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Space Elevator Gets FAA Clearance

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the hot-off-the-high-wire dept.

Space 546

lonesome phreak writes "Techzonez has a short piece about the recent FAA waiver received by the LiftPort Group allowing them to conduct preliminary tests or their high altitude robotic lifters. The lifters are early prototypes of the technology that the company is developing for use in its commercial space elevator to ferry cargo back and forth into space."

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546 comments

Wow can you imagine (5, Funny)

bryan986 (833912) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592854)

Just imagine the massive migranes you are going to get when you have to listen to musak for some tens of thousands of miles

Re:Wow can you imagine (1, Insightful)

BridgeBum (11413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592876)

Why is this moderated down? It's at least as funny as other comments I've seen marked +5 Funny.

Re:Wow can you imagine (0, Redundant)

anethema (99553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592893)

Agreed.

Re:Wow can you imagine (3, Funny)

wkitchen (581276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592914)

Yeah, it certainly could have been worse. From the subject line I was expecting: "... a beowulf cluster of these."

Re:Wow can you imagine (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593085)

I [slashdot.org] have [slashdot.org] no [slashdot.org] idea [slashdot.org] why [slashdot.org]

Re:Wow can you imagine (3, Funny)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592877)

Those symptoms would probably be due to over-exposure to methane :)

Re:Wow can you imagine (0, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593076)

I know I'm going to get modded down for this, but I still think the whole "space elevator" thing is the stupidest idea ever. I mean... it just sounds so retarded that - short of all the coverage it gets - you'd be hard pressed to believe it isn't a hoax. I mean, this is along the lines of "let's make a bridge from the US to Australia" kind of ridiculous.

Re:Wow can you imagine (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593127)

If it took millions of pounds of thrust to reach Australia, such bridge would already exist; based on the longer period access to Australia has been useful compared to the time that access to space has been useful.

Re:Wow can you imagine (3, Funny)

32771 (906153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593109)

Those young whipersnappers nowadays, back in the old days we had to listen to Strauss when going to the moon.

Re:Wow can you imagine (1, Funny)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593111)

Did you know that elevators smell different to midgets. :)

Re:Wow can you imagine (1)

aaamr (203460) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593118)

Last I checked, space was only 60 miles away. You could drive there in about an hour. :-) Not sure how far to a geostationary orbit, but it's not gonna be tens of thousands of miles.

Re:Wow can you imagine (2, Informative)

subterfuge (668314) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593178)

~22,250 miles...

= : ^ \ >

An elevator... (5, Funny)

xpeeblix (701114) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592858)

..all the way to space.

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:An elevator... (1)

DietCoke (139072) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592864)

Well, you could get your shoelace caught at the top...

Re:An elevator... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13592992)

Fart?

Power outage (1)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593189)

That is not an elevator I want to be trapped inside when the power goes out.
I hope they are not placing the earth side in the path of Hurricaines.

and she's buying a... (5, Funny)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592866)

Take THAT Led Zeppelin!

Re:and she's buying a... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592905)

your comcast webpage doesn't work.
i think it broke

Re:and she's buying a... (1)

classic66coupe (684338) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592979)

damn dude that rocked.

Why bother with the FAA? (5, Interesting)

JediLow (831100) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592867)

Wouldn't it be best to launch from somewhere outside the United States - say from the equator? It just makes more sense to me if they used something like Sea Launch [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (4, Interesting)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592916)

If you're a US citizen/company, you still need FAA approval, no matter where in the world you're launching from. No, I don't know why.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (1, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593033)

I don't know why.

Because the government wants to keep control over what you're doing of course. I'd think that's rather obvious.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (5, Insightful)

kentmartin (244833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593079)

Oh, c'mon - the grandparent here must be bollocks... an unqualified ridiculous statement.

By that logic, a US citizen, couldn't come to say, the UK, get a CAA issued license and fly with it coz they don't have permission from the FAA?

