[ExI] Inflatable tower could climb to the edge of space

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Jun 13 01:37:24 UTC 2009

....On Behalf Of John Grigg

	Subject: Re: [ExI] Inflatable tower could climb to the edge of space
	Spike wrote:
	Keith, does the orbiting power station require a low latitude?...
	And so you are envisioning a multinational team building the space
elevator/tower?  I have my doubts that the United States government and
people would go for a joint venture with China, an economic and military
rival that might seize the space elevator in a time of crisis...	John

John, I seriously doubt the US government will be doing any major projects
in the next decade or longer.  We have shot our wad bailing out banks and
buying up failed car companies.  Those effects are not going to go away any
time soon, in fact I expect the our current business-unfriendly government
to make things much worse before we can turn it around.  Keep in mind, the
utter failure of all three American car companies is still coming, and is as
predictable as the sunrise: the line workers make too much money.

If a massive launch tower is built, China or India are in a better position
to do it, for they have the money and the desire to do something spectacular
to impress their own people and the world.  If China did the moon thing, I
would not be impressed, for many of us could tell our grandchildren that we
watched Americans do that stunt when we were younger than they are now.

China wants to go into space, but I doubt they will have a coupla guys
bouncing around on the moon planting flags.  Rather they would opt for
something that would pay dividends, at least partly to show that they have
rejected the commies and are good capitalists now, and partly to send the
message that their cars are safe to buy.  

All that being said, if the Chinese opt for an orbiting power station, the
launch tower makes sense.  The tower need not be 30km up to be a good buy.
In fact I expect if such a thing is ever built, it will be shorter than
that, and broader at the base than Jeff's original plan, perhaps 10 to 12 km
height, starting at about 7 km, with a base more like 1.5 to 2 km.  With
these dimensions, standard materials and current manufacturing technology
will suffice. 



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