Image via Thoth Technology, Inc

Canadian tech company Thoth Technology wants to get in on creating a space elevator. The company was just awarded a patent to create a 12-mile high inflatable space elevator, which could completely change space travel as we know it.

Arthur C. Clarke popularized the concept of the space elevator in 1979 in ‘The Birds of Paradise’. Throughout the years, scientists and engineers have worked on making a space elevator a reality, particularly with researching microscopic carbon nanotubes that would be strong enough to support a structure of this magnitude.

There are many benefits to having a space elevator. After all, being able launch into to space without the cost and impact of large mounts of rocket fuel is a huge advantage. Thoth stated that their system could save fuel costs by 30 percent. Plus, their elevator would be fully reusable, which can reduce costs even more.

For years, the traditional imagining of a space elevator was a towering structure that reached higher than geostationary orbit (22,236 miles above Earth). However, Thoth plans for their structure to be 12 miles high, clearly making the idea of a space elevator more realistic than fictional.

“Astronauts would ascend to 20 km by electrical elevator. From the top of the tower, space planes will launch in a single stage to orbit, returning to the top of the tower for refueling and reflight,” stated inventor Brendan Quine.

Remember this elevator is also inflatable. There doesn’t seem to be too much extensive information as to how this works, but now that the patent is in place we’re sure to see it soon enough.