Researchers from York University in Toronto Canada have claimed that a large inflatable tower placed on a mountain would be able to lift people around 20 km into space. The inflatable pneumatic modules are currently in use on some spacecraft.
The issue of high pressure winds and structural balance will be solved by gyroscopes, with each module having its own active stabilisation system. The total weight of a 15 km high model would be around 800,000 tonnes.
The tower could be used for research, telecommunications, tourists and launching spacecraft. The researchers say the tower will be able to be completed much sooner then the cable driven space elevator, due to the technology already existing.