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-NewsletterMay 2011   
In This Issue
European Space Elevator Challenge Reminder
30 MegaYuri or Bust!
ISEC Updates
Conference Update
What is ISEC?
Visit ISEC on the Web
Quick Links
Letter from the President

Its been yet another busy month at ISEC and in the Space Elevator Community.  Space Elevator themed competitions are now upcoming in Europe, Japan and the United States in the next few months.  The annual Space Elevator Conference is rapidly approaching.  ISEC is now supporting several efforts directly targeted toward developing the specific-strength properties of Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs).  And ISEC is now looking for Corporate members and sponsorship.

You can read about these projects and other ongoing efforts in this eNewsletter.

Let me again close this month by asking you to join ISEC or, if your membership has expired in ISEC, to please consider renewing your membership.  Membership fees are our lifeblood - without them we cannot do all of the activities that we feel are necessary to move the concept of a Space Elevator forward.  Members get a free poster and a free copy of the ISEC Journal.  In addition, members attending the Space Elevator Conference will also receive additional benefits.  Regular, professional memberships are only $68/year while student members are only $25/year.  The cost is small while the benefits are large - please join!

Ted Semon
President - ISEC
Japanese Space Elevator Competition 

If it seems like there are a lot of Space Elevator Competition around the world these days, that is because there is, and we at ISEC think that it is awesome!
Recently the Japanese Space Elevator Association has announced that they will be holding their third Japanese Space Elevator Technical and Engineering Competition this August. Though we are still getting all of the details, one big change includes the increase in climber height from 300 to 600 meters.
We are also waiting on more details from the JSEA on their student competition which should be coming up this October. LASER2011 will also be the third event of its kind. Many thanks to JSEA for holding so many great events.
More information can be found on their website,    
EuSEC LogoEuropean Space Elevator Challenge Change

As the days and months keep ticking by, the time for the European Space Elevator Challenge keeps getting closer. There are now several different groups that have signed up to be a part of the competition, including teams from England, Germany, Japan, Macedonia and Iran.
In an effort to allow as many teams to compete as possible, the date of the competition has been changed. Orignially scheduled for June 10th, the competition has been moved back two months and is now being held from August 19th thru 21st.
There will be many more things on the menu for the weekend than just the competition. There are also going to be several presentations from various international groups. The Cambridge Carbon Nanotube Society is going to be presenting a 30 meter long carbon nanotube rope and Anulekh Chauhan is going to be giving a Skype presentation on an alternative idea so a Space Elevator.
It is certain to be a great few days of competition and discovery so be sure to visit for more information.

Make it ecology-minded, make it efficient, make it european!

CNT 30 MegaYuri or Bust!

According to the Space Elevator Feasibility Condition, a study produced by Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation, 30 MegaYuri* now appears to be the new baseline target for developing a tether material strong enough to build a Space Elevator.  It still appears that only Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) are theoretically strong enough to create a tether with this specific strength.  While the multiple properties and possible uses of CNTs seemingly grow every day, the focus of the Space Elevator community is being targeted towards encouraging research and development on the specific strength properties of CNTs.

Currently, there are five projects targeted towards this research that ISEC is supporting:

1) The NASA Strong Tether competition: This competition is part of the NASA Centennial Challenge program and NASA has put up a 2 Million US Dollar prize to be awarded to the competitor(s) that produce materials which meet the competition criteria.  The Spaceward Foundation is NASA's partner in this effort and coordinates the activities of this competition.  This year's competition will be held at the 2011 Space Elevator Conference in August an event that ISEC is a co-sponsor of.  For more details about the competition, please visit the Spaceward website.

2) The Artsutanov and Pearson prizes:  Both competitions this year are focused on developments in materials strength, with prizes being awarded for the best papers that advance our understanding of how to create a tether with a specific strength of 30 MegaYuris.  The Pearson prize is open to any student attending an accredited 2 or 4 year undergraduate program while the Artsutanov prize is open to anyone.  For more details, visit the ISEC website.

3) This year's Space Elevator conference, an event that ISEC is a co-sponsor of, is focused on strong tethers, with the first day of the conference being dedicated to presentations on this subject.  Researchers in this field are encouraged to attend and present their findings and mingle with other people interested in their field.  For more details, visit the Space Elevator Conference website.

4) The next issue of the ISEC Journal will be focused on strong tethers.  Authors are encouraged to contribute their papers to this upcoming Journal.  For more information, please visit the ISEC website.

5) ISEC was a co-sponsor of the Carbon Nanotube workshop held in October of last year at the University of Cincinnati and plans on being a co-sponsor at this year's workshop too.

* A Yuri (named after Yuri Artsutanov, the originator of the modern idea of a Space Elevator) is a unit of specific strength and is equivalent to 1 Pascal per kilogram per cubic meter.  A Mega Yuri (MYuri) is equivalent to the commonly used units of 1 Giga-Pascal per gram per cubic centimeter (1 GPa-g/cc) and to 1 Newton per Tex (N/Tex).

(Multi-nanotube image from Wikipedia Commons)
New Changes and Updates at ISEC 

Just as development throughout the Space Elevator community is hard to keep up with, changes within ISEC are happening just as fast.
Two big changes have occurred with ISEC recently that we want to make sure all of you are aware of. The first is that ISEC is now an official 501(c)3 organization. This means that we are recognized by the US government as a non-profit organization and donations are now tax deductible.


The second change is regarding the website. Though only a few months ago we released an entirely new website, we are now moving that website to a new address.

Away with the .info and on to the world of .org. Though it is a small change it is an important shift to show the direction that ISEC is trying to go. With out growing presence throughout the space community and social media, we are quickly becoming a recognized international organization.

We are currently shifting all of our contact information such as email addresses to the new domain name but all of the previous addresses still function. Similarly, you can still access the website at and you will be redirected to the new domain.

Space Elevator Conference Updates


Planning for the 2011 Space Elevator Conference is in full swing and each month brings us closer to the exciting event in Redmond, WA. The official call for papers is out with a deadline of June 11th. Again, the primary theme of the conference is developing stronger and lighter tethers but entries from all parts of the Space Elevator community will be looked at for use in the three days of presentations.


For those wishing to attend the conference but not present, it is more important than ever to visit the conference website. "Early Bird" registration rates are in effect until July 1st, so act quickly.


The most important update is that the daily schedules are now starting to be finalized. The first day is going to be completely devoted to the yearly theme of creating a Stronger, Lighter Tether. The day will end with a bang as the conference will be hosting the 2011 Strong Tether Competition. The morning of the second day will look at other technical issues regarding the space elevator. The second day's afternoon will begin more of the non-technical discussions such as the political and legal ramifications of the elevator. This will continue into the final when there will also be several different breakout sessions.


This final update that we want to share it the addition of RoboQuest. This event will be held on Saturday and will be a chance for younger people to learn about the Space Elevator. Final details are not yet completed but the goal is to include competitions for middle and highschool students as well as a Lego Zone for kids of all ages to build their own spacecraft.


This is going to be yet another great event this year so make sure that you start getting the word out and get registered.

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 that building a Space Elevator should be a priority for all of us and you want to help make this happen, please Join Us!  Benefits include e-newsletters (such as this one), a print version of the ISEC Journal and other items listed on our Join 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!

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The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is a registered 501c3 charitable organization (EIN 80-0302896)