Rz054 space elevator

Rz054 space elevator

Rz054 space elevator

Spaceflight encounters major and so far insurmountable problems with rocket-based launches of spacecraft. To reach orbits or even to leave the influence of gravity completely, the share of payload in the actually accelerated material is very small. This makes the space travel expensive, complex and dangerous, exposes the space vehicles already with the start to large loads and as also many failed starts again and again showed, are here large borders set to the research drive of mankind.

But one idea has been driving science from the very beginning: what if you could build an elevator that could carry material and people up into space via rope stretched into space, standing vertically above the surface only by the centrifugal force of the earth? The limitations of rocket space travel would be history, but the concept still presented science with insurmountable challenges until now.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it appears we are approaching a time when the key technologies necessary for a space elevator are slowly coming together. This would then subsequently give mankind direct access to space, which could take almost all of today’s technical realities into a new dimension.

Duration: 1 hour 34 minutes
Recording: 05.06.2013

Markus Landgraf

Markus Landgraf

In an interview with Tim Pritlove, ESA mission analyst Markus Landgraf explains the state of the art, the technological breakthroughs still needed, and the conceivable use scenarios for a spaceport of the 21st century. Twenty-first century.



Intro – Introduction – Problems of rocket space flight – The space tower – A rope from orbit – An elevator to space – The vision of science fiction – The new material – Energy from space – Driving speedIncremental structure – Elevators to stations – challenges of elevator operation – Destruction of the ropeWeather influencesGround stationAsteroids – International activities – Future use


  • RZ053 Myth of Space Flight
  • RZ002 Mission planning
  • RZ034 Space Situational Awareness
  • An Elevator to Space: Markus Landgraf at TEDxRheinMain
  • International Space Elevator Consortium
  • RZ022 Advanced Concepts Team


  • Spacelift
  • Gaia
  • Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky
  • World’s Fair Paris 1889
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Centrifugal Force
  • Gravity
  • Orbit
  • Geosynchronous Orbit
  • Yuri Nikolaevich Arzutanov
  • Jerome Pearson
  • Arthur C. Clarke
  • Elevator to the stars
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Richard Buckminster Fuller
  • Geodesic dome
  • Smoke
  • Fullerene
  • Carbon nanotube
  • Diamond
  • Graphs
  • Graphite
  • Chemical vapour deposition
  • Catalyst
  • Nickel
  • Space Tether
  • Rice University
  • Google X
  • Coronograph
  • Terrestrial Planet Finder

78 thoughts on " RZ054 Space Elevator "

Maybe a quick note on the "new materials":

Fullerenes are not linked by a "diamond bond". A fullerene is an aromatic, which, Simplified said, about CC (C = carbon) double bonds is linked. Diamond, on the other hand, is 3D crosslinked CC single bonds.

Is it on purpose that I can only download the podcast with JavaScript enabled? I understand that the player does not work without JS, but the download?!

There’s a bit more intelligence in the download menu than there seems to be, but I agree with you that there needs to be another solution there. Will also.

Please, call this thing an elevator. It’s called elevator. Not elevator. An elevator is a moving chair. Terrible.

Everything is fine, there is nothing to complain about. All is well.

1) a) cabin, basket of an elevator, especially for carrying people
b) elevator
2) Short for: Ambulance

prescriptive, descriptive, and so&

but yes, it is used like this now and maybe you should accept it.

In our country we say "lift. &

Very inspiring episode of spacetime: "Let’s take the next step to space." Too bad that Tim’s breathing noises provide such tremendous relaxation that I had to enjoy this episode on the 2nd listen with increased concentration level. . Did the levelator fail there or is that intentional? &

New recording setup that is not yet fully optimized. But I put a new version online, where the noise should be much lower. Download again and listen again.

Super topic . when will there be a crowdfunding project of this ?
even the kickstarter project open source death star reached a considerable sum so far. so why not also consider crowdfunding for scientific meaningful things ? with a similar "wow factor" as the dead star&
not that i want/like a totester but even such large projects would reach feasibility with the elevator.

