The official newsletter of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC)

Our mission statement:
"... ISEC promotes the development, construction and operation of a space elevator as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity ..."


The ISEC e-Newsletter - Issue #2 - August, 2009


The 2009 Space Elevator Conference

The 2009 Space Elevator Conference will be held from Thursday, August 13th through Sunday, August 16th, at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington.  A full and varied set of activities are planned; everything from "Family Day", where the concept of a Space Elevator is presented to families and others who may be new to the idea, to Roadmap workshops to in-depth presentations on the state of the various technologies necessary to build a Space Elevator.  Corporate sponsors include the Space Engineering and Science Institute (SESI), the JPL Space Foundation and the Microsoft corporation.

The Strong Tether competition, part of the Space Elevator Games, will also be held at the Conference.  This competition is part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program and a prize purse of 2 Million US Dollars is on the line!  In the last Strong Tether competition, the first tether made entirely of carbon nanotubes appeared.  This year we hope to see multiple carbon nanotube entries - truly an advance in the state of the art.  You must be a paid conference attendee to witness the competition, so be sure to sign up now!

Also, if you are a paid attendee at the conference, you will have an opportunity to join the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) at a GREATLY reduced rate.  So come to the conference, join ISEC, help build a Space Elevator and save some money!

The official conference website is http://www.spaceelevatorconference.org and here you can stay current with the latest conference developments and  register to attend.  We hope to see you there!


 

 

Climber / Power-Beaming competition status

 

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, the Spaceward Foundation and NASA had announced that the Climber / Power-Beaming competition was scheduled for August 5-7 at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

This competition, one of the Space Elevator Games (along with the Strong Tether Challenge) is part of the NASA Centennial Challenges program and NASA has put up a prize purse of 2 Million US Dollars to encourage innovation in the development of Power Beaming.

3 teams have now qualified for this competition; the Kansas City Space Pirates, LaserMotive and the University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (USST).  All are veteran teams and all have demonstrated the capability to control a laser beam of sufficient magnitude to power a Climber up and down a kilometer-long steel cable (held aloft by a helicopter) at a speed of at least 2 meters/second.  Laser testing recently concluded at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and was an awesome site to behold.  Visit the official site of the Space Elevator Games (www.spaceelevatorgames.org) or the Space Elevator Blog (www.spaceelevatorblog.com) for more information about and pictures from this testing.

While the laser testing went extremely well, the testing for the actual raceway itself ran into some problems.  In the first round of testing, a pulley failed while in the second round, a safety device on the cable assembly disengaged due to the inability of the helicopter pilot to maintain the correct position and tension.  A redesigned pulley has taken care of the first problem while a search is now on for a replacement helicopter pilot.  Ben Shelef, CEO of the Spaceward Foundation, and overall driving force behind these Games is optimistic that the helicopter issue will be solved soon.  In his words:

"We have engaged a new helicopter operator and are in the process of determining if they can do the job - we need to be more thorough on this aspect this time around. We are also pursuing other alternatives in order to make the next flight happen as soon as possible.  (But no sooner!)”

So, the upshot of all this is that the Climber / Power-Beaming portion of the Space Elevator Games has been delayed.  As of the release of this newsletter, a new date has not yet been set but will probably be sometime in September or perhaps October.  Stay tuned to the official website of the Space Elevator Games for the latest information.

The official website for these games is http://www.spaceelevatorgames.org.  Because this competition will not be open to the public (due to the secure facility where it is being held), it will be televised on NASA TV and also via a webcast at the official website.  In addition, the official website will show interviews, team standings, blog posts from the competition, clips from previous year's competitions, etc. - in short, everything you need to stay on top of the Games.


What is ISEC?

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is the result of a coming-together of leading figures and organizations who have worked long and hard over many years to promote the concept of a Space Elevator.  With organizational members in the United States, Europe and Japan and individual members from around the world, ISEC's goal is nothing less than to get a Space Elevator built.

