Inflatable pneumatic modules already used in some spacecraft could be assembled into a 15-kilometre-high tower.... If built from a suitable mountain top it could reach an altitude of around 20 kilometres, where it could be used for atmospheric research, tourism, telecoms or launching spacecraft. Pneumatic modules already used in some spacecraft could be assembled into a 15-kilometre-high tower. The team envisages assembling the structure from a series of modules constructed from Kevlar-polyethylene composite tubes made rigid by inflating them with a lightweight gas such as helium. To test the idea, they built a 7-metre scale model made up of six modules (see image). Each module was built out of three laminated polyethylene tubes 8 centimetres in diameter, mounted around circular spacers and inflated with air.
Inflatable tower could climb to the edge of space.