Posts filed under 'ISEC'

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).

Add comment August 22nd, 2014

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!

Add comment August 20th, 2014

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!

Add comment August 18th, 2014

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!

Add comment April 29th, 2014

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!

Add comment April 14th, 2014

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.

Add comment March 31st, 2014

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!

Add comment March 8th, 2014

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…


Add comment March 2nd, 2014

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!

Add comment February 11th, 2014

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]

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)

Add comment February 3rd, 2014

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…


Add comment January 31st, 2014

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: 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.

1 comment December 14th, 2013

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.

Add comment December 1st, 2013

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]

Add comment November 5th, 2013

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.

Add comment October 28th, 2013

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.

2 comments September 27th, 2013

ISEC August, 2013 eNewsletter now available

The current month’s email discusses the recent conference, our new slate of Officers and more.

You can access it here.

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

Add comment August 30th, 2013

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.)

Add comment August 25th, 2013

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.)

Add comment August 23rd, 2013

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.

Add comment July 30th, 2013

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,


1 comment July 29th, 2013

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.

Add comment July 4th, 2013

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!

Add comment July 1st, 2013

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!

Add comment June 27th, 2013

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.

Add comment June 10th, 2013

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!

Add comment June 7th, 2013

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 and will also be available from the ISEC Store.

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

2 comments May 31st, 2013

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!

Add comment March 21st, 2013

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!

Add comment June 2nd, 2012

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 ( 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!

2 comments April 24th, 2012

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!

Add comment February 29th, 2012

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], 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.

Add comment February 15th, 2012

ISEC welcomes Robert “Skip” Penny as a new Director

ISEC is very pleased to announce that Robert “Skip” Penny has joined its Board of Directors effective immediately.  A brief bio:

Robert E. “Skip” Penny, Jr. graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 1970 with a Bachlor of Science degree. Over his 20 year Air Force career, he held a breadth of command and staff positions in NORAD/ADCOM, Air Force Space Command, US Space Command, and Air Force Technical Applications Center retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Upon retirement in 1990, he joined Motorola on the Iridium satellite program. As a System Engineer, he initially provided operations input to the early Iridium system design including authorship of the Iridium System Operations Concept and the Control Segment Operations Concept.  He was a key contributor to initial release and multiple updates to A level specifications and segment interface control documents. He generated multiple Iridium Technical Notes on operations related functions including a probability of collision assessment with recommendations for debris mitigation.

In 2000, he went to work for General Dynamics as Senior System Engineer. He was Network and Communications Integrated Product Team Lead for General Dynamics-Lockheed Martin GPS III System Engineering and Integration Team. He was responsible for system and segment level requirements and resulting design of GPS III’s network of ground and space nodes including crosslinks.

Skip has a Master of Science degree from the US Air Force Institute of Technology. His Masters thesis was a computer simulation that predicted the probability of collision for the US Space Shuttle using a methodology that has since been adopted by AIAA, and many space operators. He also has a Master of Arts in Procurement Management from Webster College.

Skip has a long-time interest in the Space Elevator and was a co-author, along with Peter and Cathy Swan of the just released ISEC Report on Space Elevator Survivability - Space Debris Mitigation.

Skip’s initial focus with ISEC is going to be on designing a plausible Operations Scenario for a Space Elevator system.  To date, this has not been done and it is the crucial first step to satisfy one of our goals for 2011, coming up with a cost of Operations for a Space Elevator.  There have been several estimates generated for the cost of BUILDING a Space Elevator but none, to my knowledge, for MAINTAINING and OPERATING a Space Elevator system.  These costs will, over time, almost certainly far exceed the initial construction costs.

No justification exists (again, to my knowledge) for the oft-repeated statement that shipping cargo to space will be cheaper via a Space Elevator than via rockets.  I think we all feel that this is almost certainly true, but no one is going to build one unless they can have a handle on the actual costs.  And no one can estimate how much such a system costs unless they can first have a plausible, detailed scenario on how such a system might be run.  There are literally hundreds of questions which must be answered and now we have someone on board who has the interest and skills necessary to answer these questions.

More will be posted soon on how Skip plans to go about this; which scenario he is going to adopt, what tools he is going to use to generate costs, how he can make it a collaborative effort, etc.

