太空电梯是建议将地球表面连接到空间的运输系统。电梯将允许车辆在不使用火箭的情况下前往轨道或太空。虽然电梯行程不会比火箭旅行更快，但它会更便宜并且可以连续用于运输货物和可能的乘客。康斯坦丁·齐奥尔科夫斯基于1895年首次描述了一个太空电梯。齐奥尔科夫斯基提议建造一座从地面到地球静止轨道的塔楼，基本上是一座高大的建筑物。他的想法的问题是结构会被它上面的所有重量压碎。太空电梯的现代概念基于不同的原理 – 张力。电梯将使用一端连接到地球表面的电缆和另一端的大型配重，在地球静止轨道（35,786 km）上方建造。重力将在电缆上向下拉，而来自轨道运动配重的离心力将向上拉。与建造一座通向太空的塔相比，对立的力量可以减轻电梯上的压力。虽然普通电梯使用移动电缆来上下拉动平台，但是太空电梯将依赖于沿着固定电缆或带状物行进的称为爬行器，登山者或升降器的装置。换句话说，电梯将在电缆上移动。多个登山者需要在两个方向上行进以抵消来自科里奥利力的振动对其运动的影响。
A space elevator is a proposed transportation system connecting the Earth’s surface to space. The elevator would allow vehicles to travel to orbit or space without the use of rockets. While elevator travel wouldn’t be faster than rocket travel, it would be much less expensive and could be used continuously to transport cargo and possibly passengers. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky first described a space elevator in 1895. Tsiolkovksy proposed building a tower from the surface up to geostationary orbit, essentially making an incredibly tall building. The problem with his idea was that the structure would be crushed by all the weight above it. Modern concepts of space elevators are based on a different principle — tension. The elevator would be built using a cable attached at one end to the Earth’s surface and to a massive counterweight at the other end, above geostationary orbit (35,786 km). Gravity would pull downward on the cable, while centrifugal force from the orbiting counterweight would pull upward. The opposing forces would reduce the stress on the elevator, compared with building a tower to space. While a normal elevator uses moving cables to pull a platform up and down, the space elevator would rely on devices called crawlers, climbers, or lifters that travel along a stationary cable or ribbon. In other words, the elevator would move on the cable. Multiple climbers would need to be traveling in both directions to offset vibrations from the Coriolis force acting on their motion.