The Death Star was a successful joke where some people entered 9001$ for fun because they will never be asked to pay for it anyway.
Trying to fund basic research via Kickstarter seems to me as feasible as hitchhiking to the moon, at this point in time, without a space elevator..

I join Ingomar; it is not understandable to me why you have to hide a download behind JavaScript.

A direct link would be so much easier:

Well, simple is relative. It’s easier to just click on "download" than to mess around with context menus. But we will work on that again.

Well, everyone comes in contact with context menus sooner or later. But not everyone has, can or is allowed to use JavaScript.
Thanks for the answer and please turn. &

At least in Chrome you can put a download="" attribute on a link to force a download when you click on it. Is standard and will hopefully soon be supported by other browsers as well. Firefox can do it too, but only if the download comes from the same origin, for IMO stupid reasons. But if you have control over the file server, you can simply set content-disposition="attachment" in the header, then a download will be started by clicking on it.

Since I just see this "Feedproxy" link, I would also like to have noted that this is just as impossible as this JavaScript bungle. If Google is in the name, the page is of course blocked. For a while, the first links on the update page of the Metaebene website led through Google. I don’t know if it’s still the case. What purpose this served, I also do not understand. A data octopus is not suitable as a CDN or statistics counter, if that was used for it.

This whole web-rotz is really unbearable, now people already start to implement hyperlinks in javascript, soon the font-renderer and the layout-engine, with HTML5-download-manager, which downloads via websocket? WTF?

It is not clear to me how the counter impulse is to be transferred from the cable to the earth.
The moment you pull something up on the rope, you pull the satellite down.

The impulse to earth thing was also just the basic idea I think they had when they wanted to build the elevator as a tall tower. At least the explanation was at the very beginning when there was no talk about rope/orbital station.

well, but where lies then the profit? If the sattelite is the supporting mass it must be lifted regularly.

just hold the rope at the bottom, extend it a little bit more into space, and it’s at tension. Depending on how far you extend the rope, you can hang things of different weight on the bottom of it.

wouldn’t be a step, for the space agencies, which could sometime lead to missions where long, and therefore light and stable cables are needed?. I am thinking z. B. Artificial gravity through rotation, where you need large diameters for the rotation, i.e. long cables.

Super that it continues, already had fears about the long duration&
And then such an interesting topic. Was a lot of fun to listen to&

Great episode&
Regarding the dome mentioned in connection with Buckminster Fuller, there is an episode of 99% Invisible: http://99percentinvisible.prx.org/2012/10/25/99-invisible-64-derelict-dome/

I would also like to emphasize the above already: The carbon atoms in C nanotubes are not linked with diamond bonds (via sp^3 hybrid orbitals) but with graphite analog bonds (sp^2) and consist of hexagons, not pentagons:

Nevertheless a very interesting and enlightening episode. I hope very much to be able to see a space elevator in my lifetime.

about the weather
to enlarge the graphic again:
Well, you can forget about the Atlantic, but for the Pacific the article confirms exactly what was said in the podcast: Near the equator two nasty storm zones, but the one at the equator itself looks good.

Nice stuff for dreams… H0ffe to be able to witness this as well!

In the podcast there was talk about the fact that there is nowhere to pull the trigger in space, so you would have to fire something out the back. How does firing out the back work in electric propulsion systems? Or are these only used for position correction?

Ion drives shoot out electrically charged particles. Only comparatively little of it is needed, because these particles are shot out with rather high velocity (momentum=mass*velocity).
Advantage: high efficiency
Disadvantage: low power

As for the materials: If you have a material you can build a space elevator out of, and where the manufacturing process is cheap enough that you can reasonably make enough of it to build one. I can think of a bunch of things that could be done with it before the space elevator comes into range. If you want research investments to go in this direction, you probably have to keep an eye on the other applications, which are likely to pay off faster.
One thinks only of Fullerene phaser strengthened plastic, bridge construction, aviation sailboats, which survive each storm and not to forget: the cheese cutter with which one can cut metals belongs probably to each tool box.

