Willing to employ elevators to travel to space, instead of rockets, Japan took the space elevator project to the next level and planned the first tests in this regard. On the other hand, Elon Musk, founder of Space X, doesn’t believe in this method.
Scientists from Japan’s Shizuoka University and other institutions of the country planned to carry out the first tests in space, as part of the space elevator project. The idea behind this concept is somehow straightforward and implies the use of an elevator-like car that can send people and cargo to space by traveling on a cable that connects the Earth to a space station.
The upcoming test would be the first one to observe how a container behaves while traveling on a cable in space. More specifically, a couple of 10-centimeter cubic satellites will be connected with as 10-meter-long steel cable. The tiny satellites will launch from the Kagoshima’s Tanegashima Space Center to head towards the ISS where they’ll reach on September 11th.
The first test as part of the space elevator project to be conducted by Japan this month
Once the small satellites reach the ISS, they will be deployed in space, again, with a small, motorized elevator car that will travel along the cable that connects the sats. The whole experiment would be closely monitored by the researchers from the Shizuoka University using the cameras installed on the two cubic satellites.
Besides, Japan’s construction giant Obayashi Corporation, the technical advisor of the space elevator project, is also working on its own similar plan, while earlier this year they stated that the first space elevator would be up and running by 2050.
A space elevator project, when it will be functional, it would cut the costs of space travel. For example, while it now costs about $22,000 per kilogram to send cargo to space via rocket, it would cost only $200 per kilogram to send it via a space elevator.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.