In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
), the Space Elevator
is a Secret Project
. It may be built
at a cost of 450 minerals, on discovery of Super Tensile Solids
(B10). First, the Space Elevator lifts the limit on distance a unit with Drop Pods may land from the base it dropped from. Second, it doubles the speed at which bases accumulate minerals while building the Sky Hydroponics Lab
, Orbital Power Transmitter
, Nessus Mining Station
, and Orbital Defense Pod
improvements, and production of these orbital improvements is no longer restricted to bases with the Aerospace Complex
improvement. Finally, it doubles Economy production in the base where it's built; that is, the base contributes double toward your treasury each turn.
How useful is this? The Space Elevator greatly increases the value of Drop Pods in unit design. Now you can drop Colony Pods directly on any suitable base site, or drop attacking units right next to an enemy base - from anywhere on the map, from any distance. The orbital improvements are like small Secret Projects, providing an extra food, mineral, or energy unit to each of your bases every turn; and you can build as many of each as you care to. Mostly this will just inflate the portion of your final score based on total population; if you've also built the Cloning Vats, it's possible to grow bases to size 100 or more as you keep churning out the Sky Hydroponics Labs. Between doubled orbital improvement production speed and the doubled base output to treasury, this Project pays for itself many times over.
Secret Project animation narrative:
"In one moment, Earth; in the next, Heaven."
-- Academician Prokhor Zakharov,
"For I Have Tasted the Fruit"