Ideas for radically new ways to reach Space

Ideas for radically new ways to reach Space

Weak Signal's progress: fully-fledged

This Weak Signal came from: 
European Commission Framework Programme for RTD

The theme/scheme related to this Weak Signal: 
Theme 9 - Space

The sub-theme that best relates to this Weak Signal: 
Space technologies

When did the Weak Signal manifest ? 
before 2000

Weak Signal's description 
Several innovative ideas published over the years point to potential alternatives to conventional space propulsion and may revolutionise space travel (e.g. by using much less energy). A well-known (but hard to realise) concept (inspired partly by Science Fiction) is the "Space Elevator", which may become feasible thanks to carbon-nanotubes cables. As a potentially more practical alternative, a recent scientific paper proposed a giant inflatable tower that could carry people to the edge of space without the need for a rocket, and could be completed much sooner than a cable-based space elevator. What makes this Weak Signal interesting? It reveals technological and/or scientific anomalies; It reveals economic anomalies