Most interested in effects during the first <75 years.

Things to consider:

  • What type of organization is building the space elevator?
  • How is the service sold/rented?
  • What is its maintenance/security like?
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The complete effect of building (and destroying) a space elevator are addressed (for a colony, in this case Mars) by Kim Stanley Robinson in Red Mars. $\endgroup$
    – Envite
    Dec 2, 2014 at 9:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Envite Didn't he way overestimate the damage done by a falling elevator? Wouldn't it have been pretty much entirely burned up on reentry? Wait, sorry. I'm thinking of Ben Bova's "Mercury", and a elevator being taken down on Earth. $\endgroup$ Aug 22, 2022 at 19:27

3 Answers 3


This reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke's "Report on Planet Three" essay.

Space Elevator charges are per pound lifted - calculations based on electricity consumed

Space Elevator debarking (and charges) depends on whether you want to go into low earth orbit or geostationary.

Advantages of Having a Space Elevator:

  1. Easier to transport materials to build Space Hospitals

    Benefits of Space Hospitals

  2. Easier to transport materials for assembling and deploying satellites (low orbit or geostationary).

  3. Near space exploration (the moon) would be easier since you would not have to worry about rockets to escape earth gravity. Just transport materials needed to assemble ships in orbit. With a space elevator a Space dock becomes a definite possibility.

  4. Transport materials for Space Factories. Space manufacturing Typically this includes conditions of microgravity and hard vacuum. Manufacturing in space has several potential advantages over Earth-based industry.

Excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on Space Manufacturing:

The unique environment can allow for industrial processes that cannot be readily reproduced on Earth.

Raw materials could be lifted to orbit from other bodies within the solar system and processed at a low expense compared to the cost of lifting materials into orbit from Earth.
Potentially hazardous processes can be performed in space with minimal risk to the environment of the Earth or other planets.
Items too large to launch on a rocket can be assembled in orbit for use in orbit.

  1. Easier to transport materials for building Space Hotels (which would take the form of a torus)

    Why would anyone want to go to a space Hotel:

    • outer ring of Space Hotel to provide centrifugal gravity. Fine dining is always done in gravity. Tourists will not appreciate sucking steak out of a tube, same for fine wine. What's the point of having a great view if that piece of lobster is floating in front of your nose.
    • Inner rings will provide lower gravity (space hotel now has multi-gravity sections)

    • breathtaking views of earth

    • a chance to do actual flying in zero-g (helmets, elbow and knee pads mandatory - 150 pounds of mass hitting a wall = lawsuit)

    • zero-g movement training will be mandatory before entering micro-gravity or zero-g areas (free of course, that expensive hotel rate covers zero-g training). Also you have to unlearn some of your earth movement instincts

    (excerpt) "Beware losing your orientation, however. If your instincts take over, your brain starts telling you, 'You're falling, reach out and catch yourself.' Your arms and legs flail until you regain rational control and convince your brain you are okay.

    • how about a zero-g pool a big floating ball of water with a bubble of air right smack in the middle (i still think Arthur Clarke thought of it first)

Image of how a zero-g pool might look

Link for the pool, which also contains economic, safety, health, law considerations for space tourism.

Link for What the Growth of a Space Tourism Industry Could Contribute to Employment, Economic Growth, Environmental Protection, Education, Culture and World Peace (rocket propulsion from earth to orbit is assumed - but you can concentrate on the effects and amend to suit your requirements)

Space hotels will also provide real scenario examples for security and safety concerns

  • can guest inadvertently by accident gain access to restricted areas.

  • how do untrained space tourists react to fires

  • is it advisable for space tourists to get (space) insurance

  • $\begingroup$ added some edits $\endgroup$
    – tls
    Dec 2, 2014 at 4:25
  • $\begingroup$ It needs a lot more edits to be legible. I started but gave up. You have duplicate texts, unfinished sentences, missing capitals, inconsequent indentations, etc which makes your answer hard to read. $\endgroup$
    – user3106
    Dec 2, 2014 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ I'd mark this as the answer if you formatted it a bit more nicely $\endgroup$
    – Matt Voda
    Dec 2, 2014 at 12:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Matt Voda Welcome :) I'm only writing what I remember from Arthur C. Clarke's book "Report on Planet 3". It has a lot more essays on the exploration and benefits of near-Earth exploration. Insightful book, highly recommended if you can get a copy of it. $\endgroup$
    – tls
    Dec 2, 2014 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ People would regularly drown in the zero-g "bubble" in the center of the described pool! $\endgroup$
    – shannon
    Jan 25, 2016 at 5:20

In a world that contains enemies of civilization, just one space elevator is not practical. Shortly after the first space elevator goes into service, it would be used to build other space elevators. This would allow the defense of each space elevator to be much like defense of an ordinary skyscraper, military base, AWACS aircraft, or other high-value target -- practical measures could be taken in the vicinity (or region) of the elevator, backed by credible threats of retaliation.

The credible threats of retaliation might include bombardment using kinetic energy weapons (that were deployed using space elevators).

Space elevators would greatly increase the value of land precisely on the equator, especially if a space tramline were built around the world, slightly beyond geosynchronous orbit.

Many of the bases of the space elevators would probably have low-tax regimes, and thriving immigrant-based economies, much like Hong Kong or Singapore.

See also:

  • Economic and geopolitical effects of space solar power.
  • Economic and geopolitical effects of lunar mining.
  • Geopolitical effects of kinetic energy weapons.
  • Economic and geopolitical effects of asteroid mining.

Kurzgesagt says a space elevator on the moon help establish moon as a hub for economic development.


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