In the meantime, we’re very excited to have him on our Board of Directors.  Welcome Skip - we’re very glad you’re here!

(Skip is pictured here at last year’s Space Elevator Conference, held at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington.  Click on the picture thumbnail to see a full-size version of the picture).

Add comment February 20th, 2011

ISEC Releases its first ISEC Report

I am very happy to announce that the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) has released its first ISEC Report (formerly known as ISEC Red Team Studies).  In our first strategic plan (2010), we set out a goal of releasing a report every year addressing the ISEC Theme for the year.  In 2010, our theme was “Space Elevator Survivability - Space Debris Mitigation” and this is the title of our first ISEC Report.

The report was co-authored by Peter Swan (a Director and Vice-President at ISEC), Peter’s wife Cathy Swan and Robert “Skip” Penny.  The front cover design was done by ISEC’s own Graphic Artist Frank Chase and modeled after the 2010 ISEC Poster.  I just received a copy of it and I am very impressed with the quality of both the writing and the presentation of the book.  It’s in 6×9 soft-cover format,

From the summary:

The International Space Elevator Consortium has placed this position paper as a recognition that the space debris problem is an engineering one and can be mitigated. The question: “Will space debris be a show stopper for space elevators?” is answered emphatically. NO! The mitigation concepts presented change the issue from a perceived problem to an engineering concern; but, by no means is it a significant threat. This pamphlet illustrates how the development office for a future space elevator can attack this problem, predict probabilities of collision, and convert the concern into another manageable engineering problem.

You can purchase this book at for $14.50.

Thank you Peter, Cathy and Skip!

7 comments February 16th, 2011

Announcing the 2011 Artsutanov and Pearson prizes

In 2010, ISEC announced the Yuri Artsutanov & Jerome Pearson prizes, prizes established to foster research into Space Elevator related topics.  There were no winners in 2010, though we had two papers that qualified for Honorable Mentions in the Artsutanov Prize.

The Pearson Prize, sponsored by the Leeward Space Foundation, is open to all Undergraduate students.   The Artsutanov Prize, sponsored by the Space Elevator Blog, is open to everyone (ISEC Directors and Officers excepted).

ISEC is very pleased to announce the 2011 Artsutanov & Pearson prizes.  Unlike 2010, where eligible papers for the Pearson prize had to be on the Yearly ISEC Theme while papers for the Artsutanov prize could be on any Space Elevator subject, for 2011, papers for both competitions must address the 2011 ISEC Theme.  This theme is “Developing stronger, lighter tethers - 30 MYuris or bust!“.  The specific topic papers for both competitions must address is:

The biggest hurdle on the way to building a Space Elevator is constructing a tether that is strong enough and light enough. We estimate that a tether with a minimum strength of 30 MYuris1 will be sufficient to construct the Space Elevator and ISEC wishes to promote research and thought targeted towards this goal.  Therefore, the 2011 Artsutanov and Pearson prizes will both be awarded for the papers that make the most significant contribution towards a 30 MYuri tether.

Now, we don’t actually expect anyone to submit a paper which shows us how to make a 30MYuri tether (though we will all be thrilled if this actually happens), but the paper must be a serious effort to advance the state of the art in this area.  Consequently, we expect people like chemists, physicists, materials engineers, etc., to submit papers on growing longer, stronger carbon nanotubes.  Other people may submit papers on turning these tubes into stronger threads.  Or perhaps the specific topic of a paper might be on how to use composites to make the overall tether stronger.  In any case, the paper must advance our understanding of how we can get closer to constructing a 30 MYuri tether.

Questions about the competition may be answered on the ISEC website.  You may also email the prize committee at or and the competition chair will get back to you promptly with answers to any of your specific questions.

One final note - though both prizes are going to be awarded for papers on the same theme, eligible contestants for the Pearson prize MUST be currently enrolled in a 2 or 4 year accredited undergraduate program.  Papers in the two competitions will be judged separately - they will not compete against each other.

There is a $1,500 cash award for the Pearson prize and a $2,500 award for the Artsutanov prize, so get those thinking caps on!  And, if you know of anyone who may not be a reader of this blog and might be interested in entering a paper, please let them know about the competition.

3 comments February 6th, 2011

ISEC awards its second “Honorable Mention” for the 2010 Artsutanov Prize

In an earlier post, I wrote about ISEC awarding an Honorable Mention for the Artsutanov Prize.

