The Space Elevator Concepts, Impact and the Need for In-situ Non-destructive Testing

The Space Elevator is a radical technology for accessing space and the ultimate Earth-bound slender structure. The concept was first published in 1960 and was subsequently popularized in science fiction stories. After the discovery of carbon nanotubes in 1991 and subsequent calculations and measurements of their strength, the Space Elevator concept moved from the realm of science fiction to science possibility.

In this presentation the basic outline of Space Elevator design and proposed technology will be presented. This outline includes the economic motivation, major components, deployment scenario and technological challenges of the Space Elevator. Next the focus will shift to the details of carbon nanotube technology, the material usually identified as Space Elevator. Finally, the requirement for in-situ non-destructive testing (NDT) of the space elevator tether will be discussed. A challenge will be made to the NDT community, by the presentation, to determine the requirements and design testing methodology.

Dr. Bryan E. Laubscher
Sept. 12, 2019