A new article has appeared in Acta Astronautica entitled "Design concepts for the first 40 km a key step for the space elevator". This article deals with possible solutions to one of the thornier problems in space elevator design, and that's how to deal with the system inside earth's atmosphere. While in some ways the atmosphere is more benign than space, in other ways it is much more problematic and solutions specific to this environment will have to be designed and adopted to deal with it.
The abstract begins:
"The Marine Node for the Space Elevator Infrastructure is the base for all activities to load and unload the cargo and climbers. As the basic design of the space elevator power system is solar power only, the first 40 km is hazardous to operations and demands enclosed packaging of fragile tether climbers. A significant question is: how do we place a full-up tether climber, driven by solar power, above the atmosphere? Two approaches, starting at the Marine Node, allow the tether climber to initiate the climb with solar energy above the atmosphere. The third viable approach is to provide a platform at altitude for initiation of tether climb..."
The authors are Dr. John Knapman and Dr. Peter Swan. Dr. Knapman is a member of the Board of Directors of ISEC (and the head of the ISEC Research Committee) while Dr. Swan is the President and also a Board Member with ISEC.