A new document has been posted on this website summarizing the major architectural designs of the space elevator which have been proposed over the years. From the introduction:
Space Elevator Architectures have matured since their introduction in the last decade of the 19th century, shown in the 20th century with science fiction expanding many concepts, and finally with modern day designs during the first two decades of the 21st century...
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian rocket scientist, pioneered astronautics’ theory in general and specifically conceptualized a building growing to GEO orbit, in 1895 [Tsiolkovski, 1959]. This particular concept focused on aspects of the Geosynchronous orbit. This led to a series of five space elevator architectures over the last 75 years. The first two were significant leaps in understanding, while the last three have lead to the current breadth of concepts:
- In 1960, Yuri Artsutanov presented a real approach visualizing how it could be achieved – a big leap from Tsiolkovsky’s concept.
- Then, in 1974, Jerome Pearson resolved many issues with engineering calculations of the required tether strengths and various approaches for deployment. This was, once again, a leap beyond Tsiolkovsky’s work and set the stage for the “modern design” for space elevators.
- Dr. Edwards established the current baseline for designing space elevator infrastructures at the turn of the century with his book: “Space Elevators” [Edwards, 2002]. He established that the engineering could be accomplished in a reasonable time with reasonable resources. His baseline is solid; and, it was leveraged for the next two refinements of this transportation infrastructure concept.
- The International Academy of Astronautics used Dr. Edwards’ design and the intervening ten years of excellent development work from around the globe. Forty-‐one authors combined to improve the concept and establish new approaches, expanding the Edwards’ baseline.
- The most recent version of space elevator architectures is the recently released view by the Obayashi Corporation. Their set of assumptions of the study established stricter requirements and resulted in a longer developmental period with increased payload capacity.
This document can be found Space Elevator Architectures Report.