A Canadian technology company has been granted a US patent for an innovative system of sending people and equipment into space, making the whole process of getting into space much more efficient and potentially safer.
Thoth Technology has designed a ‘space elevator’ which reaches 12.4 miles into the sky, allowing the top to sit in the stratosphere. From here, rockets could be launched in a single-stage process; and even return to the tower for refuelling.
A fully functioning tower reaching over 12 miles into the stratosphere is still a long way off, of course, and has previously been discounted because of the extreme nature of the construction and the types of materials required. The design for the Thoth tower includes inflatable components with rigid, reinforced segments that can support a runway at the top. Astronauts and equipment would reach the top via an elevator system.
The tower would not only reduce costs for traditional space missions, where much of the cost and the danger lies in the ground-based launch process, but may present opportunities for scientific research and, in the longer term, for commercial space flight.
More Space Towers on the Horizon
Thoth Technology is not the only company seriously looking at the design and construction of towers for space. Other designs and suggestions have been around for some time, with companies also developing ideas and designs which they will want to protect in order to secure a place ahead of the competition in a market that, although it sounds futuristic at present, may well be the answer to reducing the cost of space travel both for scientific and pleasure purposes.
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