A space elevator is a structure designed to transport material from Earth into space. Many variants have been proposed, all of which involve traveling along a fixed structure (such as a cable) instead of using rocket powered space launch. The concept most often refers to a structure that reaches from the surface of the Earth to geostationary orbit (GSO) and a counter-mass beyond.How a space elevator works
|A space elevator would consist of a cable anchored to the Earth’s surface, reaching into space. By attaching a counterweight at the end, inertia ensures that the cable remains stretched taut, countering the gravitational pull on the lower sections. This allows the elevator to remain in geostationary orbit. Most cable designs call for the "elevator" to climb up a stationary cable.|
One concept for the space elevator has it tethered to a mobile seagoing platform:
Space Elevator Games
The 2009 Space Elevator Games are taking place in July at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center in California’s Mojave Desert. This year, to be eligible for the $2,000,000 prize, the competitors will be required to race their laser-powered vehicles up the 1 kilometer vertical steel cable at an average speed of 5 meters/second. The technology demonstrated at these games showcase the core technical solutions needed to implement the space elevator.