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Last week for ISEC Membership drive!

Just a reminder that this is the last week for the 2015 ISEC membership drive!

ISEC is holding its second annual Membership drive. A one-year Professional level membership, new or renewal, can be purchased for just $58 (regular price is $68) while a one-year Student level membership, new or renewal, can be purchased for just $20 (regular price is $25).

Any new or renewing members can choose as their membership benefit, any publication currently offered by ISEC. This includes any issue of CLIMB – The Space Elevator Journal or any of the several ISEC reports that have been produced; each of them giving an in-depth look at a specific aspect of the Space Elevator.

Professional level members are eligible to receive both the print and electronic versions of these publications while Student level members are eligible to receive the electronic versions of these publications.

This membership drive ends on February 28th so don’t delay – Join or Renew your membership now!

ISEC Membership Drive!

ISEC is holding its second annual Membership drive.  A one-year Professional level membership, new or renewal, can be purchased for just $58 (regular price is $68) while a one-year Student level membership, new or renewal, can be purchased for just $20 (regular price is $25).

Any new or renewing members can choose as their membership benefit, any publication currently offered by ISEC.  This includes any issue of CLIMB – The Space Elevator Journal or any of the several ISEC reports that have been produced; each of them giving an in-depth look at a specific aspect of the Space Elevator.

Professional level members are eligible to receive both the print and electronic versions of these publications while Student level members are eligible to receive the electronic versions of these publications.

This membership drive ends on February 28th so don’t delay – Join or Renew your membership now!

ISEC January 2015 eNewsletter now available

The January, 2015 eNewsletter from the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is now available.

You can access the eNewsletter here.

You can also view all eNewsletters that have been issued by ISEC by going to the ISEC website and then accessing the Resources -> ISEC eNewsletters tab.

Finally, you can sign up to be on the ISEC mailing list, ensuring that you’ll be among the first to be “in the know” about all the goings-on at ISEC.

Research Mini-Workshop

At the previous two ISEC Space Elevator conferences, several workshops were held as part of the daily proceedings.  These workshops, each devoted to a specific topic, were focus on advancing our understanding of the space elevator.  Dr. Peter Swan, the president of ISEC, has been instrumental in organizing these workshops and finding a leader for each of them.  Conference attendees participated in each of the workshops and the end result of each of them was a written summary of the discussion and an action plan to move forward.

The Summaries from most of these workshops were posted on the ISEC website (I had previously blogged about that here).

A new workshop summary has now been posted on the ISEC website – this from the 2014 Conference.  This workshop was held as part of the activities of the ISEC Research Committee.  The purpose of this committee, chaired by Dr. John Knapman, is to categorize and prioritize the issues which must be addressed as part of the effort in defining the parameters of a space elevator.

The goals of the workshop were specified as:

  • 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

You can find the summary of the Research workshop here.

All of the Summaries posted so far can be found on the ISEC website.  From the Home page, point to the Activities tab and you will then be able to see the Summaries from the 2013 and the 2014 ISEC Space Elevator conferences.

Jerome Pearson’s Keynote speech from the 2013 ISEC Space Elevator Conference

After a very long delay, the keynote speech given by Mr. Jerome Pearson, the American engineer who is credited with co-inventing the modern day concept of a space elevator, at the 2013 ISEC Space Elevator Conference, is finally available on Vimeo.

Jerome’s presentation focused on Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the noted science-fiction author who wrote, among many other works, the Fountains of Paradise, the book that interested a lot of people (including yours truly) in the idea of a space elevator.  Jerome provided technical assistance for this book and had a long friendship with Sir Arthur.

Jerome talks about the works of Sir Arthur, his life and his interactions with him.  It’s a very interesting speech by one of the pioneers in the effort to design and build a space elevator and is well worth the 37+ minutes you would invest in watching it.

Highly, highly recommended…

 

Summaries from Space Elevator Conference workshops now posted

Mini-Workshops were held at both the 2013 and 2014 ISEC Space Elevator Conferences.  These Workshops, conducted by a subject expert, delved more deeply into individual topics relating to the Space Elevator.  Summaries of many of these Workshops are now available here on the ISEC Website.  You can find them under the “Activities” tab on the Main Menu.

Summaries of all three of the Mini-Workshops held at the 2013 Conference are available as well as a summary for one of the 2014 Conference workshops.  Two additional Workshops were held at the 2014 Conference and summaries for those will be posted over the next couple of months.

These workshops are very useful exercises and also a lot of fun to participate in.  They have proven to be a very successful part of the Conference and will be, I’m sure, included in future conferences.

ISEC September, 2014 eNewsletter now out

The September, 2014 ISEC eNewsletter has now been published and is available here.

Among other topics, the eNewsletter discusses TWO space elevator documentaries with ongoing Kickstarter campaigns to help them finish up (I’ve blogged about one and am soon going to blog about the other) and also asks people to contribute to a new feature; “Why should we build a space elevator”?

You can sign up here if you want to get on the ISEC mailing list so that you’ll be among the first to be “in-the-know”!

