My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why Thoth Technology Space Tower of Babel cheaper than Rockets for Civilian Space Tourism

Friday, August 21, 2015

Why Thoth Technology Space Tower of Babel cheaper than Rockets for Civilian Space Tourism

Back in September 2014, I though the Japanese company Obayashi plan to build a Space Elevator using CNT (Carbon Nanotubes) as reported in “Elevator into Space: Japanese firm determined to proceed with bold engineering project”, published September 23, 2014 By Trevor Mogg, Digitaltrends was crazy, not to mention just plain difficult.

After all, making CNT into a rope that long isn't possible and other exotic materials such as Carbon Nanothreads made from polymerized benzene as described in my blog article entitled “Penn State University’s Carbon Nanothreads – How to make Carbon Nanothreads using Oak Ridge National Laboratory Pressure Cooker” cannot yet be manufactured in bulk form.

But what if there was an inflatable way to build this Elevator to the heavens using current materials? 

One Canadian construction and Defense Company Thoth Technology, based in Pembroke, Ontario has filed a patent for a Space Elevators made up of inflatable cells as reported in the article “Inflatable Space Elevator gets a lift”, published August 5, 2015 by Eric Mack, CNET News

The idea of a Space Elevator is the stuff of science fiction, but until now, it was though that super strong materials were needed. What makes this idea ingenious is that this is a tower and even crazier, the material for making such a tower nearly 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into the stratosphere is Kevlar, the same material used to make Bullet proof vests.

By building such a structure, Spacecraft could take off like aeroplanes instead of being launched vertically like rockets, but much closer to Space, thereby requiring less energy. Instead, the majority of the energy would be expended on bringing the components up to the top of the Elevator to be assembled for launch.

Currently they're working on a smaller prototype that's only 1.45 km (0.9 miles) high as reported in the article “This ambitious Canadian company plans to build a Space Elevator out of inflatable Kevlar cells”, published August 20, 2015 By Lulu Chang, Digitaltrends

But how would such a structure be built?

Thoth Technology Space Tower - Why this Tower of Babel marks the Civilian Chapter in Space Tourism

The actual material to be used to construct the tower is polyethylene reinforced with Kevlar 49, which is available in bulk quantities needed for such a massive construction project.

The material will be made into inflatable cells that will most likely be filled with Hydrogen or Helium to make the top segment float.

Then as the top segment floats upwards more Kevlar cells are inflated and strapped together and floated upwards, making Space for adding on additional Kevlar Cells. This is done until the full height of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) is reached

However, there are problems.

Even with the centripetal momentum of the upper section due to its lower attraction by the Earth's gravity, the inflatable tower has a large cross section, making it prone to wind shear.

Air pressure would have to be used to keep the lower portion rigid and may involve the use of just regular compressed air rather than hydrogen and helium or possibly an exotic mixture of both as pointed out in the article “Could an inflatable Kevlar tube make Space Elevators practical?”, published August 19, 2015 by Graham Templeton, Extreme Tech.

Gyroscopes on the structure would allow the designers to track any wind shear and inflate sections to adjust the structure. Also the tower would need to withstand high speed wind, rain, snow, ice buildup and even lightening from thunderstorms as pointed out in the article “This insane 12-mile-tall 'Space Elevator' concept is driving engineers crazy”, published Aug. 20, 2015, by Julia Calderone, TechInsider.

A power plant, possibly nuclear, would be needed to keep the inflatable Kevlar Tower pressurized and filled with air.

This implies that the tower may be hollow in the middle to allow maglev based Elevators as described in my MICO Wars Blog article entitled “ThyssenKrupp Elevator develops MULTI, a Multi-Dimensional Travel Maglev by 2016” to ride up to the top of the tower, a much safer and traditional Elevator setup, as cars on the outside would need their own tube enclosure.

Advent of Space Tourism - Cost of the Space Tower cheaper than Conventional Rockets

Still, offsetting the costs with Space tourism would make it more appealing to have two (2) Elevator systems; one inside for Space flights and to act as a service lift Elevator and then a whole set of Elevators outside to lift tourists effortlessly into Space.

It might be argued that the same amount of energy needed to put a rocket in Space would be used by Elevators to overcome gravity. But at US$5 billion to build, it's still cheaper than even using traditional Rockets.

Especially when you consider that rockets launch from atop the tower need less stages than a traditional rocket, huge savings in terms of money, if not energy for launching rockets! 

So where’s best the build such a Tower? Somewhere with huge land Space and a large unpopulated area, like Africa or Australia, as anything falling from that height would hit the ground with explosive force.

If 1.45 km (0.9 miles) high test tower is a success, then the full tower might get financing for global interests, making this truly a tower of Babel. Thoth Technology Space Tower construction would not only make Space travel easier, but mark the advent of Space Tourism and an easier way to the heavens.

Here’s the link:

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