This unique project has been in development for years.
The idea of constructing an elevator that will be used in space was first introduced by Dutch scientists. European Space Agency (ESA) commissioned Samara's Space University to construct an apparatus that will be capable of carrying various products from the International Space Station back to earth. Nowadays, Russian scientists from the town of Samara are already finishing up their work. The experiment, introduced by the Dutch, has already sparked up interests of politicians and authorities.
The main principle of this freight elevator is rather simple. A capsule loaded with cargo will be lowered to earth by means of a special sturdy 30 km long cable. Despite its large parameters, the cable will weigh no more than 6 kilograms. Upon entering dense layers of atmosphere, the cable will burn and the cargo will continue its trip to earth by means of an air balloon (2 meters in diameter).
Nowadays, it takes a long time for various scientific data to reach earth. The space elevator will solve this problem. Russian scientists from the town of Samara plan to finish their work by October of 2004. First tests are scheduled for the end of the year. The experiment will take place at the base of “Foton” spaceship. Project director Michael Krauf is sure in the project's success.
At this point the project cannot be called economically sound. However, once all nuances are worked out, its profits are expected to be tremendous. It is also expected that such space elevators will be used to examine other planets.