65th International Astronautical Congress gets underway

The International Astronautical Foundation is hosting its 65th International Astronautical Congress in Toronto, Canada, from September 29th through October 3rd at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

The Space Elevator, and progress towards building it, will be well represented during this Conference. Dr. Peter Swan, the President of ISEC, will be giving a couple of presentations and Stephen Cohen, Technical Editor of Volume 3 of CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal will also be presenting.

2014 ISEC Space Elevator Conference Wrapup

Another Space Elevator Conference is in the books, three very interesting and successful days.  There were a lot of highlights and, in no particular order (and just my own opinion, of course) they are;

The attendance of several people from Japan and the Japan Space Elevator Agency (JSEA).  They are very, very interested in partnering with ISEC (or someone) to try and turn their Climber competition into a world-wide event.  I think this is a great idea, but as always with these things, it takes a “champion”, someone willing to spend the time in the US to actually make this happen.  There were some ideas as to organizers floated during the conference and I think more will show up.  I hope this happens.  Regardless, it was good to see the Japanese contingent.  Outside of ISEC, they are the only other organized group, to my knowledge, that is working to advance the cause of the space elevator.  The fact that they are all nice people and fun to be around is just an added bonus.

The increase in expertise and skill sets within ISEC.  During my four-year term as president, ISEC became a “real” organization; we became a 501c3, elected a Board of Directors, came up with Strategic Plans, began creating ISEC Reports and CLIMB Journals and began to sponsor the ISEC Space Elevator Conference.  Dr. Peter Swan became president at last year’s Conference and is really beginning to leverage his network of business, military and aerospace contacts that he has built up in his long and extensive career.  People such as Skip Penny, Michael Fitzgerald and Vernon Hall are all veterans of fields that have a direct bearing on being able to actually build a space elevator.  Their expertise will help us advance our understanding of a space elevator at a more rapid rate and with more knowledge than had been possible previously.  Pete has also brought in other speakers and contacts and has, in general, greatly raised the professionalism and knowledge of the ISEC network.

How well the conference was run.  This was the fourth (fifth?) year that David Horn and his network of volunteers has run the conference and it was a very competent job.  This year all of the presentations were taped and should be available on our YouTube or Vimeo network, another first.  I hope that David continues in this function for the next several years – he does a great job.

I could list more, like the Speech Competition, the well-run workshops, the awesomeness of the Museum of Flight as a Conference Venue, etc., but I think those three were my highlights.

See you in 2015!

(Picture thumbnail is of NBC’s Digital Science editor, Alan Boyle, interviewing ISEC President Dr. Peter Swan.   Clicking on this thumbnail, as for all other thumbnails on this blog, will display a full-size picture).

Mini-Workshop #3: Space Elevator Architectures and Roadmaps

The third and final workshop of the conference was put together to flesh out an initial Space Elevator Architectures and Roadmaps document put together by Michael Fitzgerald (“Fitzer”), the champion of this topic – the 2014 (current) ISEC Theme.

Fitzer was in overall charge of this workshop and is going to be heading up the ISEC report on this topic.  He has long and extensive expertise in studies of this type and is another example of the valuable skill set that ISEC President Dr. Peter Swan has been recruiting since he became president.

Three groups were created, each of them handling a different aspect of Space Elevator Architectures and Roadmaps.  After a brainstorming session, each group reported back to the conference at large.  At some future point, these reports will consolidated and made available to the public.

Space Elevator Speech Competition

New to the conference this year was a competition to create an “Elevator speech”.  If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the idea of such a speech is this; assume you’re in an elevator with someone who you want to convince of the need and usefulness of building a Space Elevator.  You have only a short time – it is an elevator ride.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, there are several articles available – a typical one is here.

Conference attendee Peter Robinson came up with the idea and was in charge of the competition.  It was announced at the beginning of the conference and a sign-up sheet was available for all those who wanted to participate.  The competition happened today, just before lunch.  There were a total of 7 speakers and 4 judges (of which I was honored to be one).

Each person talked, in turn, for no more than 90 seconds (Peter timed it and cut off the people who exceeded it) and the judges created scores on “Technical Merit” and “Style”.  Peter tabulated the scores and the winners were announced.  First place received a $100 Amazon gift certificate and Second Place received a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

Lana Gorlinski was awarded First Prize and Campbell Gorlinski was awarded Second Prize.  All of the competitors did a fine job.  This picture shows Lana and Campbell, with their prizes, and most of the rest of the Conference attendees.

This competition had a very practical aspect, making all of us who support the concept of a space elevator think in terms of convincing others, in a very short time, of the worthiness of the project.  I would expect this competition to become a fixture at future Space Elevator Conferences.

Mini-Workshop #2: Marine Node Design Concepts

Next up was the second mini-workshop of the conference, this one targeted towards requirements, design considerations, issues & concerns, etc., with a marine-based earth port.  “Conventional wisdom” says that the earth anchor of a space elevator will be based in the ocean (for details, see Dr. Brad Edwards & Eric Westlings book).  This has several advantages, but also brings up some problems vs. a land-based earth station.

Conference attendee Vernon Hall was in overall charge of this workshop and is going to be heading up the ISEC report on Marine Node Design Concepts (the 2015 ISEC theme).  Mr. Hall has extensive experience in designing ports, including the Port of Los Angeles and should be a very valuable resource for ISEC and their goal of increasing our understanding of the Space Elevator.

