New Scientist is reporting that the LiftPort Group, a private US company, has launched a Balloon suspended ribbon one mile long to test it’s latest in both ribbon and robotic technology.
LiftPort is trying to reach the goal of having a fully operational Space elevator in 2018. With this first iteration of the technology they are one small but vital step closer to that goal.
While the cable that they are currently using is not made from the holy grail of a carbon nanotube based material. Their layered carbon fibre ribbon is about the thickness of 6 pieces of paper and once suspended it is extremely ridged.
the climbing robots had difficulty reaching 1 mile up however, the reason is still under investigation by the company.
The group wants to create and test a 2 mile tether sometime this spring.