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SPACE ELEVATORS: Getting a little traction? This story seems to suggest so.

Seattle-based HighLift Systems is hosting a conference this week to meet with investors and other parties potentially interested in a device that could open the final frontier to the masses within 15 years because of the space elevator’s relatively low costs and extremely high traffic volume.

Yes, well, a startup is nice and all, but can they pull it off? It’s not like they’re trying an incremental approach, starting small and building up their capabilities as the market grows. As Rand Simberg has noted with the late X-33 project, one takes a huge risk by taking on a project which depends on several immature technologies that have to all work right the very first time.

And as I’ve said before, anyone who has read Red Mars would have to be insane to support the construction of a space elevator at at time when there are terrorists running around who would find it an irresistable (and, unfortunatey, apocalyptic) target.

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