Four groups were created, each of them handling a different aspect of Marine Node Design.  After a brainstorming session, each group reported back to the conference at large.  At some future point, these reports will consolidated and made available to the public.

Living on Cloud 9: Or What We Could Do With a Lunar Space Elevator!

Next up was author Paul Wieland.  He talked about “sphere habitats that could be built on the moon and then “launched” to earth via a lunar elevator.  Paul said that Buckminster Fuller came up with this idea of sphere habitats (we’re talking about spheres 1,000 or 1,500 meters in diameter) and that, because they would be inhabited and that the inhabitants generate heat, this heat would cause the sphere to float.  He quickly ran through the numbers which claim that this could be true.  Frankly, I have to think about this and look at the numbers more thoroughly before I accept this as do-able, but the idea is very intriguing.

I have never heard of this idea before, but a quick Google search turned up a number of sites that discuss the concept, for example here and here.

Philanthropy vs. Investment – Starting a Space Elevator Institute

The first presentation of Day 3 was by ISEC President Dr. Peter Swan.  He talked about raising money for the space elevator effort and ran through the pro’s and con’s of starting up an Institute vs. a Charitable Foundation.  He talked about the type of people that could be approached, and the pitch that we in the community need to make; a space elevator is an investment in the future of mankind and should be approached that way.  A financial payoff is there, but it is considerably down the road and occurs only after a large investment in the infrastructure of a space elevator.

Dr. Swan made the point that philanthropic “types” can have this long-term vision and therefore could be approachable with such a pitch.  He concluded by talking about the ongoing efforts of he and ISEC to put together a “package” that can be used in this effort.

2014 ISEC Space Elevator Conference – Day 3

And Day 3 begins.  The conference began with ISEC President, Dr. Peter Swan, giving a special award of recognition to Ben Shelef.  Anyone who has followed the space elevator “arena” or this blog knows who he is, but for those of you who may not, Ben and his Spaceward Foundation partnered with NASA to create the Space Elevator Games.  This multi-year effort, targeted towards advancing the state of the art in power-beaming and strong tether development, culminated in the award of $900,000 to LaserMotive for their successful efforts in the 2009 Power Beaming competition.  These events were the first of these competitions and were the precursors of Climber competitions in both Japan and Europe.  They also generated a lot of publicity and put the space elevator “on the map” for a lot of people.  Ben also created the Space Elevator Feasibility Condition, a paper that quantifies tether strength and Climber power requirements in a rigorous manner, giving others a baseline to work for.  He’s also given multiple talks on the Space Elevator, provided a sanity check to space elevator development efforts and, I’m sure, other space-elevator related activities that I’m forgetting at the moment.

This award is well deserved – congratulations Ben and all of us in the space elevator community are much better off because of your involvement.

Robotics Competition & Day 2 wrapup…

The day wrapped up with the Robotics Competition.  This is an event which ISEC has been associated with for several years and it’s always a lot of fun.  Teams enter their robotic climbers which ascend/descend a 25 foot ribbon, multiple times hopefully, and carry “payload” which they deliver to the “space station” at the top of the ribbon.  A score, taking into account climber category, speed, payload delivered, etc. is calculated and then winners are announced.

There were winners in several categories; In the “(Almost) Anything Goes” category, WASABI finished first and Atomic Robots finished second.  In the “Lego only” category, Cody Labs finished first, Geosynchronous Robots finished second and The Climbing Scorpions finished third.  Finally, Cody Labs also won the Engineering Award for Best Engineered Robot.  All of the winners received gift certificates to the Microsoft store, donated by Microsoft. (Pictured are (l) David Schilling, creator of the Robotics competition and a representative from Cody Labs, receiving congratulations and the Microsoft Gift Certificate).

The kids enjoy it, the parents enjoy it and it teaches real building and troubleshooting skills to children, hopefully stimulating their interest in engineering disciplines for their future education.

A successful Day 2 of the Conference.  Lots of interesting topics and lots of audience participation – on to day 3.

The Space Elevator in the Earth’s Atmosphere

Dr. John Knapman give a presentation on how we deal with the Tether and the Climber within earth’s atmosphere.  Even though the distance of this portion of the trip is tiny compared to the total trip (~50km vs 100,000km), there are many “special” hazards which must be dealt with.  This consists of weather; wind, rain and lightning.

John discussed “Spring Forward” (winding up the tether at the ground, stretching the tether, attaching the Climber and then letting the tether “spring” back into its original shape), “Boxed Climber” (having the Climber packaged in a protective box for its journey through the atmosphere) and High Stage One (a structure built to have the elevator base station be above the atmosphere and thus bypass these problems altogether).

Leonard David – Space Elevator Conference

Science writer Leonard David is going to be attending the upcoming ISEC Space Elevator Conference (Aug 22-24) at Seattle’s Museum of Flight and is going to be giving the Keynote speech.  All of us who are going to attend are looking forward to it.

In his INSIDE OUTER SPACE column on his website, he lets all of his readers and followers know he will be attending.  Thanks Leonard – looking forward to meeting you and listening to you!

Last chance to register!