I know the Seppo's have been going a bit nuts lately, but, how do you imagine they'd enforce these sort of rules, arrest folks on re-entry into the US? /me hums a song about Cuba.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593161)

Seems to work fine when the US wants to enforce its drinking age and age of consent laws outside of the country, not to mention enforcing the DMCA.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (5, Informative)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593173)

For example, according to Chapter 14 of Federal Regulations Part 47, all trustees of a plane registered in the US must be legal residents or citizens. Since this flight is rather unconventional, something like plane (or balloon + long tether) registration would be required. This isn't just a pilot's license.
Considering that corporations can't become legal residents (AFAIK, IANAL), whatever country they're incorporated in is where they register their planes. This, of course, assumes a certain universality of laws, but I'm sure the FAA and most other countries have laws in place to ensure that unregistered people don't go flying planes around, even in the middle of the ocean.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593065)

Fine, the FAA insists on having approval no matter where you go if you're a US citizen or company? Just incorporate a company outside US, and let it do the dirty work. Of course, you own it, but the people doing the actual work aren't subject to the FAA in any way, shape or form.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (1)

tyme (6621) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593093)

JediLow [slashdot.org] wrote:
Wouldn't it be best to launch from somewhere outside the United States - say from the equator? It just makes more sense to me if they used something like Sea Launch

to which qbwiz [slashdot.org] responded:
If you're a US citizen/company, you still need FAA approval, no matter where in the world you're launching from. No, I don't know why.

Well, I don't actually know why either, but I can guess: First, as with sea going vessels, every aircraft must be registered somewhere and international laws may require that aircraft be registered in the owners home nation (unlike sea going vessels, which, it appears, may be registered in any convenient nation). Second, If an aircraft, operating in international airspace, collides with some other aircraft, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, or, worse, killing several hundred people, who is held responsible? Nations have gone to war [wikipedia.org] over such things.

In order to avoid such messy circumstances there is probably some requirement that all aircraft operating in international airspace be registered with their home nation, so that the home nation can make appropriate notifications to other nations whose aircraft may be operating nearby or inform the aircraft's operator what airspace to avoid.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (4, Informative)

cwebster (100824) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593138)

You can register an aircraft anywhere, but you have do abide by the regs of the country in which it is registered. ie, flying an N registered aircraft still requires a properly qualified FAA certified pilot, regardless of where it is, and a C certified aircraft with a properly certified canadian pilot can fly into the us without an FAA cert, but he cant fly an N aircraft in the US or canada (though it is easy to get private privledges in another country, just a paperwork issue)

And nations do not inform other nations of aircraft movements, that is handled by Oceanic ATC or by the domestic ATC of whatever country you are overflying (assuming the airspace you are in is even controlled). As far as airspace to avoid, we have charts and notams to tell us that.

And to take your scenario with an aircraft collision, attatched to an aircraft registration number and serial number is a registration and airworthyness certificate. On this certificate is the name and address of the registered owner, and various governments keep databases of this information. Generally though the pilots are held responsible, and since they are often dead its pretty much a non-issue.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (1)

Kazuma-san (775820) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592929)

I agree concerning the final product. I suppose it doesn't matter for beta versions of the elevator. In fact it might be even better to build in in the US, since it will be more easy to get american money (federal and private) if it is build in the US.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592950)

My thoughts exactly. The space elevator will have to start from the equator and go up from there (or start at geosync and come down to the equator. USA has no land on the equator AFAIK,

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (1)

killkillkill (884238) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593038)

Quite alright. I'm sure there is a country or two along the equator that needs to be "liberated".

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593078)

If they attached a sat in geo orbit to some spot in the US, wouldn't that exert a force that might alter the rotation of the planet? Maybe they are building a doomsday weapon :)

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (5, Insightful)

spitefulcrow (713858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593188)

Uh, no? Geosynchronous/geostationary orbit means that the whole thing will rotate at the same speed as the point it's attached to. Besides, think about what you just said. Man-made structures are infinitesimal against the scale of an entire planet. I don't have numbers on it, but rest assured that even a big space station with a tether going all the way down to the surface of the planet would not have anything close to the mass needed to exert any real force against Earth's rotation.

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13592955)

I'm guessing they need to be tethered to a solid, stationary land mass (Sea Launch uses a floating oil drilling platform IIRC).