Well, that there are no millitary applications is probably also wishful thinking.

Very nice episode! Thank you!

At the price of platinum. That lies grad with approximately 32.000 per kg.

How would one solve the problem of the conservation of angular momentum in an elevator?? If I move outwards, my speed and my distance from the center of the earth and thus my angular momentum increases, this compensation would have to be solved again by means of engines or the like.

I think you have just answered my question. the lateral impulse is the relevant. by the counter-steering of the soil platform the counter-impulse on the earth (and/or. Transferred to the water).

One more correction: the speed at which the car can move is limited by the coriolis force. Since the upper point of the elevator is moving faster in absolute terms (the angular velocity is constant, of course) it must be accelerated somewhere. D.h. the cable is pulled backwards when the cabin is raised and if the cabin is raised too fast the whole thing falls down.

juhu finally a new episode. i’ve had perceptual problems lol.
super topic, very exciting, i think. I found the sound just a little too reverberant. buckminster fullers book: operating instructions for the spaceship earth and other writings i can only recommend very much. even if it might be a little difficult to read. as it also contains many latin or architectural terms.

can it be that the earth, by a mass standing outward, will turn slower? (like pirouettes of ice princesses)
If such a stable rope ‘breaks’ and swings dynamically with maybe 1000 km/h over the earth’s surface, it is enough to jump over it? Trees and animals jump along?
Ah yes, questions about questions ..

no, because the elevator is a construct independent of the earth, whose center of gravity is in geostationary orbit. the connection with the earth is limited to a mobile counterweight, which is only needed because you want to pull up a payload and therefore you put a little tension on the rope by moving the center of gravity a little bit away from the earth by unrolling the rope a little bit longer as explained above… this is also the reason why the rope at the upper and lower end has to be only thick enough to carry the payload. sqm stress is probably strongest in the middle, because there the two halves of the rope come together and one zi3ht to the outside and the other downwards..

so yes middle = focus

Quote: "With the optimized processing parameters, we successfully synthesized 550-mm-long CNTs,…"

Hi Tim.
Finally a new episode&
Is also an episode about the different
Nebulae and galaxies planned?
Keep me busy "thanks to you" medium way
with the astrophotography&

Help! Here is a podcast about 1,5h for which I pay exactly nothing, but which I can’t download the way I want – is that stupid?!
Oh dear – here are some worries..

Otherwise: Great episode, very interesting topic very beautifully implemented.
I was very surprised how close the description of the lift in the novel ‘Limit’ by F. Schatzing the remarks comes. But that is you both probably no term or. should not be subject of the podcast?.

Thank you very much& Regards

Exactly, I have also been waiting for hints on Limit all along&

Otherwise, as always, a highly interesting program.

For some reason the episode is not in my podcast client. Also not if I z.B. switch to the OGG feed. Maybe it’s because of Amarok.

Now that I have downloaded the episode manually it suddenly appears in my podcast client! Very funny.

One topic that unfortunately has not been addressed at all is the Coriolis force.

At least according to my understanding, an object would have to experience a considerable specific impulse westward while pulling up (4*pi*h / 1 day = 5.2km/s). This is almost in the order of magnitude of what a rocket must raise.

Can this problem be solved with an anchor station (what about the other end of the rope then), would this require attaching a thruster to the elevator for station keeping or what would be the plan there?

once the "cable" comes down, grand canyon once around the earth (red mars, middle 7. chapter)

Super episode! Thank you very much.

Do you owe us the explanation why a 144.000km long rope is better than a 36.000km rope with counterweight? If no, at what time is this explained? If so, could someone please explain this briefly?

A rigid counterweight could not be let out piece by piece parallel to the rope downwards and would therefore not serve as a direct counterweight to the previously suspended rope during the build-up phase. Besides, the external rope itself serves as a launch pad for deep space missions – with the momentum at the end you can reach Saturn. This was discussed at different places.