Registration for the upcoming ISEC Space Elevator Conference will be closed in just a couple of days – register now or you’ll regret it later!

The conference is jam-packed with exciting presentations and workshops and don’t forget the Keynote presentation from noted author Leonard David.

I’ll be attending the Conference, as I normally do, and will be blogging updates throughout the three-day event.

Be there or be square!

April 2014 ISEC eNewsletter released

The April, 2014 ISEC eNewsletter is hot off the presses and has been sent to all of ISEC’s subscribers.  Lots of good stuff in this issue, mostly about the upcoming ISEC Space Elevator Conference.  This includes a reminder Call for Papers for the Conference, notice that Registration is now OPEN and, a special announcement about the Keynote Speaker.

ISEC is very pleased to announce that long-time science writer Leonard David will be giving the Keynote speech at the conference.  I’ve read (and linked to his writings) for many years now and look forward to a) hearing what he has to say and b) finally being able to meet him.  His list of accomplishments, writings and awards is too long to list here – check out the April eNewsletter for a partial list.

So, check out the current issue now.  And, you can always sign up to receive the eNewsletter so that you’ll among the first with the latest news.

I hope to meet many of you at the conference!

Registration is now open for the 2014 Space Elevator Conference!

Registration is now OPEN for the ISEC 2014 Space Elevator Conference, to be held from August 22nd through the 24th at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.  This is the same venue that ISEC has used for the past several conferences and it is absolutely perfect fit for this conference.

A full schedule is being planned, with many presentations, several workshops, a Family Day Science Fest and much more.

And, a special announcement as to the Keynote speaker for this conference will be shared soon – watch this space!  Early Bird prices are now available so don’t delay.

Be there or be square!

March 2014 ISEC eNewsletter released

The latest issue of the ISEC eNewsletter has just been released.  Lots of good information in this issue including how to register for the upcoming 2014 Space Elevator Conference (you ARE going, aren’t you?), updates on the ISEC Research Committee, ISEC being a supporter of the upcoming NSS/ISDC conference and more.

Check it out here.

And remember, you can join our eNewsletter list so you’ll always be one of the first to get updates from ISEC.

2014 Space Elevator Conference official announcement and Call for Papers

The official announcement for the 2014 Space Elevator Conference and its associated Call for Papers has been released.  You can view the announcement here.

The Conference will be held at the same venue as the past few conferences have been, Seattle’s Museum of Flight.  This venue has proven to be a wonderful facility for this event and we are looking forward to having it there once again.  And once again, Microsoft is going to be a Key Sponsor of the Conference – Thank you Microsoft!

The Conference will be held from August 22 through August 24th.  Start making your plans now – be there or be square!

ISEC February, 2014 eNewsletter released

The February, 2014 ISEC eNewsletter is hot off the presses and can be accessed here.

Included this month are Dr. Peter Swan’s “The President’s Corner”, an updated Call for Papers for the 2014 edition of CLIMB (The Space Elevator Journal), and a summary of recent space elevator-related articles in the news.

And a reminder, if you are not already on the eNewsletter mailing list, you can join here to make sure you won’t miss an issue in the future…

Enjoy!

ISEC Membership Drive!

For the month of February only, ISEC has launched a Membership drive which features reduced rates for Professional and Student Level members!  This applies to renewals and new members.  Professional level membership can be purchased/renewed for only $58 (normally $68) while Student level membership can be purchased/renewed for only $20 (normally $25).

Full membership benefits (CLIMB and the ISEC 2014 Poster) apply, so don’t delay.  Visit the ISEC Join/Renew webpage now and take advantage of this offer!

CLIMB – Call for Papers

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) has issued its official Call for Papers for Volume 3 of CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal.

Volumes 1 and 2 of CLIMB were published in 2011 and 2013, respectively, and ISEC is targeting August of this year for the publication of Volume 3.

You can find the official Call for Papers document here, giving details as to the subject matter desired and the submission / publication process and schedule here.

Abstracts are required first and should be accepted before Papers are submitted (details are in the Call for papers announcement).  For the most up-to-date information, please visit the CLIMB page on the ISEC website.

Questions can be emailed to climb [at] isec.org.

Volume 1 of CLIMB was the “Yuri Artsutanov” edition while Volume 2 of CLIMB was the “Jerome Pearson edition”.  Volume 3 will be dedicated to the man who almost certainly popularized this concept more than anyone else, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

So come on everyone, let’s get those writer juices flowing!

(Clicking on either of the CLIMB Cover thumbnails will display a full-size version of the Cover)

ISEC January, 2014 eNewsletter released

The January, 2014 ISEC eNewsletter is hot off the presses and can be accessed here.

Lots of good stuff this month, including the Call for Papers for the 2014 edition of CLIMB (The Space Elevator Journal), the 2014 ISEC membership drive (where you can join/renew an ISEC membership for reduced rates) and a report on the recently concluded IAA Space Agency Heads of Summit gathering in Washington, D.C.

And a reminder, if you are not already on the eNewsletter mailing list, you can join here to make sure you won’t miss an issue in the future…

Enjoy!

