A technology company in Canada has filed papers with the US patents office for a massive, inflatable space elevator. The company recieved the patent for their 20km (12.4 mile) tall tower from the patents office in late August.
The Thoth elevator, coming from Thoth Technologies, would be a series of inflatable sections held rigid by gas. It would allow the tower to be raised and lowered. Engineers also designed the superstructure to use its weight to help counterbalance the effects of things like wind and the Earth’s rotation. A large platform sits atop the tower with a landing strip. Their goal is to enable SSTO planes, or Single Stage To Orbit, easy access to space. Because 20km is well above most of Earth’s heavier atmospheres, the firm estimates their design will reduce the cost of space travel by 30% per flight. And, because re-entry is reduced, spaceflight would become more like commercial flights, claims Thoth. Hold off on your space tickets, however, since the Thoth Tower design is still little more than theory at this point. There is hopes for a prototype though, sometime soon.
Not long before we see these designs in Kerbal Space Program.