One of the best episodes so far.
Thanks a lot !!

Thank you for this podcast – I learned a lot. However, I’m also afraid that I’ve reset the 10 year counter a few times…

Very exciting topic, with many insights that were new and unexpected.

i was happy that there was a broadcast again, in the beginning it was said every 2 weeks, now i have the time to listen to podcasts regularly and i am waiting eagerly.

A very interesting topic, some nice food for thought included.

But unfortunately this time technically not so high quality, either I misunderstood or Mr. Landgraf is not quite up to date. He claimed as I understood that you can not take pictures of exoplanets, because the star can not be covered, but this is wrong. Today is an article in the FAZ where they have made an infrared image of an exoplanet in 60Lj distance (3 times the mass of Jupiter on a Neptune orbit) and in the current issue of Sterne und Weltraum of the Spektrumverlag there is an image on which 4 planets are to be seen. So it is very possible to take pictures of exoplanets and about that we can even determine the composition of the atmosphere (which is amazingly different for the 4 planets).

To the other points, the previous speakers have already said enough.

If you are running out of ideas, here are some suggestions: I would be very interested in an issue on exoplanets, I have been working on that for years and it is a wonderful topic, also it would be very interesting to learn something about Alma now that it is as good as finished, for a current occasion you could do something about the edge of the solar system even if that is a nasa topic or VHE gamma ray research with H.E.S.S.-Telescope in Namibia, I don’t know exactly if DLR or ESA have experts on this but in any case the Humboldt University of Berlin is involved in the project, 2 scientists from the HU have already held several interesting lectures on this, so I would be interested to learn more and especially deeper about it.
I enjoy every new episode, they are always very interesting and broaden my horizons, I think it’s great you are doing this.

A very interesting and inspiring podcast, thank you! Only one thing was not mentioned, namely the time needed for the construction of the cable. Even if you manage to lift an incredible production machine into geostationary orbit that produces 1 km of the cable per day from nanotubes, it will still take nearly 100 years for the cable to reach the Earth’s surface. Sadly, I deny humanity the ability to plan and act in such a long term manner.

Thanks for the great podcast.

I was absolutely fascinated by the dimensions, the big as well as the small ones. Hardly imaginable that from the described nano-particles such a gigantic structure is to become.

I hope there will follow more exciting episodes of spacetime. &

If the space elevator works safely, it would be a possibility to transport the nuclear waste into space and then to dispose of it in the direction of the sun.
You would have to build a super-castor for the transport and store the nuclear waste now in a retrievable way.

Finally someone who thinks about the actual problems. I can only agree with that. However, it would be desirable that such a disposal of nuclear waste – and better still of the superfluous carbon dioxide – should take place as soon as possible, not in 100 years’ time.

I can only agree, one of the best and most exciting episodes so far! I can understand that the concept never really caught on: A rocket with with fire jet fires the imagination of course stronger than a… elevator&

What I would find an exciting topic, by the way, would be spacesuits: How were the very first ones constructed, how do you move in them, what were the national differences, etc?. ..

ouch, this is an exciting topic.

Wow, very inspiring. The topic is of such importance that it literally screams for another episode.

It is clear that in this format mainly the technical prerequisites and future implications are highlighted.

I would be very interested in an episode where the political and economic interests and contrasts are highlighted. Mmn the biggest obstacles to progress.

NASA supports (external) research in space elevator with a few million (couldn’t find out more but under 10) dollars. With a budget of over 17 billion dollars.

Lockheed Martin, tasked with the development of a Space Shuttle successor (Orion) gets incomparably more.

The intertwining of military and science and the technological progress for civil society that is slowed down by this is certainly an interesting episode.

Is it not this shackle which must be cut before the realization of a project in the order of a space elevator?.