IAA concludes Space Elevators Seem Feasible

The International Academy of Astronautics has just published its multi-year study about the Space Elevator (I first mentioned this study here).  It’s conclusion was “Space Elevators Seem Feasible” and that’s, of course, good news, to all of us who are supportive of the concept.  From the Press Release:

                 “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.  There were 41 authors and five editors.  The sponsors of this study report are:  International Academy of Astronautics and the Heinlein Foundation Trust.  To order a copy visit:  www.virginiaedition.com or call (713) 861-3600.  The prices are $29.95 for hardcopy and $9.95 for electronic version.

As noted in the press release, visit The Virginia Edition to purchase the hardcopy version or Amazon to purchase the Kindle eVersion.

ISEC November, 2013 eNewsletter now available

The current month’s email summarizes the availability of the pdf version of CLIMB, Volume 2, reminds everyone of the dates and venue for the 2014 Space Elevator Conference, a summary of the third of the workshops held at the recent Space Elevator conference and more.

You can access it here.

You can also sign up to be on the ISEC email list here if you want to have the eNewsletters sent directly to you.

Historian wanted!

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) has formed a History Committee to document the invention of the concept of the Space Elevator and the ever-increasing research and design which is taking place relating to this idea.  Dr. Peter Swan, the President of ISEC, puts it this way:

“We are at a point in human history where there is activity to move off planet.  As most of the world is limited by cost to orbit, we in the space elevator community believe we can make a difference in the future.  However, as we go forward, we should also look back and record the progress that has occurred in the space elevator community.  No one else will, until much later; so, we must step up and record our own history now.”

An initial team has already been formed and an aggressive agenda has been set, but Dr. Swan is looking for someone to head up the effort.  The first Conference call of the History Committee is set to occur next Tuesday, November 12th.  If you are interested in joining the team and/or heading up the effort, please contact Dr. Swan at pete.swan [at] isec.org.

ISEC October, 2013 eNewsletter now available

The current month’s email discusses the new “Historian” initiative by ISEC, dates and venue for the 2014 Space Elevator Conference, a summary of the second of the workshops held at the recent Space Elevator conference and more.

You can access it here.

You can also sign up to be on the ISEC email list here if you want to have the eNewsletters sent directly to you.

ISEC September, 2013 eNewsletter now available

The current month’s email discusses ISEC’s new affiliation with the National Space Society (NSS), reveals the summary of one of the workshops held at the recent Space Elevator conference and more.

You can access it here.

You can also sign up to be on the ISEC email list here if you want to have the eNewsletters sent directly to you.

2013 Space Elevator Conference – Day 3

The 2013 Space Elevator Conference wrapped up today with another full schedule.  Attendees got one last “fill” of informative and interesting presentations as well as a chance to participate in 2 more workshops.

The first activity of the day was an informal polling of the audience as to this question: What would you do with a space elevator?  The answers ranged from the serious (colonize the Moon & Mars, send radioactive waste to the sun or to the moon for storage) to the whimsical (bring old cars up the tether and drop them from several kilometers up and then watch them burn up in the atmosphere!).  This activity happens at every Conference and it’s always interesting to see what new ideas arise.  The exercise does serve a serious purpose, helping to identify potential customers for a functioning Space Elevator.

The first presentation of the day was Electric Currents on the Space Elevator and was given by Dennis Wright.  He addressed one of the objections that is commonly raised against the space elevator, the concern of electrical currents which might be induced in the Space Elevator by various space-related factors and the fact that a Space Elevator is, in fact, a 100km long object that rotates along with the earth.  There are many unknowns about a structure like this, but Mr. Wright took the “knowns”, added some reasonable guesses for the “unknowns”, and came up with some preliminary conclusions.  In general, it doesn’t look like these induced currents are much of a problem (big caveat about the unknowns of course), but he did point out a potential electrical danger from broken strands of the elevator.  It was a very interesting talk and it’s clear that this type of investigation needs to be ongoing.

This talk was followed by multiple “Shotgun Science Sessions”.  This is a fixture of Space Elevator conferences now, a series of “5 minute”, “not ready for prime time” presentations where people can stand up and propose practically anything they want.  The audience then has a chance to ask questions and, perhaps, shoot the idea down.  These sessions ranged from being a Sci-Fi author, to how to dig regolith on the moon, to using a Space Elevator to send radioactive waste to the sun to everything in between.  These are lots of fun and have the added benefit of really getting the audience involved.  Presenters also know that they can speak without fear of being ridiculed – every idea is treated respectfully (even when it gets shot down!).

Following lunch, we then had the final two Workshops of the Conference.  This first was conducted by Dr. Bryan Laubscher and was entitled Balloon Experiments Workshop.  Dr. Laubscher wants to set up a competition for school age kids (middle school through College) that would, loosely defined, have teams who build Climbers that ascend/descend tethers that hang from balloons.  Teams would be judged on the kind of data they could collect, robustness, and several other suggestions made from the audience.  I hope Bryan gets this off the ground (pun intended) – it sounds like a lot of fun!

