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 2014
In This Issue
The President's Corner
Jerome Pearson's 2013 ISEC Space Elevator Conference Speech now online
2014 Conference Mini-Workshop
ISC 2015
Why Space Elevators?
ISEC Affiliations
What is ISEC?
ISEC Corporate Sponsors
Visit ISEC on the Web
Follow ISEC!
Quick Links
Dear Friend,


Welcome to the December, 2014 edition of the ISEC eNewsletter.


In this issue's President's Corner, ISEC President Dr. Peter Swan discusses the progress that ISEC has made in 2014, with special mention of the ISEC History committee.


This eNewsletter also contains information about and a link to the 2013 ISEC Space Elevator Conference Keynote Speech from Jerome Pearson and also a Summary of the 2014 Space Elevator Conference Research Committee workshop.


Finally, we have the latest installment in the series "Why Space Elevators?"


And please 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 - and Happy New Year! 



The President's Corner

Progress - a great sounding word at the end of the year.  This represents my feelings about the ISEC History Committee.  We have formed the committee and started some exciting initiatives.  Our members of the History Committee have been moving rapidly on three fronts:
  • Oral Histories - our team started the oral interviews at the 2014 conference with attendees.  In addition, there have been some oral histories over the telephone/skype.  These are being written up and will be made available to the ISEC website reviewers.
  • Written Articles - our team has submitted an article for publication on the first three significant contributors to the history of space elevators; Tsilokovsky, Artsutanov, and Pearson.
  • Book Development - The outline has been refined with writers from our committee.  This will lead to draft chapters within a few months and refinement by the end of the summer.  This book would expand upon the quick history presented on our website.
All volunteers are welcome to participate in any of these activities or others across our little community.  If you are interested in history, and especially space elevator history, let us know and we can find a spot to support your desires and strengths.


"Keep Climbing my Friends!"  Pete Swan
Jerome Pearson's 2013 ISEC Space Elevator Conference Speech now online

At the 2013 ISEC Space Elevator Conference, American Engineer Jerome Pearson gave a talk on the life and legacy of Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the British author who gave us the wonderful novel, The Fountains of Paradise.  This novel, probably more than any other literary work, familiarized people with the concept of the Space Elevator.

Mr. Pearson is a co-inventor of the modern-day idea of a space elevator and provided technical assistance to Sir Arthur in writing the book.

The view the video, click here.
2014 Conference Mini-Workshop

A summary of the Research workshop

Concepts & Issues in Space Elevator Research

A summary report from the Research mini-workshop at the International Space Elevator Conference in Seattle


John Knapman

Workshop leader

December 2014




A wide-ranging discussion of research-related topics was conducted as a mini-workshop at the 2014 Space Elevator Conference in Seattle.

Workshop Goals

The goal of the mini-workshop was to stimulate thoughts and inputs from the conference attendees on space elevator research projects. Some detailed objectives were:

  • Gain an awareness of the ISEC Research Committee's goals and process
  • Review the list of topics that the Committee has produced
  • Identify potential contributors with relevant skills and interests
  • Where possible, add some level of detail, particularly on those topics where little work has so far been done
  • Where possible, propose who could carry out the work and where

Discussion notes

From the teams at separate tables, discussions developed observations, ideas, proposals, and preliminary conclusions in several areas. What follows are notes representing highlights from those discussions.


Tether Materials


Key concerns:

  • Manufacturing limits, cost requirements
    • Designing around industrial production
  • Possibly use biological production methods-bacteria producing CNTs or precursor carbon compounds?
    • Following the work of Harvard professor George Church in synthetic biology
  • Assemble a list of researchers with facilities that can produce "vendor amounts" of CNT, preferably non-CVD produced
  • Single wall, double wall - different markets
  • Rotating assembly? Two carbon chains at a time?
  • We need a growth model
  • Hybrids between graphene and CNT for strength?
  • What are the possible benefits from putting dielectric material inside CNT lattice?
  • Drawing out tubes uniformly
    • Can this be aided by electrodynamics?
  • How does the height of the array affect tangling? Do CNTs tangle as they grow, or is there some optimal length to which to draw out filaments?
  • Crowd sourcing? With bulk material, we let every high school in Oregon learn to use/make CNTs.

