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February 15, 2006

More space elevator development plans

In March 2006, LiftPort hopes to set up a HALE system in Utah's Mars Desert
Research Station and maintain it for three weeks.
Then, later in the
spring, Laine says he wants to test a 2-mile (3.2-km) tether with
robots scaling to at least half way up.

Laine aims to produce a functioning space elevator by 2018 – a date
his company chose in 2003 based on a NASA Institute for Advanced
Concepts study, which said an elevator could be built in 15 years.
"This is a baby step, but it's part of the process," he says of
LiftPort's recent test.

February 14, 2006

update on work towards a space elevator

A robotic lifter, measuring 5-foot-6 (170 centimeters) in length, grabbed onto the ribbon and pulled itself up to altitudes of more than 1,500 feet (460 meters), besting the previous record by 500 feet. Laine is gearing up for a test of a different type. In cooperation with the Mars Desert Research Station and a team from Georgia Tech, LiftPort will be setting up a balloon-borne, lifter-serviced communications platform that would relay signals during a simulated Mars mission in the Utah desert in late March and early April.

Liftport is making continued progress towards down-to-Earth applications, such as servicing balloon-based platforms for wireless Internet access or aerial surveillance.