Thoth Technology devised a tower design using pressurized segments that reach up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) into the stratosphere where a platform could be constructed for purposes of communications, tourism or as a launch platform for reaching space.
The most challenging aspect of the space elevator concept is creating a strong, reliable elevator cable 12 miles long. In fact, it's the focus of a space elevator conference taking place later this month.
The idea is that astronauts would ascend to 20 km by electrical elevator. From the top of the tower space planes will launch in a single stage to orbit and return to refuel.
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