According to Space.com, Canadian-based space company Thoth Technology Inc. has obtained a patent for an inflatable space elevator. The idea is to bring equipment and astronauts 20 kilometers above the earth's surface, from which "space planes will launch in a single stage to orbit".
[...] Reaching 20 km above the planet, it would stand more than 20 times the height of current tall structures and be used for wind-energy generation, communications and tourism.
The technology offers an exciting new way to access space using completely reusable hardware and saving more than 30% of the fuel of a conventional rocket.
“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, returning to the top of the tower for refueling and reflight,” said Dr. Brendan Quine, the inventor.
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