbers

Wear, tear and erosion due to space debris, meteors, radiation, etc.

  1. Hazards caused by the space elevator

Examples are collision with other spacecraft or severance of the tether

  1. Tether maintenance

It covers types of damage, maintenance strategy, inspection and repairs

  1. Tether climber design

We think there is leverage for more competitions. We are looking for ways to maximize the benefits from the competitions by providing standard tether designs and test facilities.

  1. Marine node design
  1. High Stage One prototyping and development

The plan is for detailed design and construction of progressively larger prototypes, indoors, outdoors on land and eventually at sea.

There is a recent paper on this topic here.

  1. Laser interference with existing operational satellites
  1. GEO node design

More detail is needed on the requirements and facilities to be established at the geosynchronous altitude (35,850km).

  1. Apex anchor design

The apex anchor is at the far end of the tether (some 100,000km from Earth). One of its roles is as a counterweight.

  1. System operations

Develop a more complete Concept of Operations.

  1. Law

Develop the best legal approach to the organizations responsible for terrestrial (both land and sea), aeronautical, and space laws.

  1. International policy

Work is needed on a winning approach to nations and international bodies.

  1. Marketing

We need to identify more markets among new users of space. One is the space solar power community. More generally, we want to show how the space elevator will improve the human condition.

  1. Finance
a. Estimate in more detail the development and construction costs of multiple space elevators
b. Investigate three approaches to financing the development of the space elevator
c. Identify, in the near term, a plan for gaining funds to establish a Space Elevator Foundation

For more information or to volunteer to help, please email us at research@isec.org.