The last workshop was the Space Elevator Operations Workshop and was orchestrated by Skip Penny.  Skip was the chief author of the recently published ISEC study on Space Elevator operations. Skip reviewed the report and its updates and then gave a brief talk on challenges / opportunities in operating a Space Elevator.  The group then broke up into several sub-groups, each tasked with looking at a different problem or challenge in Space Elevator operations.  It was interesting, but not really unexpected, that the sub-groups came up with more questions than answers…

The day wound up with an open conversation between the audience and the Conference organizers as to possible improvement for future events & conferences.  There were lots of good ideas presented as to advertising, affiliations and workshops and I’m sure the conference organizers will use this input to make next year’s conference even better.

So, the 2013 Space Elevator Conference has come to a close – and it was a wonderful 3 days.  Once again I learned a lot, met a lot of interesting and fun people and had my enthusiasm for the Space Elevator project brought to new heights (once again, pun intended).

See you here next year!

(The top picture  thumbnail is of Dennis Wright giving his presentation on Electric Currents on the Space Elevator.  The middle thumbnail is of one of the Shotgun Science presenters – Jun Kikuchi – giving his presentation on why a Space Elevator would be very handy to have – to lift radioactive waste off of the planet and to fling it towards the sun.  The bottom thumbnail is of Skip Penny, orchestrating the Space Elevator Operations Workshop.  By clicking on any of the thumbnails, you can see a full-size version of the picture.)

2013 Space Elevator Conference – Day 1

Today, Friday – August 23rd, was the first day of this year’s annual Space Elevator Conference, hosted by ISEC.  For the second year in a row, it is being held at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, a truly outstanding venue for conferences such as ours.

We had a very full first day – several presentations, including a Keynote speech by one of the co-founders of the Space Elevator, American engineer Jerome Pearson, and a Tether-Climber workshop.

The day started out with a welcoming speech from the ISEC Conferences Chair David Horn, followed by a Space Elevator System Overview given by Dr. Peter Swan.  This was followed by a short ISEC Officers report (more about this in another post).

Then Jerome Pearson gave the Keynote address – Sir Arthur Clarke and the Space Elevator.  Jerome talked about his long relationship with Sir Arthur, how they met, how they worked together on projects, including Sir Arthur’s brilliant book The Fountains of Paradise and many other related topics.  His anecdotes about their relationship and other stories from Sir Arthur’s life were truly interesting.  Anyone who is a fan of the Space Elevator and/or Sir Arthur would see this speech as a “must-view”.  I video-taped it and, when I get home and can punch up the audio to a respectable level, I’ll post it on the ISEC YouTube channel for all to see.  Mr. Pearson has a brilliant and agile mind and it was very enjoyable to get to meet him again.  He is currently doing work with NASA (his EDDE project) to help remove Space Debris – a necessary and long-overdue task.

After a short break, Dr. Martin Lades gave a remote presentation (he is in Germany where he resides) on Climber-Tether Interfaces for a Space Elevator.  I think most people, when they think about the problem at all, just assume that you can equip a Tether-Climber with some sort of pinch-roller mechanism to propel the Climber up/down the tether.  Alas, it’s not so simple – the devil is always in the details.  The profile of the tether is very small and it is believed that a carbon nanotube-based tether will have a very low friction co-efficient.  Solving this with brute-force (i.e. having the rollers pinch the ribbon very tightly) introduce their own problems.  Dr. Lades discussed the various options which might be used to solve this problem.

Mechanical Engineer Larry Bartoszek (making his first appearance at a Space Elevator Conference in 9 years) then talked about the difficulty of Getting the Mass of the First Construction Climber under 900kg (something postulated in Dr. Edwards book).  The problem appeared difficult, if not impossible to solve 9 years ago, and little has changed today.  If a way is not found to solve this problem, then it may not be possible to have a series of construction Climbers “build up” the tether as originally envisioned – another solution will need to be found.  As with Dr. Lades presentation, Mr. Bartoszek showed us that the devil is in the details…

After lunch, Dr. Bryan Laubscher gave a presentation on various methods that might be used in Powering Space Elevator Climbers and the status / likelihood of each.  This was followed by Dr. John Knapman’s presentation on the First 40kms Danger and Approach.  Both presentations gave the audience an opportunity to further their understanding of how a Space Elevator might actually be constructed and operated.

Following these presentations and a break, the first workshop of the Conference then took place, this on Tether Climbers.  I gave a short intro and description of a possible “hybrid” climber (using a combination of conventional, laser and solar power) and this was followed by Dr. Knapman presenting the possibility of thinking of how to power climbers in terms of “Constant Power” rather than “Constant Speed” and the tradeoffs that would result.  Both of these brief presentations were to get the audience in the mind of thinking about alternatives when it comes to imagining how the Climbers would work.  The audience then broke up into 5 brainstorming groups where these ideas and others were discussed.  Each group then made a brief presentation about their deliberations and some very interesting ideas were proposed.  Dr. Peter Swan and Skip Penny are going to summarize these and post them on the ISEC website within 60 days.  Of course I’ll have a post here on the blog about it.

The day wound up with an Evening Mixer at the Museum of Flight’s Red Barn Gallery.

It was a wonderful first day and everyone who attended thoroughly enjoyed it – more tomorrow!

(Top picture thumbnail is of Jerome Pearson.  Bottom picture thumbnail is of Dr. Peter Swan (with an assist from David Horn) showing a scale model of the earth and a space elevator tether.  Click on either thumbnail to see a full-size version of the picture.)

