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..."

December 2013
In This Issue
The President's corner
IAA study on Space Elevators
SPEC2013 results!
The 2014 Space Elevator Conference
ISEC and NSS join hands...
What is ISEC?
ISEC Corporate Sponsors
Visit ISEC on the Web
Follow ISEC!
Quick Links
Dear Friend,


Welcome to the December, 2013 edition of the ISEC eNewsletter.


In this issue's Presidents Corner, ISEC President Dr. Peter Swan talks about year-endings and year-beginnings and summarized some of the major space-elevator related activities in 2013.

This issue also includes an article about the just-published IAA study on Space Elevators and a report from the Japan Space Elevator Association on their recent SPEC competition.

Finally, there are reminders about the dates, already set, for the 2014 ISEC Space Elevator Conference and ISEC's recent affiliation with the National Space Society.


And don't forget to LIKE US on Facebook, FOLLOW US on Twitter and enjoy the photos and videos that we've posted on Flickr and YouTube - all under our Social Identity of ISECdotORG.


Thank you! 



The President's corner

The closing of a year brings sadness and hope for the future.  As we in the New Space business live on these hopes, this year's accomplishments stand tall as steps towards that future.  The second ISEC Journal highlighted Jerome Pearson as one of the inventors and discussed many of the critical issues for space elevator development.  The International Space Elevator Conference established, once again, that Seattle was the place to be with many discussions relevant to the future.  The brainstorming during the mini-workshops stimulated some new ideas on "how to" and "why."  The third ISEC Study [focus - tether climbers] has resulted in a draft document, on-schedule, for review by a team of peers.  ISEC contributed significantly to the International Academy of Astronautics [IAA] study on Space Elevator Feasibility with a book to be published in December.  In addition, the IAA is sponsoring a major symposium in Washington DC in January 2014.  This Heads of Space Agencies Summit will highlight the feasibility of space elevators.  There were many other achievements by our members, such as the creation of research & development and history committees, that will be moving space elevators forward.  But, back to the end of the year quandary, it seems to me that ISEC and the space elevator program are indeed one year closer to the future infrastructure we all hope for!

"Keep Climbing my Friends!"  Pete Swan
Academy Concludes Space Elevators Seem Feasible

The International Academy of Astronautics just approved this conclusion when it published the study report entitled: "Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward."  The report addresses the simple and complex issues that have been identified through the development of space elevator concepts over the last decade.  It begins with a summary of ideas in Edwards' and Westling's book "The Space Elevator" (2003).  Out of these beginnings has risen a worldwide cadre focused upon their areas of expertise as applied to space elevator development and operational infrastructure.  The report answers some basic questions about the feasibility of a space elevator infrastructure.  A preview of the main questions and answers shows the depth and breadth of this cosmic study.
  • Why a Space Elevator?
  • Can it be Done?
  • How would all the elements fit together to create a system of systems?
  • What are the technical feasibilities of each major space elevator element?
This study benefited from review and comments by numerous members of the Academy, as well as the International Space Elevator Consortium.  The study could not have been completed to this level of detail without the timely and invaluable efforts of a diverse collection of experts from around the world who contributed not only their time and knowledge, but also provided material as well as their technical expertise for the study.  The study is broken into six sections, with several explanatory appendices, as follows:
  • Executive Summary and Introduction
  • Part I - Introductory
  • Part II - Major Elements
  • Part III - Systems Approach
  • Part IV - Architectural and Policy Considerations
  • Part V - Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Appendix - Glossary, Participants, Study Terms of Reference, MYuri definition, Laser vs. Solar, Tether Summary, Safety Factor, Tether Substantiation, Space Elevator Organizations, Findings, References.
There were 41 authors and five editors.  The sponsors of this study report are The International Academy of Astronautics and the Heinlein Foundation Trust.  To order a copy visit: or call (713) 861-3600.  The prices are $29.95 for hardcopy and $9.95 for electronic version.
SPEC2013 results!

Each year, the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) holds several events, including competitions and a conference.  In August, they held their 5th annual SE Technology and Engineering Challenge (formerly named JSETEC) - here is a report;

Between Aug 7th and Aug 10th, we had our 5th SE technology and engineering
challenge in Japan. Starting this year we changed the title from
competition to challenge because we can't evaluate each climber the same way because each team tries to realize various functions. We changed it to
a evaluation program like the Bonneville Speed Week.

