Space elevator firm fails to take off

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Space elevator firm fails to take off

USA - The first company to try to make a business from space elevators looks to be in financial trouble.

The LiftPort Group has been in operation since 2003 with the goal of building the first working space elevator by 2018. 

A space elevator would be a link from a tower on Earth to a geosynchronous satellite to enable payloads to be sent into space for a fraction of the cost of a rocket launch.

But the business plan for the company seems to be falling to Earth. Founder Michael Laine has said that he cannot expect anyone else to invest in the company and has money to last only until September.

In addition, an action by the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, Division of Securities has forbidden the company from accepting more investors and accused it of mis-selling stock.

"On April 18 2007 the Securities Division entered a Statement of Charges and Notice of Intent to Enter an Order to Cease and Desist, Impose Fines and Charge Costs against Liftport Inc, dba Liftport Group, and Michael Laine," the filing reads.

"The Statement of Charges alleges that Respondents raised at least $117,000 from at least 85 investors, nine of whom are Washington residents, by offering and selling unregistered securities in Liftport, Inc, a company formed for the purpose of developing a space elevator."

The company has had some successes in the past, including building a one-mile carbon fibre cable.

Laine is now going to use that technology in a new company called Tethered Towers that will sell quick and easy-to-deploy radio systems using the cable.

But even with the new company the project is looking difficult. Tethered Towers needs to be generating $25,000 a month by September if it is to stay in business, Laine said.

The company will show off a trial system in Seattle later this month to woo investors.
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