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 Early Space Elevators make good Wi-Fi Masts

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Date posted: 27/09/2006

A sixty-day field test of a balloon-tethered space elevator precursor suggests these constructs make great Wi-Fi towers.

LiftPort Group, based in Bremerton, Washington, US, stretched a cable one mile (1.6 kilometres) into the air in Arizona, US, in January 2006 using a cluster of three balloons and held it for six hours.

The latest attempt is a lot shorter ? just 100 metres ? but has been held in place for two months. The test was designed to see what kinds of problems would crop up if such a platform were used to transmit Wi-Fi signals. The lofty platforms would be especially useful for providing Wi-Fi coverage to rural areas, says company president Michael Laine.

Overall, he says, the test went well, but there were several unexpected encounters with wildlife. More than a dozen insect egg colonies had been laid on the tether, and in the first few days of the test, curious bats flew around the balloons, apparently attracted by the sound made by the tether's vibrations. Late in the test, swallows were also seen swooping down on the balloons, possibly to sip the morning dew on their surfaces.

See the full Story via external site: www.newscientistspace.com



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