ISEC July eNewsletter now available

The ISEC eNewsletter for July has just been released and is available here. All ISEC eNewsletters are available here.

Stories include announcements about the upcoming Conference, the recently released CLIMB Volume 2 report and the IAA Space Elevator report, scheduled to be released in the near future.

You can sign up for our eNewsletters at the ISEC Web site.

Volume 2 of CLIMB now available!

Volume 2 / Number 1 of CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal, is now available in printed format!  This issue contains some of the best, peer-reviewed Papers relating to a space elevator that have been written since Volume 1 was released in December of 2011.  It also includes, as Volume 1 did, several Additional Reading articles which we at ISEC think will be of great interest to the Space Elevator enthusiast.

Volume 1 of CLIMB was the “Yuri Artsutanov” issue and Volume 2 of CLIMB is the “Jerome Pearson” issue.  We have honored these engineers in the first two issues of CLIMB as they were the original inventors of the Space Elevator concept that is referenced today in all serious work on this subject.  I’d like to also note that Jerome Pearson will be the Keynote speaker at this year’s Space Elevator Conference (you are coming, aren’t you?) and will be at the conference all 3 days.  It will be a great opportunity for you to purchase a copy of CLIMB at the Conference (unless you have already received it as part of your membership benefits) and have Jerome autograph it for you.

The plan is now to publish future issues of CLIMB each year in the June/July timeframe, this to be coordinated with the annual Space Elevator Conference.  So, you can look forward to future issues of CLIMB each year.

To purchase Volume 2 of CLIMB, or any other ISEC publication, visit the ISEC Store or our publisher, Lulu.com.

Enjoy!

2012 Space Elevator Conference Proceedings now available

The Proceedings for last year’s Space Elevator Conference are now available at the ISEC Store.  This was an excellent conference, with many strong presentations.  If you attended the Conference, this CD will be mailed to you in the next several days.  For those of you who may have missed the conference, the $20 purchase price for the CD is a bargain.

Also available on the ISEC Store are the Conference proceedings for the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Space Elevator conferences as well as the Space Elevator Journal, CLIMB, the ISEC Reports and the ISEC Posters.

How to find us…

Just a reminder about ISEC’s unified social presence – and that is ISECdotORG!

The (new)ISEC Facebook page is ISECdotORG!

The ISEC Flickr Photostream is ISECdotORG!

The ISEC Twitter Feed is ISECdotORG!

And The ISEC YouTube channel is ISECdotORG!

The old ISEC Facebook page, International Space Elevator Consortium, has been discontinued.

So, Like, Follow and Watch ISEC at ISECdotORG!

Reminder – Early Bird prices for the upcoming Space Elevator conference end Sunday!

Sunday is the last day to purchase tickets for the upcoming Space Elevator Conference at the “Early Bird” prices.  Beginning Monday, July 1st, ticket prices revert to full-board…

This conference, scheduled for August 23rd through the 25th, is talked about in more detail in a previous post on this blog and in the current ISEC eNewsletter.

It’s going to be a GREAT conference and I hope to see all of you there!

ISEC June eNewsletter now available

The ISEC eNewsletter for June has just been released and is available here.  All ISEC eNewsletters are available here.

Stories include announcements about the upcoming Conference, the recently released ISEC CONOPS report, results from a recent Climber competition in Japan and a description of our new Social Media presence.

You can sign up for our eNewsletters at the ISEC Web site.

Tickets for the 2013 Space Elevator Conference now on sale!

Tickets for the upcoming Space Elevator Conference are now on sale!  Prices have been reduced from previous years and are a better bargain than ever.  “Early Bird” prices are available through the end of June after which registration fees will revert to the full price.

The conference, to be held on August 23rd through the 25th, will again be hosted at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.  Last year was our first at this new venue and it was truly outstanding.  The seating arrangement (large, round tables) was much more conducive to conversation among the attendees and the ‘backdrop’ of the Museum of Flight has to be experienced to be believed.

So, don’t wait – sign up now!  We have a very full schedule including several presentations and a few workshops.  And, as an added bonus, Jerome Pearson, the American Engineer who independently invented the idea of a tensile-based space elevator, will be the Keynote speaker!.  This year’s version of CLIMB is the “Jerome Pearson” edition and if you bring your copy to the conference (or purchase a copy at the conference), I’m sure Jerome will be happy to autograph it for you.

See you there!

New ISEC Report released – Space Elevator Concept of Operations

The second in an ongoing series of ISEC reports has been released; Space Elevator Concept of Operations.  This report was written by ISEC Board Members Skip Penny and Peter Swan and co-authored by Cathy Swan.  Other ISEC Board members made suggestions and critiques during the creation process and comments and suggestions were also made in a workshop at the 2012 Space Elevator Conference devoted to this report.

