Japan to conduct first test as part of space elevator project


The test involves a miniature elevator that is 6 cm long, 3 cm wide, and 3 cm high.

According to a report in Japan's Mainichi news service, two small 10cm square satellites will be released from the International Space Station after being delivered on September 11.

A Japanese team working to develop a "space elevator" will conduct the first trial this month, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology. "Space travel can become something popular in the future, if it will work", - said the head of the research group Yoji Ishikawa.

Shizuoka University has built test equipment that will launch into space alongside an H-2B rocket.

Of course, reusable rockets are already making space transportation much cheaper, so by the time space elevators are finally ready for action, we might not even need them.

As reported by the Japanese daily, The Mainichi, "the pair of satellites will be released from the International Space Station (ISS), and a container acting like an elevator auto will be moved on a cable connecting the satellites using a motor".

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The first person who publicly began speaking about the concept of space elevators was Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who suggested the idea in 1895 after finding himself entranced by the Eiffel Tower. The whole experiment would be closely monitored by the researchers from the Shizuoka University using the cameras installed on the two cubic satellites. The tiny satellites will launch from the Kagoshima's Tanegashima Space Center to head towards the ISS where they'll reach on September 11th. "It is still a far cry from the ultimate beam-me-up goals of the project, which builds on a long history of 'space elevator" dreams.

Japan's Obayashi Corporation is taking part in the experiment as a technical adviser.

Obayashi believes that by utilizing carbon nanotube technology instead of steel, it may be possible to construct a lift shaft of some kind that would extend 60,000 miles over the Earth.

If Japan (or anyone) can successfully create a space elevator, we could have a low-priced way to deliver supplies and people to space - some experts predict the devices could cut the cost of transporting goods from $22,000 per kilogram ($10,000 per pound) to just $220 per kilogram ($100 per pound).

In 2012, the Obayashi Corporation said it was setting up plans to make space elevators a reality, and to send the first tourists, by 2050.