Re:Why bother with the FAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593023)

Plans I saw had in anchored on a movable floating platform. This allows the elevator to be moved to avoid potential "accidents."

Simple tests, not actual elevator (4, Informative)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592998)

According to the article, they just want to try out some climbers by letting them climb up and down a cable tethered to a mile-high balloon. They're not getting aproval to launch an actual space elevator. (You are correct though that a space elevator would optimally be tethered near the equator.)

Re:Simple tests, not actual elevator (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593075)

Optimally from a technical point of view. Definitely not from a political point of view.

Re:Simple tests, not actual elevator (1)

slonkak (648358) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593094)

Actually, I think this was talked about on here before. If be tethered, you mean anchored to the ground, I'm pretty sure you're wrong because the actual "thing" that would hold the space elevator in place are equal distances of carbon nanotubes (or whatever they decide to make it out of) inside the atmosphere and outside (in space). This will allow gravity to do it's thing and make the stress point at the center (where the earth's atmosphere meets space). This would also imply geosynchronous orbit... Of course, I am not an expert on any of this, but this is what I understand so far...

I for one... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13592869)

Welcome our heavly lifting space overlords by pressing all the buttons in the elevator before leaving.

Re:I for one... (5, Funny)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592956)

Why would there need to be more than one button? :-P

Re:I for one... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593083)

You actually need two: Up and Down.

Re:I for one... (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593181)

It only needs one button with two states. Press it and it lights up and starts the elevator going up. Press it again and it turns off and the elevator decends.

Obligatory Comments (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592870)

I'm just going to set the stage for any and all comments involving tensile strength of various materials.

Last time I checked we do have materials that can handle the stresses of hanging around from orbit.

At least thats what I remember from /.'s last article about super strength diamnond nano-tubes.
(or something like that)

Re:Obligatory Comments (4, Insightful)

Dest581 (915603) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592908)

But would we be able to hold miles of it together, without anything going wrong? That's the challenge.

That, and the money needed to build and maintain it.

Re:Obligatory Comments (1)

ZeroPost (792045) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592915)

How much do those materials cost, though?

We'll need an abundance of whatever material is necessary to build the structure of the space elevator.

Re:Obligatory Comments (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592939)

I personally think your trying to start a discussion rather than preemptivly stop one. Anyways I believe we don't have a strength yet, but I've heard talk of strength being enough to go half way, which is good enough for initial test. You could hover test tether from really high really big helicopter. Or given enough money you could hang it from orbit and have it reach halfway down... a much better test, and you would be testing the upper orbit effects which arn't as well known.

Re:Obligatory Comments (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593128)

Or given enough money you could hang it from orbit and have it reach halfway down...

That would have some...interesting side effects. Consider:
The Center of Gravity of the satelite will continue to move in the same orbit it always had. However, as you let the tether drop, the satelite will have to move up to balance the tether's mass. Then, if the tether gets low enough that there's noticable atmospheric drag, it won't be able to remain straight up and down. I'm not sure just how much that will affect the orbit, but it will slow it down, bringing the whole thing into a lower orbit. Probably not the best idea.

Re:Obligatory Comments (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592965)

What's the longest diamond nanotube that's been developed to date? A few microns, probably?

Re:Obligatory Comments (0)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593029)

Dunno how long the longest individual tube is, but they've certainly made long sheets [discovery.com] .

Re:Obligatory Comments (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593088)

These seem to be carbon nanotubes, not the same thing.

Re:Obligatory Comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593191)

Diamond is carbon, carbon is diamond, got that??

There's no such thing as diamond nano tube, the real name is carbon nano tube.

Re:Obligatory Comments (1)

Valcoramizer (812232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593044)

Last time I checked, we had no way of making enough to stretch out that far.

Re:Obligatory Comments (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593176)

Last time I checked we do have materials that can handle the stresses of hanging around from orbit. At least thats what I remember from /.'s last article about super strength diamnond nano-tubes.
You'll need a slightly more authorative source even if it was modded insightful.