From the Introduction:

This report addresses initial commercial operations of a space elevator pair with robotic climbers.  This report has been developed to help define a starting point for an initial space elevator infrastructure.  It is assumed that there are two space elevators in place to ensure continuation of our escape from the gravity well.  It also assumes that a sufficient number of climbers are available for delivering of spacecraft and other payloads to orbit, and, if required, return them to earth.  In addition, this report is designed to be the initial operations concept from which many improvements will occur as future knowledge and experience drives infrastructure concept revisions.  The description of a concept of operations, including a quick look at the transportation to space infrastructure, is broken into four sections:

Part I: Mission Description
Part II: System Characteristics
Part III: System of Systems Operations
Part IV: “A Day-in-the-Life”

Priced at only $7.00, this study is an important step in fulfilling an ongoing goal of ISEC: – taking away reasons why people can say “No” to the idea of a Space Elevator.

The report is now available from the ISEC shop at Lulu.com and will also be available from the ISEC Store.

(Click on the thumbnail picture of the cover to see a full-size image).

The 2013 Space Elevator Conference

The 2013 Space Elevator Conference will be held from Friday, August 23rd through Sunday, August 25th at the Museum of Flight, in Seattle, Washington.  Last year’s conference was the first one held at this new venue – and the venue truly lived up to its billing.

Planning for the Conference is well under way.  Conferences Chair David Horn has been hosting bi-weekly planning calls for several months now and this conference promises to be better than ever.

A Call for Papers for the conference has been issued and papers are now starting to trickle in.  If you’re interested in submitting a paper for the conference, or just learning more about the conference, visit the website.

Mark your calendars now – be there or be square!

Space Elevator conference registration now open!

Registration is now open to attend the 2012 Space Elevator Conference.  Register prior to July 9th to take advantage of the “Early Bird Special” pricing!

As noted earlier, the conference this year will be held from August 25th through the 27th at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, the first time in this venue and the first time that the conference has been organized by the International Space Elevator Consortium.

Lots of events and speakers are scheduled and, if the ‘early returns’ are any indication, this promises to be the best conference ever.

Make your plans now and we’ll see you there!

Space Elevator Conference moves to the Museum of Flight!

ISEC is very proud to announce that this year’s Space Elevator Conference, the first organized by ISEC, will be held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.  Conference dates are August 25-27.

The official Press Announcement:

For 2012, the Space Elevator Conference moves to The Museum of Flight!

The International Space Elevator Consortium is proud to announce that the 2012 Space Elevator Conference will now be held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.  The conference dates remain the same, August 25th through August 27th, 2012, with the Family Science Fest being held on August 25th.  Come experience learning, brainstorming, and working together surrounded by an atmosphere of invention and discovery!  Conference and family science fest attendees will be stimulated and energized by the planes hanging from the Great Gallery glass ceiling or watching a jet take off from the Boeing Field runway.  This will be a fantastic new venue for the conference!

3-Day Technical Conference
The theme of this year’s technical conference is “Operating and Maintaining a Space Elevator”.  There is still time to submit your abstracts and papers for the technical conference.  The abstract deadline has been extended to May 18th (the draft and final paper deadlines are still the same).  Abstracts and papers are coming in steadily and we want to be sure we have a great set of presentations for the technology, business, legal, and outreach sessions.

Family Science Fest

The Family Science Fest on Saturday, August 25th will also be held at the Museum of Flight.  This event is open to the public and is included in the Museum of Flight admission price.  The Family Science Fest includes Space Elevator 101 and 201 presentations, a youth robotics competition, exhibits from universities and science clubs, and much more.

Registration, Lodging, and More Info Coming Soon
More details of the conference technical program and the Family Science Fest will be posted on the conference website (http://spaceelevatorconference.org) in early May including registration, lodging, and other information as it becomes available.  Please note the the conference web site will be updated with a new look and feel the end of April.

The Space Elevator is one of the most magnificent Engineering projects ever conceived.  It promises abundant access to space and a multitude of benefits for humanity.  Come to the Conference and hear presentations and discussion with people working to make the Space Elevator a reality!

So, mark your calendars and make your reservations.  This Conference promises to be the most exciting ever!

ISEC February, 2012 eNewsletter released

Just released – the ISEC February, 2012 eNewsletter!

Lots of articles including the announcement of CLIMB, status on the IAA Cosmic Study, the 2012 Space Elevator Conference, the 2012 ISEC Theme and a Call for Papers for both the next volume of CLIMB and the Space Elevator Conference.

If you’re not receiving this eNewsletter directly and would like to do so, just sign up – it’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Happy Reading!

CLIMB Volume 2 – Call for Papers

CLIMB CoverNow that ISEC has finally succeeded in publishing and releasing Volume 1 of CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal, ISEC has now issued its official “Call for Papers” for Volume 2.

This is the official “Call for Papers” for the second issue of CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal.  We recently released our first issue of CLIMB – you can take a look at it / purchase it here:

Your article must have some relevance to the Space Elevator itself or to technologies that will be needed to build and operate a Space Elevator.

Article submission deadline is May 15th (this year!) as we want to have this issue published in time for the 2012 Space Elevator Conference (tentatively scheduled for August of this year).

We will soon have the format specifications ready.  If you are interested in submitting an article, please send me, ted [AT] isec.info, an email letting me know.

The first issue of CLIMB is something we’re very proud of and, with your help, we can make the second issue even better.

Thank you.

Ted Semon
President – ISEC

We have again assembled a top-notch review team and we’re confident that the second issue of CLIMB will be as technically excellent as the first issue was.