Let me explain what I mean by space port. I'm playing with the idea that mankind has finally built the space elevator. After the first space elevator was built, the other space elevators were far more easily created.
My idea was that the airport still exists, but the idea was extended to be a spaceport. By that I mean that a space elevator is installed at the airports, and, as an alternative means of transport, one can climb into a sort of terminal floating in space. From there, you board a specifally designed plane to mostly to take you to another terminal floating above another airport (aka spaceport) somewhere else in the world.
Advantages of doing so include:
- You're in space, so there is little to no air friction. It means you can accelerate and require very little fuel to sustain yourself.
- The planes are maintained and, aside from extraordinary circumstances, are left in orbit above the planet earth, requiring little additional maintenance costs.
- Solar energy can be more quickly gathered, reducing the amount of actual fuel even further.
- You can conceivably go very fast and still have it be economically viable because, again, you're in space.
Disadvantages that I've thought of:
- Space debris. Though I think I can explain this away that probes were launched in the year 2085 which have slowly, but steadily matched the orbits of space debris and sent them to earth to burn up, ultimately causing near elimination of space debris by the year 2096.
- Climbing to the height might be time-consuming in of itself.
Is there anything I'm not considering? It is clearly not economically viable today, but assuming space elevators exist, and assuming technology improves, could this ever be eventually economically viable? Would there be other possible changes in the culture resulting from the existence of such a form of travel that I'm not considering?
Again, consider that this isn't supposed to replace planes, as it would almost certainly be cheaper to fly by plane. People would be willing to pay more for a potentially faster, turbulent-free, ride where they can see the stars out their window and the earth down below. By economically viable, I mean that the cost of a ticket traveling from spaceport to spaceport couldn't cost much more than twice the cost of a first class ticket for the same distance.