Japan to conduct world’s first test of space elevator

Japanese researchers from Shizuoka University will conduct the world’s first experiment to test a small prototype of a space elevator in space by using two mini-satellites. The test equipment will be launched by Japan’s space agency on board of H-2B rocket from the southern island of Tanegashima.

In this experiment, two ultra-small cubic satellites developed by Shizuoka University Faculty of Engineering will be used for demonstration of space elevator technology. Each satellite measures 10 centimetres on each side. Roughly 10-meter-long steel cable will be employed to connect twin satellites.

The pair of satellites will be released from International Space Station (ISS) and container acting like elevator car will be moved on cable connecting satellites using the motor. The movement of motorised elevator box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.

The one end of the cable of a space elevator will be attached near to surface and the other end in space beyond geostationary orbit (35,786 km altitude). The competing forces of gravity, which is stronger at the lower end and outward or upward centrifugal force, which is stronger at the upper end, will result in the cable being held up, under tension, and stationary over a single position on Earth. Once cable (tether) is deployed at the fixed position, climbers can repeatedly climb it to venture into space by mechanical means, releasing their cargo to orbit. Climbers also can descend either to return cargo to surface from orbit.

Translate »