Whether or not a space elevator can ever be built remains to be seen. However, it is possible to create a system to minimize the cost of delivering cargo. Theoretically, such a system is already doable for unmanned small satellites. It requires a vacuum tube with electromagnetic accelerator guideways. This tube rests on a high mountain peak and stretches upwards to an altitude of around 10 km. Even higher, up to 30 km, is possible if stratospheric balloons are used. Projectiles inside the tube can be accelerated to first cosmic velocity. If the tube is 300-400 km long to ensure smooth acceleration and minimal overload, manned vehicles can be launched. What's more, there's no need to accelerate to 8-9 km/s. Half that speed is sufficient. It's enough for the shuttle to be supplied with a reaction mass for the engines, while energy can be transmitted to it via a laser beam from a solar power station flying at altitude.