LiftPort Group, the space elevator companies, today announced that
it has successfully completed its second round of preliminary tests of
its high altitude platform and robotic lifters.
The tests, which were
conducted under a waiver to use airspace granted by the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA), used prototypes of proprietary
technology the company is developing for use in the LiftPort Space
Elevator, the company’s revolutionary way to ferry cargo into space.
In this phase of testing, conducted earlier this month in Arizona,
LiftPort successfully launched an observation and communication
platform a full mile in the air and maintained it in a stationery
position for more than six hours while robotic lifters climbed up and
down a ribbon attached to the platform. The platform, a proprietary
system that the company has named "HALE" (High Altitude Long
Endurance), was secured in place by an arrangement of high altitude
balloons, which were also used to launch it. The robotic lifters
measured five feet, six inches and climbed to a height of more than
1500 feet, surpassing its last test record by more than 500 feet.
"We’re pleased at the success of this round of testing," said
Michael Laine, president of LiftPort. "Testing our technology in real
world settings is critical to the ultimate success of our space
elevator, and we appreciate the FAA’s willingness to work with us on
In addition to the LiftPort Space Elevator, the LiftPort HALE
system has other near term commercial applications that the company
plans to develop and market. These include security, high altitude
observation cameras, acting as a relay station for radio, cellular or
Internet access during natural disasters, or for real time surveillance
over the damaged region.
A revolutionary way to send cargo into space, the LiftPort Space
Elevator will consist of a carbon nanotube composite ribbon eventually
stretching some 62,000 miles from earth to space. The LiftPort Space
Elevator will be anchored to an offshore sea platform near the equator
in the Pacific Ocean, and to a small man-made counterweight in space.
Mechanical lifters are expected to move up and down the ribbon,
carrying such items as people, satellites and solar power systems into
Headquartered in Bremerton, Wash., LiftPort Inc. is a privately held
company dedicated to the development of the first commercial elevator
to space. For more information, or to sign up for a free subscription
to the company’s newsletter on the LiftPort Space Elevator, visit at
the company’s web site at www.liftport.com.