Space Elevators: Still Stuck on the Ground

spaceelevator

Space Elevator Faces Reality
Alan Boyle
MSNBC Cosmic Log

Like almost everyone else in the space vision business, the enthusiasts who foresee a “railway to space” are adjusting their high-flying dreams to fit down-to-earth realities.

“We don’t have all the questions, let alone all the answers,” Michael Laine, head of the LiftPort Group, told an audience of about 50 people on Saturday during the 2009 Space Elevator Conference on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Wash. (Microsoft is a partner in the msnbc.com joint venture.)

Laine probably knows as well as anyone how few answers are available.

LiftPort’s Web site is still counting down toward his goal of putting a real live space elevator into operation by 2031. But Laine’s years-long quest to turn the concept into an actual business left him hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt by 2007, with a legal cloud hanging over his head.

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