AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 33 Instrumentation: Ground-Based and Space-Based
Oral, Monday, January 10, 2005, 10:00-11:30am, Royal Palm 1-3

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[33.09] The Space Elevator and the Future of Space-based Astronomy

B. E. Laubscher (Los Alamos National Laboratory), B. C. Edwards (Carbon Designs, Inc.)

The Space Elevator is an enabling technology that promises low cost access to space. In this talk we will briefly outline a design for an Earth-based Space Elevator, explain why the Space Elevator has transitioned from the realm of science fiction to science fact and extrapolate what the advantages of the Space Elevator mean for the future of space-based astronomy. One aspect of Space Elevator infrastructure would be the capability of launching larger satellites, longer booms and larger dishes (unfolded). Moreover, spacecraft and instrument operation in space could be verified before release into orbit or onto a trajectory. If operation was not nominal, the spacecraft could be returned to Earth for repair. Combining the low cost launch potential and the reduced requirements for spacecraft design expected from Space Elevator launches, we will estimate the future cost of space astronomy missions in general. Moreover, we will estimate the effect in the number and capability of space astronomy missions from the overall drop in individual mission cost.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: blaubscher@lanl.gov

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 5
© 2004. The American Astronomical Society.