Remember that you are really talking about a constuction similar to a railgun wrapped twice around the equator then stood on it's end - the extra length is due to having to have a counterweight to keep it up there, and the railgun is the linear motor idea to move things up. Climbers like the machines proposed in the article would cut the mass per unit length and the strength required, but we are still talking about getting in incredible amount of mass up to geostationary orbit by conventional means to build the thing before we can start using it.

It's a chicken and egg thing, one we get the materials we need to have a need to more vast amounts of mass into orbit and beyond before it is useful - and we won't really be seriously considering moving vast amounts of mass into orbit without something like this. It becomes more feasable if we can use some mass doesn't take so much fuel to get it there in the first place - hence the idea of having a great big rock as a counterweight.

Awesome (-1, Flamebait)

Dest581 (915603) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592871)

I've seen the space elevator idea shown in different magazines. I thought it was a crazy idea. But the more you think about it, the more it seems to make a bit of sense. It also would just be awesome. The biggest problems are keeping it together, and keeping it protected from harm, like accidently hitting it in a plane, or lightning strikes. It could become a terrorist target.

Re:Awesome (-1, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592922)

had to drop in that hysterical terrorist comment somewhere didn't we.

Re:Awesome (0, Flamebait)

KrancHammer (416371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592990)

Yeah, cause we all know terrorist strikes are a non-event.

Re:Awesome (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592953)

The plane thing always struck me as silly. Its like accidently hitting a very tall building. Sure it happends when the pilot is an absolute idiot. Either way this will most likly be very far away from everything with protected airspace. You'll get shot down before you get near this thing.

Re:Awesome (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592963)

Yo mamma so big, she's on the FBI potential target list.

Seriously, though ... wouldn't it be better if they had a single target to focus on? Less randomness that way. :)

Re:Awesome (1)

PFactor (135319) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592980)

You need to bone up on your Sci-Fi literature.

Re:Awesome (3, Funny)

standards (461431) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593036)

The biggest problems are keeping it together, and keeping it protected from harm, like accidently hitting it in a plane, or lightning strikes. It could become a terrorist target.

Whoa, it'll take years to build it. By then, we will have won the war on terror.

Re:Awesome (1)

(1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593087)

By then, we will have won the war on terror.
Do you mind if I probe you as to the seriousness of that comment: i.e., do you have a state of belief which corresponds therewith?

Here we go again.. (5, Insightful)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593040)

It could become a terrorist target.

Sigh, could you please shut up about terrorist threats? What makes a space elevator more a threat than a space shuttle, or a Golden Gate bridge? BTW: space shuttles are full of highly explosive fuels!

This is a good moment to ask yourself if you're not affected by propaganda too much..

Re:Here we go again.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593132)

Eh, maybe its height and stationaryness?

Of course, if this goes up there will likely be radar, AA and jets (or some combination thereof) ready to scramble if anyone is stupid enough to try and run a hijacked plane into it, and they'll have very heavy security around the facility. It won't be hit.

A Bit Premature (2, Insightful)

Azarael (896715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592874)

It's not like anyone is going to be building one any time soon. It would probably take years just to gather the raw materials.

A Space Elevator is like perpetual motion (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13592875)


great idea, all we need to do is invent the technology , im not holding my breath

perhaps the bookies should be taking bets

Fusion Power
Space Elevator
Perpetual Motion
Duke Nukem Forever
Microsoft Linux

Here's my bets (4, Funny)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592934)


I'd be betting the following anounts that it'll come to fruition within 100 years..

Fusion Power: $1000
Space Elevator: $10
Microsoft Linux: $3
Perpetual Motion: $2
Duke Nukem Forever: 1 cent

Re:A Space Elevator is like perpetual motion (2, Interesting)

Shishberg (819760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593001)

You forgot hovercars.

Space Elevator eh? (0)

Dunarie (672617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592881)

I got a bridge in New York to sell you too!

If an astronaut on a space elevator farts... (1, Funny)

IronChefMorimoto (691038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592884)

...and there's no one there to smell it, does it stink?

IronChefMorimoto

Re:If an astronaut on a space elevator farts... (1)

No Salvation (914727) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592936)

I don't know, but in space no one can hear you fart.

