Space Elevator in Google Earth

Back in January I created a simplistic 3D model of a space elevator for a 3D model demonstration. Two days ago, someone at the Google Earth Community named ‘Gerardo64’ posted a well-written summary of what the space elevator concept is all about, and a much more sophisticated 3D model of a space elevator. You can download the 3D space elevator model for Google Earth here. This model is created with a base of the elevator on a floating platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. So, when you zoom in you won’t find a satellite photo of an island. I do wonder why the base module isn’t on the equator though. If you have never heard of a space elevator, I suggest you read either Gerardo64’s post, or this Wikipedia article. From the Wikipedia article: “Space elevators have also sometimes been referred to as beanstalks, space bridges, space lifts, space ladders or orbital towers….A space elevator is a hypothetical structure designed to transport material from a planet’s surface into space.”

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. “I do wonder why the base module isn’t on the equator though.”
    I didn’t measure exactly but it appears to be more-or-less on the equator.
    I wonder if it’s possible to to a scale drawing of our proposed elevator on google earth? Ah, I need more hours in the day than I have.

  2. If you use the “Control-L” shortcut you turn on Lattitudes and Longitudes lines in Google Earth. It shows your base module at about 6 degrees North.

  3. Ick of the East says:

    The best place for the first elevator would be near Singapore; just a few miles north of the equator and the center of a vast, modern, transportation hub.

  4. The ‘best place’ for the very first space elevator will be where we can minimize environmental conditions. Singapore is handy but the weather (from our POV) is iffy.
    Better to put it in a place where the weather is mild and lighting incidence is low. That’s 2,000 miles west of South America.
    After we’ve got a handle on ‘how’ to run a working space elevator then we can talk to Singapore about putting one there.

  5. Hmmm, putting it in Singapore seems like a terrible idea period. I wouldn’t want a space elevator where there is a lot of air traffic. Someone crashes into it and you have a scalding hot 15 mile carbon nano tube whip coming out of the sky to flog the people of Singapore.

  6. David…most likely if a plane ran into a space elevator made out of carbon nanotubes, the plane would just be cut. If it’s strong enough to hold its weight (plus the elevator) at several hundred miles in height – then it would withstand a direct hit by a Boeing 787. That’s the good news for Singapore (assuming that’s where you would put it), bad news for the airplane.

  7. Frans Blok says:

    I’ve also created a space elevator in Google Earth, not for Earth orbit though but for Mars. It’s part of a project of virtual terraforming, another topic Sir Arthur was visionary about.
    You can find the project at
    but beware, it’s a 15 Mb file. The elevator is placed in folder “moons”, and is, of course, called Clarke Station.

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