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..."

August 2015
In This Issue
The President's Corner
Space Elevator Conference summary
The Research Lab
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 August, 2015 edition of the ISEC eNewsletter.


The 2015 ISEC Space Elevator Conference has just wrapped up and, by all accounts, was a smashing success.  Engineers, scientists, researchers and enthusiasts from around the world gathered for the three-day conference to give presentations, conduct workshops and brainstorming sessions, compare notes and made contributions which help us further our understanding of the space elevator.

It was particularly gratifying to host the group that attended from Japan, including senior members of the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) and the Obayashi Corporation, a corporation which has the stated goal of building an earth-based space elevator by the year 2050.

The ISEC Board of Directors also held its annual meeting at the conference and a report from them will be in a forthcoming issue of the eNewsletter.

If you want to help us make a space elevator happen, JOIN ISEC and get involved!  A space elevator would truly revolutionize life on earth and open up the solar system and beyond to all of us.


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! 



The President's Corner

This month I would like to address an on-going discussion on the basic terminology for our space elevator culture.  The International Academy of Astronautics [organization that conducted SE study resulting in 300 page study report assessing feasibility of SE's[1]] is conducting a second study on space elevators and focusing on the systems engineering aspects.  As such, one of the first steps is to have a common lexicon for all to use in the process.  The suggestions are:
  • Apex Anchor (roughly 100,000 km altitude)
  • Mars Gate  (roughly 57,000 km altitude) - release to Mars
  • Lunar Gate (roughly 47,000 km altitude) - release to Moon
  • GEO Node (roughly 36,000 km altitude) - release to geosynchronous
  • LEO Gate (roughly 24,000 km altitude) - elliptical release to LEO
  • Lunar Gravity Center (roughly 8,900 km altitude) - Lunar gravity similarity
  • Mars Gravity Center (roughly 3,900 km altitude) - Mars gravity similarity
  • Marine Node
  • Tether Climbers (or just Climbers)
  • Tether
  • Headquarters and Primary Operations Center
Most of these terms are familiar to each of you.  Please look at them and send me your comments on the lexicon.  We are setting up a repository of terms to ensure consistency within the community.

There is one term we are puzzling over at this time.  ISEC has been going with 'Marine Node'.  Others have termed their concept of this as a:  

Terrestrial Node, Earth Node, Earth Port, Earth Anchor.

At the present time we have multiple words representing the tether terminus on the planet - please jump in and suggest which one we should use.

Keep Climbing my Friends --  Pete Swan


1 Swan, P., C.Swan, D. Raitt, S. Penny, J. Knapman, "
Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward." Virginia Edition, 2013. 
Space Elevator Conference Summary

The 2015 ISEC Space Elevator Conference was just completed and, by all accounts, was a great success.  ISEC Director and Conference Chair David Horn provides a brief summary of the events:

We had a great turnout for the 2015 Space Elevator Conference, August 21-23.  Around 60 presenters, attendees, and press from around the world participated in 3 days of presentations, workshops, and social events at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA.  Our keynote speaker, Ph.D. student Mark Hasse from the University of Cincinnati, presented the current state of research in high strength CNTs.  His talk illustrated the recent advances in creating CNT threads and forecast that we might have a 25 MYuri tether in 20 years.

The mini-workshop on marine node design provide great inputs into the 2015 ISEC study on this topic and the tether dynamics workshop helped to direct the next steps in tether dynamics simulations and studies.  Other presentations included power via the tether, space elevators in science fiction, tether experiments in space, and ideas to fund start-ups for space elevator technology research.  We were very happy to have so many members from JSEA and other organizations from Japan attend and present the latest space elevator construction plans, ISS experiments, and climber competitions in Japan.

(Picture is Mark Haase along with one of his presentation slides)


For the second year running, the ISEC Space Elevator Conference hosted the "Elevator speech competition", a competition where contestants had to give a short, 30-second pitch extolling the benefits of a space elevator.  Generically, these types of speeches are known as "elevator speeches" and it's hard to imagine a more perfect name for a pitch about space elevators.  Contest coordinator Peter Robinson gives a brief summary of the competition:

The 2015 conference saw the 2nd running of the 'Elevator Speech' competition.  Initial sign-up only had four entrants, but a further four entered on the day.  The final result was very close, with only a quarter point separating the first and second place winners : congratulations to Jake Tucker and Nick Regnier for their excellent presentations.

Thanks go to all the contestants for the variety of inspiration and humor in their speeches, all of which stayed within the 30-80 second time limit.  Thanks also must go to the four judges (Mark Haase, Skip Perry, Ruth Richter and Sandee Schaeffer) for doing a difficult task, and to Rudy Resch for taking over the complex score calculations at the last minute.

(ISEC President Dr. Peter Swan (right) presents contest winner Jake Tucker with the first prize gift certificate)


As part of the annual ISEC Space Elevator Conference, there is also a 'Robo Climb" competition where youngsters build battery-powered robotic climbers and then compete against each other for prizes.  These competitions have been held for several years and are always well-attended and a lot of fun.  Conference Chair David Horn reports this year's winners:

(Almost) Anything Goes

1st: Wasabi Z   (910)
2nd: Red Shirts (635)
3rd: Atomic Robotics (120)


1st: Cody Labs  (810)
2nd: Meadow Robotics Club #3   (440)
3rd: Space Invaders (430)

Engineering Award:  Cody Labs

Congratulations to all of the contestants!


More photos of the Conference can be found on our Flickr page.
The Research Lab

This months column is a summary of many of the science and research related topics that were discussed during the just-finished space elevator conference.

2015 Conference Research Report

A number of science-related topics were covered at the August 2015 conference : the following notes cover those directly relevant to the current ISEC earth space elevator vision.

The keynote speech by Mark Haase confirmed the promise of carbon nanotubes (CNT) as the lead material contender, but introduced alternative materials : boron nitride nanotubes do not quite match the strength of CNTs, but is far more inert and so less susceptible to oxidation and other reactions.

Dr. Bryan Laubscher described his ongoing experimental CNT work, and hinted that he may be able to reveal his progress in the near future.

Dr. Dennis Wright and Peter Robinson discussed tether dynamic simulation and described their tool benchmarking work undertaken in the last year : test cases run by analysts Jim Dempsey and Steven Patamia identified two distinct oscillation frequencies of the published tether configuration and indicated an error in the area taper equation.  This was followed by a simulation workshop, to be reported in more detail in a later newsletter.

The Marine Node (now renamed 'Earth Port') workshop will also be reported later, but identified some interesting new configuration options : for example, multiple (3+) tethers descending from some high-atmosphere junction node and connected to multiple platforms could address security concerns and may allow simpler lateral tether dynamic control using only reel in/out movement at sea level.

Dr. John Knapman discussed climber power transmission, describing a single-cable AC power transmission system that appears worthy of more extensive study.  He also mentioned an acoustic power transmission system proposed by Keith Lofstrom.

Last but not least, Yoji Ishikawa presented on the status of the concept development work in progress at Obayashi Corporation : he described an elevator concept with a higher lift capacity than the ISEC concept and included some results of dynamic simulation of various deployment scenarios.  These studies are ongoing, but are indicating a very substantial thruster fuel requirement during tether deployment from GEO to Earth.  In separate discussions he agreed that Obayashi would consider involvement in the ISEC dynamic model benchmarking process.
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.
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 and 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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