farside base 6 times cheaper with lunar elevator
Lunar Lift [Elevator] Facts Sheet
The cost of soft landing on the Moon is currently very high. However, using modern fibers we can build a lunar elevator which reduces the cost of lunar landing sixfold versus using rockets. Furthermore, it makes the cost of collecting material from the Moon and sending it to Earth essentially free. The cost of lunar sample return is reduced by about one thousand times versus chemical rockets. For soft landing payloads, the LSE pays for itself in 20 payload cycles; for sample return it can pay for itself in as little as a single payload cycle, depending on the sample site.
The lunar elevator concept is a long tether which is loaded under tension by terrestrial and lunar gravity. One end is anchored on the Moon and the other end free, hanging away from the Moon. The orbital center of mass of the system is located at an Earth-Moon Lagrange location, either L1 or L2, approximately 50,000 kilometres from the lunar surface. Such a tether can now be built inexpensively from commercially available materials, e.g. Zylon, Dyneema, M5.
The near-side L1 tether is attached to the lunar equator at Sinus Medii. From there, rocket powered "hoppers" can travel to and from any point on the lunar surface very inexpensively, compared to sending soft landers directly from Earth by chemical rockets. On the lunar far side, the best place to put a radio astronomy observatory is exactly at the point where a lunar elevator would attach, making costs and logistics considerably cheaper than using rockets.
For a one time capital cost of US$800Million , a lunar elevator can be built today using existing available materials. This first generation lunar elevator will softly deliver an infinite number of payloads to the lunar surface, each weighing 100 kg, and retrieve the same amount of material from the lunar surface. The alternative of using chemical rockets to soft land on the Moon [or return material] is prohibitively expensive.
The first generation lunar elevator kit weighs 11,000 kg and can be delivered today to the Lunar L1 lagrange libration location, using a single Delta-IV (or Ariane-V) launch. From there the tether is unreeled upwards and downwards. The lower end anchors itself into the lunar soil using robotic penetrators.
The first market will probably be Helium-3 which currently sells on the terrestrial market for one million dollars per ounce. There is a critical shortage of Helium-3 which is in great demand for various industrial applications. Terrestrial supplies of Helium-3 will be exhausted by 2030. Helium-3 is abundant on the lunar surface.
The lunar elevator can also transport oxygen from the Moon to Low Earth Orbit where it can refuel tugs to take satellites from LEO to GEO, a significant revenue source. This reduces the cost of launches to GEO by a factor of Eight times.
The lunar elevator represents a game changing technology which will open up the Moon to commercial mining and long term human exploration.
In the 1980's I was also a big fan of mass drivers for lunar development and met Gerard O'Neill 3 times (RIP).
In the last couple of years it has become apparent to me that a lunar elevator is orders of magnitude cheaper than electromagnetic mass drivers, and offers several additional capabilities which EM mass drivers do not. For example, lunar elevator can soft land payloads on to the lunar surface, an EM mass driver cannot. This is a game changing cost saving capability.
We can continue the process of developing lunar elevators very inexpensively, by building on existing technology demonstration for space tethers.
A recent data point:is the ESA YES2 mission which flew in 2007 ... they deployed a 31.7 km Dyneema tether, the mission cost under 3 million Euros, including student labor ... estimate Eu15 million at commercial prices..... a lunar elevator deployer is the same technology, would need to be scaled up somewhat ... the system design and complexity would be much the same as YES2.
The YES2 leader is confident that a 100 km tether can be deployed using existing spare hardware, at similar (perhaps lower) cost, in about a year.
Liftport estimate $800 million for the first lunar elevator prototype. The cost of the Zylon tether material is $20 million, the rest is deployment and control systems.
Liftport welcome more detailed analysis on the cost ... without funding our analysis has been limited. In 2012 Liftport proposed to NIAC a study but they declined.
Prior to establishing ISRU technology, a lunar elevator can provide rapid pay back in terms of scientific exploration of the lunar surface more cheaply than chemical rockets. The Earth's Moon is a treasure trove of mineral resources, such as precious metals, rare earth elements, Helium-3 and Oxygen for propellants.
We are happy to address any comments or questions you might have, within our limited resources.
A very nice lunar elevator study report from Israel. Student Project at The Technion, Israel, 2008. A full year under the supervision of Dr Alexander Kogan, now retired to Canada. The team is now disbanded, some work at the Israeli Aerospace Industries.
• Cargo delivery from the Moon to the Earth can
be done within 6 days using solar power and no
• The cargo system uses a cable car moving
along a stretched ribbon.
• The ribbon is kept stretched by terrestrial and
lunar gravity. One end is anchored on the Moon
and the other one free.
• The cargo released from the cable car performs
a passive flight to the Earth. At landing, no
parachute is needed.
Here is the link to the details: http://lunarjacobsladder.webs.com/Jacobs%20Ladder%20IACAS%202010.pdf
more details here too ... http://asri.technion.ac.il/jacobs-ladder/
JACOB’S LADDER | Asher Space Research Institute
Year 2008 “Jacob’s Ladder” Lunar Elevator Student Team: Ran Qedar, Natan Grinfeld, Georgy Bezrodny, Ortal Reuven, Alex Tatievsky Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Supervisor: Dr. Alex Kogan, Asher Space Research Institute, Technion , Israel.
There is a detailed 94 page report at this link:https://www.facebook.com/groups/leewardspace/10152844946681932/
The Lunar Space Elevatorhttp://www.niac.usra.edu/files/library/meetings/fellows/mar05/1032Pearson.pdf
The Lunar Space Elevator. Jerome Pearson, Eugene Levin, ... NIAC Phase I Fellows Meeting. Atlanta, GA, 16 Mar 2005 ... Types of Lunar Space Elevators ...
Jerome Pearson - Star Technology and Research
“The Lunar Space Elevator,” with Eugene Levin, John Oldson, and Harry Wykes, IAC-04-IAA.3.8.3.07, 55th International Astronautical Congress, Vancouver, Canada, 4-8 October 2004.
Jerome Pearson, Eugene Levin, John Oldson, and Harry Wykes, “The Lunar Space Elevator,” Space Technology, Vol. 25, No. 3-4, pp.
Jerome Pearson, Eugene Levin, John Oldson, and Harry Wykes, “Lunar Space Elevators for Cis-Lunar Transportation,” International
Conference, Moon Base: A Challenge for Humanity, Venice Workshop, Venice, Italy, 26-27 May 2005.
Lunar Space Elevators for Cislunar Space Developmentwww.niac.usra.edu/files/studies/final_report/1032Pearson.pdf
by J Pearson - Cited by 3 - Related articles
May 2, 2005 – Jerome Pearson, Eugene Levin, John Oldson and Harry Wykes. Research ... Period Covered: October 2004-April 2005 .... This report proposes the lunar space elevator as a revolutionary method