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March 29th, 2008
Father of space elevator to speak at IPFW
In a study he conducted for NASA, Brad Edwards projected a space elevator would cost $10 billion to build. But it could reduce the cost of getting a payload into a geostationary orbit to $200 per kilogram from $20,000 per kilogram.
The former director of the Institute for Scientific Research in Fairmont, W.V., will discuss his thoughts on the subject in a keynote address in April at the 5th annual Opportunity Banquet sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers chapter for northeast Indiana.
The Edwards study suggests building a flexible ribbon, just 1 meter wide and thinner than paper, made of carbon-nanotube composite fibers arranged in long strands, cross-braced to evenly redistribute the load if a strand were cut. Roomy elevator cars powered by electricity would speed along the ribbon.
Edwards said he sought an elevator design NASA could build soon that could lift 1,500 tons annually, or 10 times as much mass as the United States now launches into space in a typical year.
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