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Space elevator business plan crashes to Earth

Cease, and desist

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Today we bring you the surprising news that space elevators are not yet a viable business concern, as the Department of Financial Institutions Securities Division (DFISD) in the state of Washington issued a cease and desist order against LiftPort.

The LiftPort Group (motto: Change the world or go home) was founded in 2003 with the specific goal of building a space elevator; a common piece of equipment in science fiction universes that is proving more difficult to construct in the real world.

The simplest description of the elevator is that it is a long, extremely strong cable suspended from a geostationary satellite, and fixed to a "spaceport" of some kind on Earth. The idea is that we could use gravitational potential energy to lift equipment and people out of our gravity well.

This would be far cheaper than fighting our way into space on rockets, and could potentially transform the way we could explore and exploit our solar system.

But turning the idea into reality is proving tough for LiftPort. The firm's founder, Michael Laine, recently told The Space Show back in May that he wasn't sure the firm's new venture "Tethered Towers" could survive on its own as a going concern, but that it would be unethical for him to ask for more cash from his investors.

And in its filing against the firm, the DFISD says:

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 Securities Division alleged that the Respondents acted as an unregistered broker-dealer and/or securities salesperson.

The Division also alleged that the offer and sale of securities by the Respondents violated the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of Washington. The Securities Division ordered the Respondents to cease and desist from violating the securities registration, broker-dealer and/or securities salesperson registration, and anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of Washington.

The Securities Division gave notice of its intent to collect fines and charge costs. The Respondents have a right to request a hearing on the Statement of Charges.

What this all means, according to SpaceElevator.com, is that after four years of research and development, LiftPort and Tethered Towers have until September this year to start generating revenues of $25,000 per month, or it will be time to go home. ®

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