Several university, private industry, and government groups are developing an innovative approach to accessing the inner solar system via robotic elevator cars that move up and down a ribbon, which is anchored to earth, and a small man-made counterweight in space. The elevator would potentially carry satellites, solar power systems, exploration probes, factories, and eventually people into space.
In October, there was a space elevator competition at Moffit Field in Silicon Valley. The competition was run by the Spaceward Foundation, a non-profit group, and had a $50,000 prize money furnished by NASA. No group won, and the preliminary elevator technology is believed to be at least two years off.
According to Siliconbeat, there have also been secretive demonstrations of a Space Elevator project by the Foresight Nanotech Institute. The project apparently also involves Liftport Group, which has received a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use airspace to conduct preliminary tests.
Liftport has a launch date set: April 12, 2018.