How Would Thoth Technology’s Space Elevator Work?

ThothX TowerThoth Technology, a Canadian aerospace and defense firm, was granted a patent this summer for an elevator that could transport people and payloads into low earth orbit.

The ThothX Tower would have a hollow 20-kilometer shaft/core stacked with washers 300 meters in diameter. The washers would be made of polyethylene and Kevlar and filled with helium or hydrogen. The tower would be constructed one cell at a time and would stand upright. The pressure in the cells would enable it to stand up to external forces, such as wind currents. Heavy gyroscopic flywheels at the base would increase the angular momentum of the elevator’s core.

The tower would have a harmonics control strategy. Software would adjust the pressure in the washers and guide the center of gravity to enable the tower to stand up to even hurricane force winds.

Most of the cells would have a pressure of 100 atmospheres. If a cell needed to be repaired, it would be depressurized. If one cell got damaged and lost pressure, the tower would not collapse because of the modular nature of the cells.

The seams in the cells would be closed with the same technology used in rockets and sailing vessels. A weave would be applied over the surface of the seams and then heat-cured to bind it.

The elevator would be powered by electrical charge and frictional contact. The elevator cars would be attached to the tower by electrical attraction. A frictional wheel would grip the tower and guide the cars along a corkscrew path. Each time a car passed down the shaft, the tower would be recharged. Energy transfer might also occur when two cars passed each other.

The ThothX Tower would be able to lift up to 10,000 kilograms of parts. Spacecraft could launch from its platform in one stage and return to the top of the tower to refuel. This would use much less energy than what is required to launch a rocket from the Earth’s surface.

The tower could be used for tourism. It could also significantly reduce the amount of time required to travel around the world.

Thoth is planning to build a proof-of-concept demonstration tower 1.5 kilometers tall in the next three to five years at a cost of about $1 billion. The company hopes to build a 20-kilometer tower three to five years after that at a cost of $5 to $10 billion.


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