The Orbital Elevator is a proposed structure designed to transport material from a celestial body's surface into space. In the Gundam series, the Orbital Elevator only appears in the Anno Domini timeline setting. It provides transportation from Earth to space and vice versa and also transports solar energy to the planet's surface to power the entire world, earning it the nickname "Solar Elevator".
Orbital Elevator System
Necessitated under high-level energy consumption as a renewable alternative to the dwindling fossil fuel supplies, the Orbital Elevator System (軌道エレベーター Kidō Erebeitaa?), shortened as Oribital EV (軌道EV Kidō EV?), is a megastructure originally planned by Aeolia Schenberg in 2090 to function in the combined capacity of a space elevator and a solar power satellite. It is comprised of two geostationary rings, equidistantly supported at 10 and 40 thousand kilometers above the equator by three 50-thousand-kilometer-high compressive elevator towers that end in ballast satellites. The top ring is lined with a photovoltaic array, while the towers carry the energy it supplies to the surface. The solar energy system can also transmit power wireless to mobile units via microwave transmissions, a feature taken advantage of by the AEU Enact series. The entirety of the construct is shielded from meteoroids, space debris, corrosion, weathering, geomagnetic storms, radiation (from the Van Allen belt or otherwise), and assorted other deteriorative agents through a physical energy barrier. It is defended by the collective military forces of the nations involved in its function.
Presently used for civilian space tourism, the Elevators also act as a stepping stone to the ongoing international pursuit of space colonization. The progress upon this endeavor is unspecified, and currently, the only colonies known to exist are Celestial Being's Krung Thep, Human Reform League's Quanqiu as well as a few unspecified colonies with little-known details.
The three dominant national super powers responsible for the system's construction and operation - the Union, the Human Reform League and the AEU - have presently imposed a global boycott of fossil fuels to better monopolize the energy distribution market.
The orbital elevator controlled by the Union (ユニオン軌道エレベーター Union Kidou Erebeitaa?) is situated near the border of the modern-day states of Brazil and Colombia within the Amazon Basin. It was the first of the elevators to become operational, completed in 2297.
Tenchū (天柱, lit. Pillar of Heaven?), the orbital elevator controlled by the Human Reform League, is situated on an artificial island near the real-life nation of Nauru, north of the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It was the second of the elevators to become operational, completed in 2297.
The orbital elevator, also known as La Tour, controlled by the Advanced European Union (AEU軌道エレベーター AEU Kidou Erebeitaa?) is situated west of Lake Victoria, near the border of the real-life African states of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As of 2307, it is incomplete but is completed somewhere in between 2308 and 2312. In 2312, it is taken over by Federation coup forces. The elevator is damaged by a glancing hit from a second Memento Mori superweapon, causing the elevator to initiate the outer wall auto-purge program in order to keep the elevator remains upright and balanced, killing evacuating civilians and endangering the city at the base of the tower. Only by the combined
efforts of Celestial Being, Katharon, Federation coup forces, Federation regular army and Kati Mannequin's A-Laws force shooting down the falling debris was the city saved. After the incident, the tower was still connected to outer space, although most of its outer wall had been purged and fallen to Earth. Four months later, the electrical system was restored while the linear trains system was still incomplete as seen during the re-opening ceremony.
Assuming that all Orbital Elevators have the same construction we can conclude the several aspects of the construction via instances within the Series that refer to the HRL controlled Orbital Elevator 'Tenchu'
- Orbiting satellite station - Built into the Orbital elevator probably headquarters for military operations for defensive purposes and general maintenance.
- Low Orbit Station (True Pillar) - Used for commercial, possibly residential and tourism purposes. Stopping station for civilian linear trains. Includes gravity blocks.
- High Orbit Station - Built into the Orbital elevator used for military purposes, probably used as a military personnel station and MS hangar. There is also a control room allowing the soldiers and the commanders to watch space operations.