A Canadian Bollywood Singer Says He Invented a Space Elevator

According to him $30 billion dollars and 10 years of work, it can be a reality.

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Jul 15 2014, 9:30pm
Image: Nofel Izz

A Bollywood singer and part-time inventor says he’s spent the last year fine-tuning designs for the world’s first space elevator.

Nofel Izz, born in the United Arab Emirates before later moving to Canada, says he's perfected plans for a 160-kilometer space elevator made of titanium and Kevlar called "Telescopic Exo Shell." If built, Izz’s structure would ferry people to space, provide a launchpad for satellites and spacecraft, and be over 190 times higher than the Burj Khalifa—Earth’s highest free standing structure. But, as is the case with any space elevator proposal, that "if" is about as big as the structure itself.

“To begin with, the application for such a space elevator would require regions with permanent no fly zones,” Izz wrote to me in an email. Although Izz says several countries are possible destinations for his elevator his "preferred choice would be Canada due to its political stability because a nation with these abilities would dominate space travel and matters related to it.”

While Izz said he designed the “entire project” so that he could maintain sole propriety over the patent of the elevator, he said he did have the help of engineers “to further fine-tune the project.” 

Image: Nofel Izz

Other than the obvious possibility of improving access to space, Izz said the structure could be used for solar energy harnessing and asteroid deflection.  

He estimates that the titanium alloys, Kevlar, and other material will cost between $20 and $27 billion and says that construction would cost another $5 billion and would take up to a decade. That's why, he says, Canada is an ideal spot, what with its vast open spaces and relative political stability. 

“I am hoping to present the concept to [Canada] in January of 2015,” said Izz.

The space elevator is designed as a mostly hollow and cylindrical titanium tower with a giant telescopic platform at the very top,  outfitted with three 80-ton diesel electric engines propelling the inner shaft. The whole structure will be held up by giant cables, like you see here:

Even with all of the wealth potentially associated with the ambitious project, Izz said he’s going to give these plans away.

“This design is not for sale, I plan on giving it away for free to anyone that has the ability to construct it,” said Izz. “Although this project keeps me away from my regular work, I have never planned on making money out of this. But it would be recognition on a grand scale if a corporation or any government agency would take over this project." 

To be clear, the chances of a potentially functioning, 160 kilometer space elevator being designed in some dude's spare time is slim to none, to say the least. Space elevators certainly are possible and, perhaps, inevitable, but it's no stretch to suggest that the first space elevator to be built will be, without a doubt, among the greatest feats of engineering in human history.

Izz doesn't seem to have any scientific background and appears to be pursuing this space elevator out of pure interest. Even on his LinkedIn profile it says he went to the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, a business school. 

Yet Izz isn’t sitting around waiting for word on his space elevator, either. He told me he’s involved with other projects, including futuristic oxygen masks and a concept he calls the “ePod,” a solar pod generating four times more power than regular solar panels, which he hopes will be a cheap source of power for all of Africa. He said he has “a strong aptitude for the sciences and engineering and has several inventions in the pipeline (about 103 in total) that are unique.” 

Beyond inventing, Izz has another passion: music. According to him he’s been signed to Crescendo Crescendo Music since 2012. “I have also given few songs to startup Bollywood films and have a fan base of over half a million on Facebook,” said Izz. (While you're waiting for the space elevator to be built, you can listen to Izz’s music here.)

A screenshot from Nofel's official website. His YouTube videos have garnered over 100,000 views.

I’ll hand it to Izz: He’s thinking big. But let's just say he's probably not going to be the one to finally pull off the ambitious dream of ferrying humans to space. So far, he didn't mention any venture capital backing, any interest in being the one to actually build the space elevator himself, and no interest from any actual government.

On his official website he tells his fans to break free of the banality in their lives: "I am just like you. A person with passion, imagination and creativity." 

And, apparently, with a plan to put people into space, over and over again, on the cheap.