Based on a re-review of all of the papers submitted for the competition, ISEC is very pleased to award a second Honorable Mention for the Artsutanov Prize, this to Karen Ghazaryan,  S.A. Ambartsumian and M.V. Belubekyan for their paper “Optimal Design of the Space Elevator Tether“.  Karen attended the 2010 Space Elevator conference and presented this paper.

Their paper will be included in the upcoming Space Elevator Journal.  Remember, if you join ISEC, you will be entitled to a free copy of this Journal.

Karen has made presentations at the last several Space Elevator Conferences and we sincerely thank him for his continuing efforts to advance our understanding in this field.  Congratulations to Mr.’s Ghazaryan, Ambartsumian and Belubkeyan on their award!

(The top picture thumbnail is of Karen taken while he was giving his presentation at the conference.  The other picture thumbnail is of Karen (in the middle) discussing Space Elevator concepts with Yuri Artsutanov (on the left) and Ben Shelef, CEO of the Spaceward Foundation (hosts of the Space Elevator Games).   As always, you can click on any thumbnail to view a larger version of the picture.)

1 comment November 22nd, 2010

Call for Papers

The window is now officially open for articles for the very first ISEC Journal.

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is now accepting articles for inclusion into its first Space Elevator Journal.  Articles submitted must be somehow related to the Space Elevator.  The article could also be about the Space Elevator Games or Carbon Nanotubes or Lasers or it could be a short, fictional story, artwork, poetry, etc - but it MUST be related to a Space Elevator.

Formal submission guidelines and a template to use will be up on the ISEC website shortly.  In the meantime, you can view them here (Guidelines) (Template).


We are targeting December 1st (this year!) as our Journal publication date.  It will be available in paperback and electronic (Kindle) format.  ISEC members who joined in 2009 or 2010 will receive a free copy as will all authors who have an article published in the Journal.  Price for the Hardcover and Electronic editions has not yet been set.

Please pass this request along to anyone else you know who might be interested.

Thank you!

Add comment September 30th, 2010

ISEC awards its first prize

Gaylen R. Hinton is the winner of the very first prize awarded by the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC).  His paper, ‘Seven Deadly Assumptions about Space Elevators‘ was awarded an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the Artsutanov Prize award category.

Gaylen received a framed Honorable Mention certificate, signed by both Yuri Artsutanov and ISEC Prize Chair Peter Swan.  He also had the tremendous good fortune to be personally handed the award by Yuri Artsutanov, attending the conference due to ISEC’s efforts.

In addition, ISEC is going to pay for Gaylen’s Space Elevator Conference Registration Fee, as a token of our appreciation of his efforts.  Finally, his paper is going to be included in the upcoming ISEC Journal.

So, congratulations to Gaylen Hinton, the first person to receive an award from ISEC.  We hope to see even better papers from Gaylen in the future.

I’ve included two picture thumbnails in this post (and, as always, you can click on them to see a full-size version).  The first is of Gaylen, on the left, receiving his award from Yuri, on the right.  In the middle is ISEC Director, Vice-President and Prize Chair, Peter Swan.  Peter gave the award presentation speech.

The second thumbnail is of, from left to right, Gaylen Hinton, Yuri Artsutanov, John Lee and Peter Swan.  John Lee is the head of the Leeward Space Foundation.  His foundation is a sponsor of the ISEC awards.

Congratulations again to Gaylen Hinton - well done!

2 comments August 14th, 2010

Call for Comments - Official ISEC Paper on Space Elevator Survivability - Space Debris Mitigation

One of the many ISEC projects we’ve been working on this year is coming up with an “official position paper” on the subject of this year’s theme; Space Elevator Survivability - Space Debris Mitigation.

A team headed up by Dr. Peter Swan has been working on this document and it is now ready for review - I’ve linked to it here (Word / PDF).

Comments are ENCOURAGED - this is a draft document and is subject to change, pending comments from reviewers.  This paper will be the subject of the Space Elevator Conference Technical Pillar workshop scheduled for Sunday, August 15th.  Once the comments have been incorporated, this document will be officially released as an ISEC Position paper.

