Space Elevator History Book Now Published!
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ISEC Space Elevator History Cover page graphic


After several years of intense work by many people, ISEC is proud to announce the publication of "Space Elevators - A History"!



The vision of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is to have a world with inexpensive, safe, routine, and efficient access to space for the benefit of all mankind. As its name suggests, one of the principle elements of the ISEC action plan is to promote the development, construction and operation of a space elevator infrastructure as a revolutionary and efficacious way of getting into space.

ISEC is made up of organizations and individuals from around the world who share this vision of mankind in space. In their desire to record the progress of space elevator thinking over time, a number of these individuals formed the ISEC History Committee under the chairmanship of Dr Peter Swan. Their ideas and discussions have culminated into two main activities: one, oral interviews with major players, past and present, in space elevator research and development; and two, this book which attempts to document the history of the space elevator concept. The initial idea for the book emanated from Nicholas Martin in May 2014 who proposed many of the chapters and topics to be covered and these were then augmented by others in the History Committee.

Under the general editorship of Dr David Raitt, the work is a combined effort of several individuals including Dr Peter Swan (5, 6, 7, 9, 10, B), Dr David Raitt (all), Mark Dodrill (5, C), Nicholas Martin (1, 2), Evan Smith (4), and Ted Semon (7). The numbers and letters in parentheses after the names indicate the chapters and appendices for which they were largely responsible or a significant contributor.

The book is laid out in chapters close to chronological. The major topics are separated out such that the reader can look at the history is stages. This means that there is some degree of overlap between the chapters, which are thus largely self-standing. The three phases of the space elevator fall into the following categories (with chapters identified for clarification): Dreamers and Creators (Chapters 1 and 2); Modern Era Initiation (Chapters 4-8); and the Move towards Development (Chapters 9 and 10). These chapters are briefly outlined in the Introduction. The book is completed with a number of Appendices covering brief contributor biographies, a space elevator chronology, and selected summaries from the oral interview transcripts. [Additional transcript summaries, as well as a bibliography of references to space elevators, can be found on the ISEC website (]

History is, of course, usually considered ‘old’, but, in fact, history is really anything before today! Hence a number of rather more recent developments, publications and events are included in the various chapters in the book. Although parts of the text herein were contributed by some who were not so involved in the formative years of the space elevator, efforts have been made to expand the material in an attempt to make it as complete and accurate as possible. This book should be considered as essentially a first edition and it is anticipated to bring out further updated issues as additional material becomes available, information is augmented or corrected, and more people are forthcoming with their own involvement in the concept of space elevators which will add to this book’s historical richness. Please send insights and input to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

David Raitt 1 March 2017 

Click Space Elevator - A History to download your FREE copy!

If you would like to purchase a printed copy of the book click Space Elevator - A History

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ISEC Study Reports

Direct links to all ISEC generated Study Reports can be found below.

More detailed page is: ISEC Space Elevator Reports for Download

Space Elevator Status as of Summer 2016

2016 - Design Considerations for the Space Elevator: GEO Node, Apex Anchor and a Communications Architecture

This report will be available from the ISEC web site, ISEC store, or directly from the publisher, [after publication in March 2017].

2015 ISEC Space Elevator Earth Port

2014 ISEC Space Elevator Architecture and Roadmap

2013 ISEC Design Considerations for Space Elevator Tether Climbers

2012 ISEC Space Elevator Concept of Operations

2010 ISEC Space Debris Final Report

Space Elevator - A History

CLIMB - The Space Elevator Journal

Download .pdf copies of the CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal:









Via Ad Astra Magazine

Download .pdf copies of the Via Ad Astra magazine:









2017 ISEC Space Elevator Conference, Seattle, WA, August 25-27, 2017 at the Museum of Flight

Space Elevator Research

There is a lot of activity in Space Elevator Research:

Space Elevator Publications List

Space Elevator Research Workshop

ISEC Research Committee

Updated Space Elevator Publications on!

 Studies: Chair – Dennis Wright 

 2010    Space Debris: Skip Penny, Peter Swan, Cathy Swan

 2011    Search for 30 MYuri:  Bryan Laubscher

 2012    Ops Concept: Skip Penny, Peter Swan, Cathy Swan

 2013    Tether Climbers:  Peter Swan, Skip Penny, Peter Glaskowsky, John Knapman, Cathy Swan

 2014    Architectures:  Fitzer Fitzgerald, Skip Penny, Cathy Swan, Peter Swan

 2015    Earth Port:     Vern Hall, Skip Penny, Sandee Schaeffer, Peter Glaskowsky

 2016    GEO/AA/Comm’s:     Paul Phister, Fitzer Fitzgerald, Vern Hall, Skip Penny, Peter Swan, Peter Glaskowsky, Ron Cole, David Ackerman, Chris Malek

 2017    Design Considerations for Space Elevator Simulation


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"The ISEC promotes the development, construction and operation of a Space Elevator (SE) Infrastructure as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity."

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