From our bylaws:

"... ISEC promotes the development, construction and operation of a space elevator as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity ..."

Our plan of action is based on four pillars: Technology, Law, Business, and Outreach:

Each of the pillars is headed by a pillar lead, who functions much like a university's department head. Their job is to start initiatives (projects), pursue collaborations, guide project leads and prospective project leads in pursuing their individual projects, and generally increase the activity level of their pillar.

If you agree with us that building a Space Elevator should be a priority for all of us and you would like to help make this happen, please Join Us!  Benefits include e-newsletters (such as this one), an e-magazine and e-journal and other items listed on our sign-up page.

Come and join us and help make the future happen!


Why should you join ISEC?

So, why should you join ISEC?  Why should you become a member and give us some of your hard-earned money, especially in these economic times?  What’s in it for you?  These are all good questions, but I’d like to answer them by asking you some questions; Do you think that humanity should expand beyond earth?  Do you think that humanity should have a transportation system to space which is safe and reliable and scalable?  Do you agree with Robert Heinlein when he wrote; “The earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in.”  Are you a supporter of the idea of Space-based Solar Power Satellites?  If you answered ‘yes’ to any or all of these questions, you should support the concept of a Space Elevator!  A Space Elevator is THE transportation system which can make our race a truly spacefaring one.

ISEC was formed to make a Space Elevator happen.  The money you give us by joining ISEC will be used to fund research into technologies necessary to build a Space Elevator and to ’spread the word’.  For example, one of the first projects we want to tackle is research into how a carbon nanotube (CNT) tether will actually perform outside the earth’s atmosphere and protective magnetic field.  Atomic oxygen, radiation, space debris and just normal wear-and-tear from Climber traffic will all be hazards the ribbon has to endure.  We’d like to partner with a university or lab and set up earth-based experiments to get some preliminary answers.  At some point, however, we’ll need to actually test a CNT tether in space and that may mean a CubeSat mission.  All of this will take money and focus.  We can provide the focus but we need YOU to provide the money.  Without your support, efforts to build a Space Elevator will continue to be disjointed, unfocused and uncoordinated.

Those of us who have come together to create ISEC (and you can find out who we are by checking out the Team and Partner pages on our website) passionately believe that building a Space Elevator should be considered a high priority by everyone who has an interest in the future of our species.  Please join us by becoming a member of ISEC and participating in what promises to be one of the defining projects of this century.

Ted Semon - President, ISEC


The Japan Space Elevator Games

Japan, too, is holding their version of the Space Elevator Games.  This is their first-ever competition and is entitled the Japan Space Elevator & Technical Competition (JSETEC) - "Climb me to the moon".

This competition will be held on Saturday, August 8th, and Sunday, August 9th at Nihon University in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.  For more details, you can visit their website at http://jsea.jp/en/node/455.


Space Elevator Humor

Anyone who has spent any time in the Space Elevator arena has heard the by-now tired jokes about "Elevator music for a gazillion floors" or "Don't push all the buttons", etc.  However, a foursome at www.elevator2space.com has taken this to a whole new level, releasing several episodes of what life might be like in a normal elevator that somehow wound up as a Space Elevator.  It's all in good fun.  Visit their website to view all of the episodes.

Below is a snapshot of a slap-fight occurring in episode six.  This fight ends in the dreaded "Vulcan throat-thrust" - Oh, the humanity...


EuroSpaceward to hold its third annual conference in December

On December 5th and 6th, 2009, EuroSpaceward will host it's 3rd International Conference on the Space Elevator, CNT (carbon nanotube) Tether design & Lunar industrialization challenges.  More details on this conference will be coming soon.  Visit the EuroSpaceward website to register.


Visit ISEC on the Web!

Visit our website at http://www.isec.info.  There you can join learn more about what is happening in the Space Elevator community and what is being done to advance the concept of a Space Elevator.  Please consider joining ISEC - we foster research and sponsor Space Elevator-related causes, but to do so takes money.  Your contributions are crucial to our success.  Thank you!

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