We provided the vertical track and MP;Measurement Payload for climber's evaluation.

From 2009, we have been trying to double the height each year but in 2012, we failed to build a 1,200m tether system due to lack of knowledge. This year, we prepared better and succeeded to build a 1,200m tether.  1 tether was 11mm
diameter Technora outer rope and other was 35mm width 2mm thick
Technora belt.

17 teams had to qualify on our 200m low altitude tether to evaluate own
climber's ability.

4 teams passed this evaluation and tried the 1,200m tether.

Aoki Lab A from Nihon university melted their energy feedback brake
system and fell down after the 1,200m climb on rope.

Aoki Lab B succeeded 700m ascent and descent safely.(Height was limited
by their battery capacity.)

Irie Lab from Nihon university succeeded their test 800m ascent and descent
but broke on next try.

And finally, private team Okuzawa succeeded the 1,100m ascent and
descent safely. They set their on-board computer to come back from
1,100m. They didn't try just 1,200m because they think about rotary
encoder sensor margin. We had 30cm diameter 5mm thick
polycarbonate bumper at upper limit of tether. But they didn't want to hit the bumper.

There was also another notable achievement. Private team 4th Lab. succeeded to
climb 20m with a 65kg payload. Speed of their climber was very slow,
but they are trying to build the first manned climber. They are still
working on it.

SPEC2013 Space Elevator Challenge
SPEC2013 Space Elevator Challenge

Congratulations to the Japan Space Elevator Association!
Dates set for 2014 ISEC Space Elevator Conference

ISEC is very pleased to announce the dates and venue for the 2014 ISEC Space Elevator Conference.

The Conference will be held from Friday, August 22nd, 2014 through Sunday, August 24th.

The Venue will the same place we've had the conference the past two years, Seattle's Museum of Flight.  This has turned out to be a wonderful venue for the Conference and we are thrilled to be able to host the Conference here again.

Details will be announced in a future issue of this eNewsletter and will be available on the Space Elevator Conference website.

Mark you calendars now - be there or be square!
ISEC and NSS join hands...

The National Space Society and the International Space Elevator Consortium signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 15 August 2013.  This understanding between these 501(c)(3) organizations illustrates the strength of ideas and committed volunteers.  Recently the NSS released a "Milestones to Space Settlement," or a roadmap to the future.  The presented vision is:

The National Space Society ("NSS") is a nonprofit educational organization whose Vision is: "People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity."

This Vision embraces both space as a future second home for humanity and the resources of space (such as the Sun's energy for space-based solar power, extra-terrestrial minerals for raw materials, and low-gravity for manufacturing) being used for the benefit of all of us on the Earth. These two elements of the Vision are intertwined: development of space products and services for the people of Earth will both require human presence in space and will enable and motivate expansion of our species away from the home planet.

The partnership of two visionary organizations should strengthen each other's activities.  As the ISEC has a similar mission, the two organizations should have many common projects and ideas.  

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

Due to their shared interest, as shown by their mission statements and vision, the two organizations, working together, should be able to contribute even more to the widespread economic development of space and the betterment of mankind.
What is ISEC?

ISEC LogoThe International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is the result of a coming-together of many 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.

Our Mission Statement says it all:

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

Each year we adopt a theme which we use to focus our activities for that year.  For 2009-2010, our theme was Space Debris Mitigation - Space Elevator Survivability.  For 2010-2011 our theme was Research and thought targeted towards the goal of a 30 MYuri tether.  For 2011-2012, our theme was Operating and Maintaining a Space Elevator.  For 2012-2013, our theme was Tether Climbers and for 2013-2014, our theme is Architecture & Roadmaps.

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 eNewsletters (such as this one), the ISEC Journal CLIMB and other items listed on our Join page.

Come and join us and help make the future happen!

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is a registered 501c3 charitable organization (EIN 80-0302896)
Thank you, Corporate Sponsors !

The lifeblood of any organization such as ours is the support we receive from our members - and we thank them all.  We especially want to thank our Corporate Sponsors who have contributed funds and resources to ISEC at a higher level.

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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