The space elevator add-on for Orbiter depicts an Arthur Clarke-style "rigid pole" type of space elevator anchored on the equator in Indonesia, with a large space station at geo-sync altitude and bullet-train-like "climbers." Real space elevators in the future will likely use flexible ribbons of carbon nanoutubes with tractor-like mechanical "climbers" - but this is still pretty cool.
- Train-like climber with large cargo shell (this is animated in the sim, and a payload can be carried).
- This station is at geo-sync altitude, about 35,000 km. The ribbon would extend much higher than this, with a counter-weight on the end.
- The carbon nanotube "ribbon" of a real space elevator would be much thinner than this and flexible (but very strong), probably about 1 meter wide and about as thin as a sheet of paper.
- Space elevators will work best on the equator. This one is anchored in Indonesia, but real ones will probably be based in the ocean with floating anchors so the ribbon can be moved to avoid large orbital debris.
- Another climber - this version supports four (E,W,N,S).
- Solar cells. Real space elevator "climbers" will probably be self-propelled with ground-based laser beams used to transfer the power. But an orbital station on the ribbon would probably have solar power.
Space Elevator GEO Station
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