The idea of a space elevator has also been known as a space bridge, and this idea is geared to dramatically decrease the cost of lifting weight to space. Some have also called it a geosynchronous orbital tether or a beanstalk (in reference to the English fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk). It is one kind of skyhook.
Having a space elevator here, on Earth, would permit the sending of objects to space at a cost 1/10th of what is currently paid per pound. While there would be great savings, and a great increase of traffic, the undertaking itself to build this would be very costly and time consuming. The cable of this elevator would have to be constructed of materials that can endure tremendous stree and strain and still be light-weight and manufacturable. There are several engineering leaps to achieve this goal, but they do look to be attainable within this century.
In recently unveiled long-term plans, ATOE has suggested trapping a passing asteroid into a geosynchronous orbit and constructing a cable for a space-elevator to the surface of Earth. Current plans suggest trapping an asteroid that will be passing between the orbit of the Earth and Moon in 2029, and having the elevator up and functional by 2040. While this audacious plan seems unattainable at this time, ATOE scientists suggest it will be attainable when the time comes to trap the asteroid about 20 years from now.
See Also: Bradford Edouard