I’ve written ideas (and seen many others do the same) about something besides the eternal garbage can (Awesome shop) as the end game and bitched about it a lot in the Steam forums. But the ideas are usually to use the Space Elevator to make some sort of number go up, via selling to a imaginary market, or fulfilling orders or something. Better than the Awesome garbage can, but still a very HUD oriented goal.
I like the thought of them being assembled into something in space, sending thousands of computers, AI inhibitors, girders, etc, and then assembling them in orbit. But that’s way past the scope of the game.
But what about faking it? Showing it just from the terrestrial perspective.
The loads you send up in the end are used to build a ship in orbit, big enough that you can see it from the ground. It has a few stages, the skeleton, then the skin, details, and finally it powers up and moves out of view, “off into space”.
But it’s really just a 3D model up toward the top of the sky, swapping out through a few stages of built.
If you’ve seen a capital ship parked in low orbit in No Man’s Sky, that would be the idea. Very far off, not a ton of detail, but it is there, and the stuff you are sending are clearly being used to build it.
There could be several (three?) ships, all obviously huge to be seen from the ground, but compared to each other, a small, medium, and large. By the time you are working on the large one you have to have a massive factory shipping constantly or it will take forever.
And now, those of us that like a goal, have a huge one. Provide the materials for FixIt to make a massive capital ship.