Japan to test mini 'space elevator'

A team of researchers working to create a 'space elevator' will conduct a first trial this month, blasting off a mini version of the apparatus and monitoring equipment on satellites to test the technology.

The equipment, produced at Shizuoka University, will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency from the island of Tanegashima.

The test involves a miniature elevator that is 6 cm long, 3 cm wide, and 3 cm high.

If it is a success, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-meter cable suspended in space between two minisatellites that will keep it taut.

The minielevator will travel along the cable from a container in one of the satellites.

"It's going to be the world's first experiment to test elevator movement in space," a spokesman for the university said.

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