Re:If an astronaut on a space elevator farts... (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592968)

Interestingly, they'll probably be able to see you fart.
On earth, we watch out for yellow snow. In space, we watch out for the little wandering clouds of gas.

Even better, we may even be able to "aim" our farts. But worse, if it's recent, we'd be able to tell who did it:)

But..... (5, Funny)

Hydraulix (893404) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592888)

I hate to be the person that gets stuck on the 900,304,564,282,012,373 floor. :(

Re:But..... (3, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593123)

Will the "in case of fire please do not use the elevator, take the stairs" rule still apply? I think I'd just shoot myself rather then try to walk back down to Earth on a set of stairs (I don't have a very good head for heights).

So (2, Funny)

cxreg (44671) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592889)

When is Six Flags building one? And will the speedpass be valid for it?

Article text - server is getting slow. (0, Troll)

GET THE FACTS! (850779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592899)

The L i ftPort Group, the sp a ce elevator co m panies, a nnounced September 9 t hat it has r eceived a waiver fr o m the Federa l Aviation Administration (FAA) to use airspace to conduct pre l iminary tests of its high altitude robotic âoelifters.â

The lifters are early prototypes of the technology that the company is developing for use in its commercial space elevator to ferry cargo back and forth into space.

The tests, which are planned for early fall, will simulate a working space elevator by launching a model elevator âoeribbonâ attached to moored balloon initially up to a mile high. The robotic lifters will then be tested in their ability to climb up and down the free-hanging ribbon, marking the first-ever test of this technology in the development of the space elevator concept.

According to Michael Laine, president of the LiftPort Group in Bremerton, Washington, the FAA go-ahead is a âoecritical stepâ in the ultimate developing of the groupâ(TM)s LiftPort Space Elevator concept.

A Business Run by Beauraucrats.. (4, Funny)

lorelorn (869271) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592900)

We don't have a business plan,

We don't have any investors,

We don't have a product,

But we do have in-principle government approval!

Woooo!

Re:A Business Run by Beauraucrats.. (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593030)

Funny, but not relevant. They only need approval so they can get on with real-life testing of some of the technology.

Re:A Business Run by Beauraucrats.. (4, Insightful)

TinyManCan (580322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593165)

Why start investing in a project when you don't even know if you will legally be able to do it? Get approval first.

Thoughts on Space Elevators (5, Informative)

treebeard77 (68658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592909)

Thoughts on Space Elevators [mit.edu] by Blaise Gassend has a lot of good info & links on space elevators

oh the humanity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13592935)

"It burst into flames! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie! Get this, Charlie! It's fire and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my! Get out of the way, please! It's burning, bursting into flames and is falling on the mooring mast, and all the folks agree that this is terrible. This is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world! Oh, it's crashing...oh, four or five hundred feet into the sky, and it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. There's smoke, and there's flames, now, and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring mast...Oh, the humanity, and all the passengers screaming around here!"

Just my luck... (2, Funny)

xpeeblix (701114) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592941)

... I'd get in on the bottom floor and some kid would hit EVERY button.

Another sci-fi idea coming true? (4, Interesting)

aktzin (882293) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592943)

Maybe Sir Arthur will live to see parts of "The fountains of paradise" coming true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountains_of_Paradise [wikipedia.org]

Re:Another sci-fi idea coming true? (1)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593026)

A nice anecdote about Clarke and Fountains of Paradies:

after being asked by a reporter about when he thinks the Space Elevator will actually be built, he replied: "20 years after everybody stopped laughing about it".

To me, it looks like people HAVE stopped laughing.

Not the first test of the technology, actually (5, Informative)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592973)

FTA:

marking the first-ever test of this technology in the development of the space elevator concept.

It may be the first test of the technology that actually requires a federal permit because of the altitude, but here [liftport.com] are pictures and a video of an earlier test in November 2004.

