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Glossary of Space Elevator Related Terms

Anchoring Body: The primary (largest mass) planet, moon or planetoid to which the SE is anchored.

Ascend or Up / Descend or down: To move towards synchronous orbit, or away from it, respectively. Distinct from "In" and "Out", which refer to the anchoring body.

Cable: General historic term discussing the physical line connecting Earth and counterweight on a space elevator. In the current design the cable is referred to as a ribbon due to its dimensions.

Carbon nanotubes:

Climber: The vehicle that ascends the ribbon or cable on a space elevator



Dynamics: How the cable in a space elevator moves due to the forces acting on it.

GEO station:

Lifter: obsolete-see climber

Orbital Debris:

Oscillations: Out / In: Out is the direction away from the base planet or body. In is towards it. These are independent of synchronous orbit, which is the destination for "up" and "down".

Power beaming:

Space Bridge: Synonym for Space Elevator.

SE: Abbreviation for Space Elevator

Ribbon: The main structural element of an SE. May be flat, round or of varying shape in fact, but a curved ribbon is expected.

Rollers: Part of a climber that contacts the Ribbon

Taper: SEs may well be tapered, either to minimize ribbon mass or to allow growth. A "Normal" taper is one where the ribbon has less linear mass density (is "thinner") near the anchoring body (to minimize mass). A "Reverse" taper is one where the ribbon is "thicker" near the anchoring body.

Taper ratio:


Vertical Railroad: