“For over a century scientists and sci-fi writers alike have dreamed of creating a space elevator to ferry astronauts and payloads between the Earth and low orbit,” Jason Daley of Smithsonian Magazine writes. Now, Japanese scientists will make a step toward such a futuristic development. Two satellites—roughly four cubic inches—will test elevator motion in space, as they launch with a 33-foot steel cable binding them, and a third cube traveling between. In monitoring the traveling satellite in orbit, researchers gain crucial insight on tethering from Earth into low orbit. Read more about the captivating science behind it all on Smithsonian Magazine.