Don't Get Your Hopes up Yet - Tower is Still Several Years Away from Construction
Canadian space and defense company Thoth Technology announced it has secured a US patent for a 12-mile-tall tower. The freestanding tower would be comprised of inflated sections held rigid by pressurized gas and would stand 20 times higher than Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the world's current tallest building.
"Astronauts would ascend to 20 km by electrical elevator," inventor Brendan Quine explained in a media release. "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."
The company believes the elevator could save more than 30 percent of the fuel used to power a conventional rocket, thereby making "space flight more like taking a passenger jet," according to Thoth CEO Caroline Roberts.
A short runway sits atop the tower, allowing for takeoff and landings.
"Landing on a barge at sea level is a great demonstration, but landing at 12 miles above sea level will make space flight more like taking a passenger jet," said Thoth President and CEO Caroline Roberts in a news release.
In addition to its aeronautic uses, the tower will harvest wind energy and could have potential applications as a tourist destination.