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UAE-born man designs world’s first space elevator

Nofel Izz claims his invention will make space travel affordable and also come handy to clear space debris and deflect asteroids

18:00 July 2, 2014
Space elevator-New

Abu Dhabi: A former Dubai resident has designed what could well be the world’s first space elevator.

Nofel Izz, 39, who was born and raised in the UAE, claims his $30 billion (Dh110 billion) Telescopic Exo Shell concept will make space travel cheaper and also come in handy to clear space debris and deflect asteroids.

“The applications are plentiful. The space elevator could be used as a launching pad for satellites, asteroid deflection, generating solar power without atmospheric disturbances and sending materials in space at much lower costs,” said Izz in an email interview from Ontario, Canada.

Izz said the space elevator will be a semi-hollow and cylindrical structure consisting of a telescopic tower that could be propelled by an elaborate shaft system. Super-strong and light-weight metal alloys would be used in the construction of the elevator which could reach heights of up to 160km into lower earth orbit when fully extended.

“The entire structure would be approximately 193 times the height of the Burj Khalifa and would require a base with a diameter the size of the Jumeirah Palm Islands. The invention has got significant response and positive feedback from individuals in the related field of work. I am currently working with US engineers to fine-tune the concept, but it’s a challenge when I have to describe the space elevator to people. I have even told that the concept sounds absurd.”

Born to an Indian father and Pakistani mother, Izz comes from a family of gold traders. Before migrating to Canada for higher studies, he went to three schools in Dubai – Our Own English High School, Indian High School and Grammar School. “I guess my parents were undecided. But the best part is I still hang around my buddies from these schools when I visit Dubai, which is about thrice a year,” said.

Other passions

Izz has always been enterprising. In 2002, when he was 27, he launched the popular online recruitment firm JobinDubai which he later sold for $9 million. He is also an accomplished singer and has released albums under several record labels after being spotted at a karaoke night in Dubai.

“I have a passion for music and do try to devote as much time to it whenever I am working on a new song.” Izz cherishes fond memories of Dubai. “My best recollections are of the malls. If you were 16 years old during the early 90s, malls were the best place to meet friends – most still do. Although I travel to different countries, I feel Dubai has a lot to offer once you have decided you want to live there.”