Global Cooperation


How do we work internationally? There are multiple potential contributing organizations and roles:

  • ISEC
    • CLIMB journal 18 months
    • Architecture and roadmaps
  • Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA)
    • Similar functions
  • IAA
    • Academy Study on space elevators
  • United Nations
    • Possible committee opportunity here too
    • Related treaty experience (Antarctic treaty, Outer Space treaty)
  • Intelsat
    • Originally an intergovernmental consortium with a similar goal of providing space-based services to its governmental participants
  • Obayashi Corporation
    • Has expressed an intent to deploy a space elevator by 2050

Should space elevator research and development be funded commercially, through governments, or both?

  • Decision would determine applicable legal and social frameworks

Philosophical foundations for international cooperation

  • What is the objective of building?
  • Why are we doing it?

Tether-related research

  • How do we manage connect/ disconnect events for climber/tenant
  • Reserve space on tether - always have it
  • Maybe have wider tether
  • Center of gravity and center of mass management
  • Debris, flux sensors and meteorological shielding
  • Unplanned stopping
  • Lasers - avoid satellites with sensors
    • Safety issues
    • Torsion/ twisting
    • Coefficient of friction

Dynamics Analysis & Electrodynamics Modelling


Electrodynamic Modelling should be integrated with the mechanical dynamics analysis, even though there will be many more unknown factors requiring different resolution methodologies. Related issues include:

  • Radiation
    • Radiation protection and remediation for passengers and cargo (live animals and other biological material, food & water, medicine, delicate equipment)
    • Evaluations of shielding solutions
    • Radiation testing would be simulated initially; lab tests would follow when material or mock-ups become available
  • Sun pressure on solar sails could cause deflection
  • Solar wind an issue outside the magnetopause
  • Compare forces on integrated structure - simulated and experimental
  • Solar storm could move the FOP
  • Conductivity of tether could be affected by electromagnetism

Forces and factors that need to be included in the model:

  • Gravity (from multiple bodies, at least sun & moon)
  • Rotation of earth
  • Solar and lunar tides
  • EM fields-need to develop a comprehensive 3D model of the radiation environment up to 17 earth radii (100,000 km)
  • Earth anchor location: what happens as the Marine Node is moved?
  • Tether properties: flexibility, torsional behaviour of ribbon, capacitance, conductivity (electrical & thermal), thermal expansion/contraction, albedo, moment of inertia, ...
    • Could model initially as Zylon (or similar), then change to CNT as properties become known
    • Need results from historical tether tests

Also, what sort of computer systems will be needed to run the integrated system model? These requirements can be estimated based on benchmark testing of existing tether models.

Conclusions and Highlights

It would be highly desirable to come up with an integrated tool that can combine a model of the tether's mechanical dynamics with its electrodynamics. These two will influence each other because electric currents induced in the tether will interact with the Earth's magnetic field. The model of the radiation environment needs to feed through to the tether's electrodynamics but does not need to be so closely coupled.


Ideas on tether materials included using bacteria or synthetic biology. A summary of active research work and contacts would be useful. Crowd sourcing may make progress; for example getting school-children to experiment with CNTs.

International cooperation could include writing science fiction with positive outcomes. The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) has set up an Academy Study on space elevators. Bilateral agreements between countries would be a good way to make progress; a global treaty can come later. We need to learn from the Obayashi Corporation in Japan and develop a story to attract other companies.

ISEC will be represented at the 2015 International Space Conference as a KNOWLEDGE PARTNER.  Mr. Sourabh Kaushal, a presenter at a recent Space Elevator Conference and an entrant into the Pearson Prize competition, will be talking about ISEC and handing out ISEC literature (ISEC Reports and CLIMB - The Space Elevator Journal) at the conference.

This sounds like an exciting event and a great reason to visit India - mark your calendars and make your reservations now!
ISEC Affiliations

National Space Society Update - "The annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) is the keynote event of the National Space Society (NSS), bringing together leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and business people from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. ISDC has been held in various locations throughout North America since 1982, featuring renowned speakers such as Buzz Aldrin, Eric Anderson, Charles Bolden, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Peter Diamandis, Lori Garver, Richard Garriott, Bill Nye, Elon Musk, Seth Shostak, Simon 'Pete' Worden, and many others. ISDC also features plenary talks, keynote speakers, multi-disciplinary tracks, exhibit hall, design contests, book signing, and more."  This year's conference will be in Toronto [May 20-24, 2015] with the theme of:  "Our Next Breakthroughs in Space Technologies."
What is ISEC?

The 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. For 2014-2015, ISEC has two themes; The Marine Node and a Materials Review.

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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