Design Engine
Training Classes/Tutorials for Designers, Engineers, & 3D Professionals


Google+

Ideas, Thoughts, Perspectives

August 14th, 2015

Canadian Company Granted Patent for Space Elevator

Thoth Technology has been granted a US patent for an elevator to take spacecraft and astronauts into space, even if only part of the way. The Thothx Tower, a 12.4 mile-high inflatable space elevator, is not currently in production but if it is ever built experts estimate there could potentially be a 30 percent savings in fuel costs.

Space exploration is known to be very expensive, but often times the most expensive part is the take off from Earth and the amount of fuel needed. Not to mention, take offs can fail and become dangerous, should they have humans on board. No only do we need fuel to get into space, but we also need to bring fuel to space – with atmospheric drag making the entire process that much more difficult and costly. Russian space pioneer, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, first proposed the seemingly impossible idea of a space elevator in 1909. Now, more than 100 years later, the Thothx inflatable space tower plans to only go half of the way to space, 12.4 miles, thus reducing the overall costs of launching rockets into space.

thothx-space-elevator-6
Previously, finding the right materials and constructing space elevators was impossible. According to GizMag to construct one we would “need a tower or cable reaching up to geosynchronous orbit and another cable stretching thousands of miles beyond, with a counterbalance the size of an asteroid at the end to help hold up the structure.” We don’t have many existent materials that could support the entire elevator – a structure that is 20 times higher than any manmade structure in the world. The Thothx is instead made of “reinforced inflatable sections with an interior elevator tower made of multiple, extruded, pneumatically-reinforced segments. This forms an inner wall to the inflatable sections and a hollow middle for the elevator car. It also acts as a framework for raising decks, stabilizers, and other building components.”

Drawing showing Thothx Tower configuration  Image: GizMag

Drawing showing Thothx Tower configuration
Image: GizMag

The very top of the tower would be used as the launching, landing and refueling pad for rockets. Its pressurized cars would be able to climb up and down the tower, either outside of the shaft or running inside the core. Although the tower will be mostly used for rockets, scientific research and communication, there could be a possibly of it one day being used for tourism.

The idea of a space elevator has been played with for a while. This NASA video below was released in 2000 and shows how a space elevator could function.

What do you think, is a space elevator possible in the future?

 

Article Written by Mila Medonaite for Design Engine, August 14, 2015


About the Author

Design-Engine





Design Engine Industrial Design Training Pro Engineer
 
 

 

New York Wants You to Redesign Their City’s Trash Bin

New York City has over 23,000 litter baskets outside. The most common design is the green wire mesh basket – due to the affordability and easy serviceability, the design has been left mostly the same since the 1930s. New ...
by Bart Brejcha
0

 
 
Maya

The Magic of Pixar and Maya

Last Friday we went on a work field trip to discover the magic behind Pixar Animation Studios through an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL. Since we offer classes using Maya software, we wanted to und...
by Bart Brejcha
0

 
 
Open House

Design Engine Open House

We have settled into our new neighborhood, but we haven’t had a chance to throw a get together with food, drinks, and friends yet. So, we will be doing that on July 26! This is a great opportunity to network with tho...
by Bart Brejcha
0

 

 

Plastic Part Design for Injection Molding Workshop

Plastic Part Design for Injection Molding Course Duration: 16/40 hours Tuition: $1,200/$2,500 USD Overview: The course material is designed to provide a working knowledge of the plastics industry through intelligent discussions...
by Bart Brejcha
0

 
 
Neocon2018

Neocon 2018

NeoCon Interior Design Showcase Neocon is an annual furniture design showcase held at the Merchandise Mart in Downtown Chicago. This year, Design Engine went to cover the 50th installment of the most important event of the year...
by Bart Brejcha
0

 



0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


You must be logged in to post a comment.