You have the steaming soup in front of you and the spoon in your hand and a bear hunger but the kindergarten aunt would rather sing songs and make animals out of chestnuts.

Is it possible to connect the ends of the nanotubes to each other to chain links? Then the current lengths of a few millimeters would be sufficient to build a stable chain.

Otherwise I would be interested in the relationship between space travel and military. The tank as an example may be a coincidence, but Freud would have his fun with it… (or not?)?)

chain links would work well with metals – the proven method is called rope and has a certain maximum limit where thickness is limited by tensile strength and own weight.z.b. suspension bridges

lockheed martin deploys a tethered aerostat radar airship-it is deployed and connected to the ground by a carbon cable-israel too.the space zeppelin will be pulled into space with a tether cable from a satellite-somewhere-and an elevator with a tether cable will never exist-end of railing

Exactly. And nobody wants to build a wall!

are we in kindergarten here. dadadada comments

Let’s assume that the 144000 km long rope is prepared as described and a load of 1 ton is to be transported upwards. Described how the rope must be made so that it does not break. How the radial forces act was also explained in detail.

But why doesn’t the rope wrap around the earth because of the Coriolis force when pulling a load upward? Are there any articles that describe why the rope stays straight and how to achieve that?

how do you want to anchor the thing in space,,, there is no resistance in space, you could at most bring the thing down, because here is a natural anchorage. gravety

If I climb up there, I have to increase my orbital speed, because at the geostationary point I am finally as fast as the satellite. But how does the?
For this, an impulse perpendicular to the rope (tangential to the orbit) must be transferred from the satellite (or from the rope) to me. but that means i brake the satellite and it falls down (resp. loses tension).
To compensate this, one would have to accelerate the satellite again and it can’t repel anywhere (tangential to the orbit). Means I have to drag up a mass again, and throw it out. And then everything is crap.

Where is my thinking error?

Aso completely forgotten to say. I love this episode, have listened to it 80000 times :D. Unfortunately as said, son paar sachen are not completely explained, how that should go at all&

Ok, after I made me now the trouble to ask the question, I have also overcome me to google the answer&
following wiki quote Answer the above questions about coriolis force (which actually ask the same thing) equals with:

"In the case of the tightly tensioned space elevator, only the overcoming of the weight of the load along the height difference costs energy, because the Coriolis force is always transverse to the movement of the load. That part of the energy, which is needed to overcome the Coriolis force, comes from the deceleration of the earth rotation."

"A rocket propulsion is not needed for the satellite, because as soon as the Coriolis force of a load transported upwards pulls the satellite backwards, the cable forms a small angle to the vertical, and thereby accelerates the satellite while braking the Earth’s rotation."

Means, yes I brake the satellite, but that doesn’t matter, because I also brake the earth (resp. the two equalize again) and my kinetic energy (in tangential direction) is taken from earth. So shouldn’t send too much up there, or the day will soon have 25 hours&

Have you ever thought about hair.

How much tensile strength does a hair have? ? And could you use the structure with carbon fibers, CNT, graphene?
Natural model (Bionic) and so&

One has seen on "Wetten dass . ( https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/betting,_that..%3F )" a (1!) Human hair used to lift a VW.
Probably to be found in the ZDF archive.
So ca. 1t at 0,05mm^2 = so ca. 4.000.000N/mm^2
Maybe a little smaller. Depends on how thick the hair was.
Unfortunately hair is not so stable thermally.
Why this hair has worn that is exciting.
The hair was very sensitive to cross forces.
It was an interesting mount and windless it had to be.
Assume that the hair is an-isotropic.

With kind regards

The elevator resp. Lift, in relation to Apollo a cool understatement and at the same time sovereign expression of a truly civil society. Unless the thing does not work. Or, the uplifting aesthetics may be deceiving. However, history is in progress, a relapse into self-organizational subsistence is not excluded. Many a social issues weigh on the orbital umbilical cord.

Hello I am looking for the podcast from the PTS the Berlin Space Program: Thanks

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: