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 ..."

ISEC e-Newsletter #3
October 2009
In This Issue
2009 Climber / Power-Beaming Competition
EuroSpaceward's 3rd Annual Conference
What is ISEC?
Quick Links
Dear subscriber,

The excitement is mounting - the 2009 Space Elevator Games - Climber / Power Beaming challenge is only days away!
Composite LogoTeams from Kansas City, Washington and Saskatchewan are ready to compete.  The prize, provided by NASA, is a cool two MILLION dollars.

Years and years of work are about to be put to the test.

The teams are ready.  The 'racecourse' is ready.  NASA is ready.

Subscribe to Twitter ( for up-to-the-second updates and follow the action at the official site of the Space Elevator Games (

It's on!

Also in this issue, you can read about LASER '09, an event / contest hosted by the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) to promote awareness of the Space Elevator concept to children and also the upcoming EuroSpaceward conference to be held in Luxembourg in December.


Ted Semon
President - ISEC
 The 2009 Climber / Power-Beaming Competition

One week to go - time to take stock. From Spaceward's point of view, things are going well. Virtually all of the pieces are already in place or quickly getting there. We've had a good amount of practice setting up the racetrack, and we'll get time to practice it again just before the games.

This would be a good time to make a little comparative study among our three competitors; LaserMotive, USST and the Kansas City Space Pirates. The formulation of the power beaming problem (the range, and the fact that the receiver is mobile) drove all the teams to use laser-based systems, but beyond that, the teams are very different from each other.

Perhaps the most visible difference between the teams is not in their technology, but in their backgrounds (and character). Since none of them are newcomers, we know a thing or two about them:


KCSP TeamKansas City Space Pirates (KCSP) are our robotic-club hobbyists, except (guess what...) nothing about them says "amateur". Their engineering is superb, they have recruited a top-notch panel of consultants, they are consistently the most prepared team, perform the most detailed testings and rehearsals, and their attention to detail is unmatched. Team Captain and chief engineer is Brian Turner, and they are based in Kansas City, MO.

This is KCSP's third appearance at the games.


Team LaserMotiveLasermotive (LM) is our "industry" team, led by long time laser industry expert Dr. Jordin Kare, and really almost doing this as a hobby.

Another of their hobbies is this.

They are based in Seattle, and one look at their sponsor list makes it clear that they are a force to be reckoned with.

LaserMotive is in its second year at the Games, having made their debut in 2007.


Team USSTUSST is our university student team (Team Captain is Bill Voss, also from Seattle, and the students are from the town of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), except that nothing about it is typical of a student team - they are organized, highly professional, calm and collected - and have outperformed all other teams in all previous competitions so far.

USST is the most experienced team at the games, having participated in all challenges since 2005.


Technically, the teams ended up spanning the gamut in practically every trade-off in the design space: We have different laser wavelengths, different PV technologies, different beam intensities, different thermal designs, different tracking and aiming mechanisms...

I cannot yet give up specific information, but I can guarantee to you that we have a very good race coming up. None of the teams is a clear winner by any stretch of the imagination. All three are very capable, and all three are shooting for the 5 m/s prize level.

Break-downs and other unforced errors notwithstanding, if the teams get to fully exhaust their capabilities, it will be very interesting to see which system ends up on top. Having invested two years and a lot of personal funds into the development of their systems, I truly hope all three make the prize threshold.

We will be able to divulge much more about the technical aspects of the systems during the games, but until games day (11/4), some cards need to remain face down.  Maybe we'll some more information leak out as the week progresses :)
ISEC Logo - transparent background LASER '09

On November 3rd, the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) will host the first annual LASER (LEGO bricks Activity and Space Elevator Race) competition, LASER '09.

This competition is targeted towards school children who "are interested in Space Travel and Exploration". LASER '09 will sponsor the opportunity for the young people "to know about the Space Elevator", have an "interest in science", and enjoy the "pleasure to make" using the LEGO bricks loved by children. The participation of about 30 teams of school students is scheduled for this event.

About LEGO-Climber race

  • Each team will produce a Climber made of LEGO bricks.
  • Participants will compete to see whose remote controlled Climber is the fastest to ascend the 25mm wide, 5m long polyester-tether which is hung from ceiling.

Contact information: For additional details, please contact the Executive Committee of LASER (Team LASER at
ISEC Logo - transparent background EuroSpaceward's 3rd Annual Conference coming up in December

On December 5th and 6th, EuroSpaceward will hold it's third annual conference.  This year it is titled "Space Elevator, CNT Tether Design & Lunar Industrial Challenges".

The preliminary program for this conference is now available. It can be downloaded here or from the EuroSpaceward website.

What is ISEC?

ISEC LogoThe 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!
Visit ISEC on the Web

Visit our website at  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!

If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can also sign up to be on our mailing list so you don't miss a thing!