It is an idea that every small child has had at some point. Instead of sending up rockets into space, why not simply build a huge lift.
Now a Canadian firm has been granted a patent for a ‘space elevator’ which will shoot cargo 12.4 miles into the stratosphere from where it can be launched more easily.
“Astronauts would ascend to 12 miles by electrical elevator,” said Dr Brendan Quine, the inventor.
“From the top of the tower, space planes will launch in a single stage to orbit, returning to the top of the tower for refuelling and reflight.”