Obayashi Corp. has drafted plans to build a space elevator that transports passengers to a space station approximately 22,000 miles high. However, it would take about 7 days to reach. The company described that this technology was viable due to the development of carbon nanotube technology.
The cable that would carry passengers into space would be held into place by a counterweight. The ‘cable car’ is specified to carry around 30 persons. The speed of travel reported by Wired UK is said to be as fast as a high speed train, but nowhere near as comparable to space shuttles that are capable of travelling 28,000 km/h.
On the other hand, speed may not always be the better option in terms of cost. ABC News state that ‘using a space shuttle costs about $22,000 per kilogram to take cargo into space. For the space elevator, the estimate is about $200’, which is approximately one hundredth of the current costs.
Other concerns are how much the whole project would cost from start to finish. Obayashi spokesperson Yomiuri Shimbun informed ‘At this moment, we cannot estimate the cost for the project… However, we’ll try to make steady progress so that it won’t end just up as simply a dream.’