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WATCH: He’s designing a stairway to heaven, could this uni student bring cheap space travel to our doorsteps?

11:42 09 February 2017

Thames Estuary looking towards Kent

Thames Estuary looking towards Kent

Archant

Could a space elevator be headed for the Thames?

The final frontier could be a little closer than we imagine, if the designs of one architecture student come true.

Tom Phillips at the University of Greenwich has created an animated video exploring the idea of a ‘space elevator’ in the Thames Estuary.

“The elevator, which he compared to a ‘stairway to heaven’ would be constructed from carbon nanotubes, which are like rope but stronger than diamond.

“From the geostationary orbit platform 36,000km above Earth, a simple push in zero gravity will get you to outer space.

“This kind of propulsion would save billions as so much of the money spent on space exploration goes on getting the astronauts off the planet.”

“The exploration, colonisation and tourism of space will become real and this excites me beyond relief.”

The Thames Estuary, defined as where the river Thames meets with the waters of the North Sea, has had its share of proposals in the past.

Current foreign secretary Boris Johnson had previously proposed an airport be built in the estuary while he was mayor of London, plans that were dismissed by the Airports Commission, and Highways England has suggested a bored tunnel crosses the river from Gravesend to Essex.

After months of hard work, the Woolwich resident has drawn attention from private companies who are keen to develop the project further.

Mr Phillips, who is on the verge of becoming a fully-qualified architect, thinks his dreams of space could become a reality.

He said: “I hope to see funding from a private party in the next ten years and for construction to begin within 20 to 25 years. I’ve been fascinated by space ever since I can remember. I know some people find it daunting but I think, let’s get out there!”

This is the second space proposal to hit the south east this year, following suggestions for a former airport to be used as a launch pad.

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