The Zhào Elevator is the only completed and fully functional space elevator. It is privately owned, and it's construction was paid for entirely using the amassed wealth of the Zhào Family. Built on a private island near Singapore and precisely on the equator, it is visible to everyone within a thousand miles. Usage is restricted exclusively to members of the Zhào family. It exists solely as a blatant show of wealth and power, and costs an exorbitant amount of wealth to maintain. The building "stands" over 22,000 miles above sea level.
Purpose / Function
The Zhào elevator functions as a space elevator, providing an inexpensive alternative to rockets for travelling between orbit and the planet's surface. The elevator rarely serves that use, however, as the Zhào family puts heavy restrictions on who is allowed to use it. The building also serves as the heritage home of the Zhào Family, with some of the original construction still present on the island property. Occasionally, the Zhào family invites others to visit and even more rarely, use, the elevator. The actual function of the Zhào elevator is as a monumental landmark representing the enormous wealth and power belonging to the Zhào family.
At the base of the elevator is the heritage family estate of the Zhào Family. A five story mansion with a number of smaller buildings built in a modern Taoist influenced style. The rest of the elevator is constructed in a mix between purely functional design, and a modern design characteristic of new-era architecture and the trademark style of Obeyashi Corp. projects.
In the middle of the 22nd century a Japanese company, Obayashi Corp. began work on architectural designs and plans for the construction of a functioning space elevator, with an estimated project cost of 10 billion dollars. Due to the economic collapse caused by the global warming crisis however, this project was never completed. After the economy began to recover, and life in space was becoming a reality, Obayashi Corp. revisited the project. Advances in technology had reduced the expected cost to 8 billion dollars, and in 2083 construction of the world's first space elevator began on an island donated to the project by the New Republic of Singapore. The project was near completion in 2093 when it was halted after the destruction of the ISS. Over the course of several months, the project was cancelled entirely, and had to be destroyed to avoid the hazardous potential of colliding with wreckage from the now destroyed ISS. This colossal failure all but bankrupted the Obayashi Corp. and turned the world's eye away from future development of space elevator technology for fear of catastrophic failure. Obayashi Corp. was purchased by Liáo Zhào later the same year, a wealthy investor living in Singapore. Following the buyout, Obayashi Corp. focused on new-era construction and the manufacturing of parts and station modules for increasingly popular space stations and colonial living. The ruins of the elevator were demolished, and the Zhào Family estate was constructed on the private island. Over the course of the next few centuries, Obayashi Corp. became a leading name in orbital construction and design, and the Zhào family had become extremely wealthy. Then after the year 2437, with the advent of energetic field technology, the original space elevator project was revisited. Changes were made to alter the base of the elevator to function as a luxurious tower and residential estate for the Zhào family, and to use the new technology to protect the elevator from the infamous space debris that had made the project nonviable for so many years. Seven years later, the elevator was complete, and has stood as a colossal landmark over the Eastern Union as a monument to space exploration, technology, and especially the Zhào family monopoly.