Tower of Babel (4, Interesting)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 8 years ago | (#13592982)

When I read about those space elevators, I somehow always have to think about the Tower of Babel [wikipedia.org] (and I'm not even religious) :

From Gen 11:1-9

1. Now the entire earth was of one language and uniform words.
2. And it came to pass when they traveled from the east, that they found a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there.
3. And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and fire them thoroughly"; so the bricks were to them for stones, and the clay was to them for mortar.
4. And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make ourselves a name, lest we be scattered upon the face of the entire earth."
5. And the Lord descended to see the city and the tower that the sons of man had built.
6. And the Lord said, "Lo! [they are] one people, and they all have one language, and this is what they have commenced to do. Now, will it not be withheld from them, all that they have planned to do?
7. Come, let us descend and confuse their language, so that one will not understand the language of his companion."
8. And the Lord scattered them from there upon the face of the entire earth, and they ceased building the city.
9. Therefore, He named it Babel, for there the Lord confused the language of the entire earth, and from there the Lord scattered them upon the face of the entire earth.

So let's hope Liftport Group has their translators ready ;)

Re:Tower of Babel (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593053)

Yeah.. the Lord can be like that kid that comes along and knocks your block tower down. Jerk.

Re:Tower of Babel (4, Funny)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593081)

This just in: Dayton, TN has ruled that no dictionary showing the developmental history of words may be used in its schools, as this violates biblical doctrine that God caused all languages to spring into being at once.

Re:Tower of Babel (1)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593105)

One thing I've never quite understood is the supposed motivation for God's decision to frustrate these early skyscraper builders. It hardly seems like much of a sin to me, though by Old Testament standards, being scattered across the Earth and being made to speak a different language seems to be getting off easy. Any /. Xians want to have a crack at answering?

Re:Tower of Babel (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593182)

The tower was used to worship other gods namely Pegan ones which is why he was angry.

Re:Tower of Babel (4, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593147)

Son of a bitch! What sort of asshole would do something that like? "Oh look, there's some people acting peacefully in a joint operation. Well I better fix their little red wagon! Haha! They'll surely worship me after this."

If there is a Christian god, he is a DICK! The only person whose more of a dick then him, is superman. [superdickery.com]

Gives new meaning to... (0)

C-Diddy (755183) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593008)

"Beam me up!"

How 'bout it, science? (0, Troll)

sdkaneda (798299) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593009)

Great. Turn the allure of orbital travel into a 200km ride in a claustrophobic box with 17 people, sandwiched against some dude with balls-to-the-walls BO with a tinny rendition of "Girl from Ipanema" playing in the background. Where do I sign up?

My advice to you is to blast off into space NOW, before the glamour of it is all but a memory.

Re:How 'bout it, science? (1)

CatherineOmega (863951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593057)

Isn't that what space travel is actually like?

Hmm (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593054)

Does anyone here feel like a young Frank Poole? 3001 [wikipedia.org]

It'll be dangerous... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593077)

and he'll be in trouble when the oil hits his anus

About linking to sources... (5, Informative)

irrision (536964) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593099)

Does anyone else think that perhaps this article should be linked to the actual source instead of a link to a link that links to another site with a quote from the original source and no link to it? I mean at what point does this become a rumor when it's so far from the original source? Oh here's the link to the companies website: http://www.liftport.com/ [liftport.com] And here's one to their staff blog which is much more interesting reading then this quote: http://www.liftport.com/progress/wp/ [liftport.com] And heres a link to their september newsletter posted on their forums that talks about the FAA approval among other things: http://www.liftport.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25 3 [liftport.com]

I for one can't wait... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13593110)

...to base jump off of this.

Fun with elevators (-1, Redundant)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593151)

Just wait until some punk kid jumps in, pushes all of the buttons then jumps back out again.

In other news, Lovers' Lane adult shops introduces the first sub-orbital all glass elevator for those interested in joining the mile high club, the two mile high club, the three mile high club... pilots of 747s and SR-71s have started to fight over who gets to navigate into the general area.

Hooray! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593156)

The first civilization to build one gets a free orbiting city and pollution free launches to orbit. Why not build one on the site of Old New Orleans and name the free city we get New New Orleans?

I approve it too! (0)

Elad Alon (835764) | more than 8 years ago | (#13593164)

Let it be known I also approve the space elevator. In fact, I was the first. Let me go down in history as the first man to rubber-stamp this project.
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