Please send all comments to

2 comments July 24th, 2010

The ISEC 2009 Space Elevator Poster

No, that’s not a typo - this post is about the ISEC 2009 Space Elevator Poster.  One of our goals at ISEC is for us to issue a commemorative poster each year.  For various and sundry reasons, the poster for 2009 never got created, until now.  The fact that we now have one is almost solely due to our new Artist-In-Residence, Frank Chase.

I’ve posted about Frank before (here and here) and carried through on my threat promise to see if he would be ‘interested in designing a poster’ for ISEC.  Frank has done more than that, agreeing to become ISEC’s Artist-In-Residence.  This poster is his first completed project and he is now throwing ideas at us for the 2010 poster (which will have as its subject the 2010 ISEC Theme - Space Debris Mitigation).  We’re actually to going to have that poster created THIS YEAR.  Frank will also be designing the cover for our new ISEC Journal as well as doing some other projects we have lined up.

Visuals convey so much more than what mere words do and I think that Frank’s efforts will be a potent weapon in ISEC’s arsenal.

Frank does truly fine work (as you can see from this poster and from his websites I linked to in my earlier posts) and we are absolutely thrilled that he has agreed to become part of the ISEC team.  Welcome Frank!

You can learn more about Frank by visiting the Team page on the ISEC Website.

Oh, and how do you get one of these posters (which is 11 x 17 inches and is offset print on high-quality, glossy stock)?  Well, if you became a member in 2009, you are going to have one shipped to you, free, as part of your membership benefits (along with my personal apologies for being so tardy with this).  Current members of ISEC can also purchase previous year’s posters (while supplies last) for a discounted price of $15.00 (plus shipping) or, if you’re not a member of ISEC, you can purchase one for $25.00 (plus shipping).

Those of you who have already joined or renewed in 2010 will get the 2010 poster for free.

(You can click on the Poster thumbnail to see a slightly larger version)

Add comment June 9th, 2010

The Artsutanov and Pearson prizes

The deadline for the abstract submission for the Artsutanov and Pearson prizes has been moved back from May 15th to May 31st.

We’ve received several entries for both prizes already, but have also received a couple of requests to extend the abstract deadline.  We can do this for a couple of weeks, but no longer…

So, if you’ve not already done so, you can still submit an abstract to enter the competition.  Remember, the winners will receive a monetary prize ($1,500 for the Pearson prize and $2,500 for the Artsutanov prize) as well as airfare and lodging and free admission to the upcoming Space Elevator Conference (Aug 12-15) .

Don’t delay - the abstract deadline will not be extended again.

Add comment May 14th, 2010

The ISEC Legal Pillar is now under ‘new management’

A couple of months ago, Benjamin Jarrell joined ISEC as our new Legal Pillar Lead. He is an attorney practicing in Huntsville, Alabama. In his ‘day job’, he handles a wide variety of matters in his law practice, but his primary interest is in helping government contractors negotiate the federal acquisitions process. He received his Juris Doctor in 2007 from the Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was awarded a certificate in Environmental Law from the Loyola Center for Environmental Law and Land Use. Ben received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2002.

Ben is also a long-time fan of the concept of a Space Elevator having first been exposed to it when reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy.

In 2007, he published an article in the Loyola Law and Technology Annual addressing the international and federal legal environment that should be considered before the Space Elevator can become a reality. This article was titled International and Domestic Legal Issues Facing Space Elevator Deployment and Operation (7 Loy. L. & Tech. Ann. 71 (2007)).

You can access the article here, but please note that it is not to be republished in any form without the express, written consent of Ben.  You can reach him at ‘benjamin.jarrell [at]’.

We are very fortunate that Ben has volunteered to join us at ISEC as the new head of our Legal Pillar and I’m sure he is going to be a great asset to our organization.  If you would like to get involved with our Legal Pillar, please contact Ben at ‘benjamin.jarrell [at]’.

Welcome aboard Ben!

Add comment May 5th, 2010

Be wary of pushing buttons…


View all of the episodes (they’re up to 26 episodes now!) here

And, I just found a Tweet from Alex Koll (one of the four ‘climber-nauts’) which said about this episode “Season Finale”…  Really?  I’ll have to contact these guys again and see what’s what…

And, I’m sorry there’s been less-than-normal posting from me on this blog, but I have been very, very busy launching the various ISEC initiatives we’ve adopted for the year.  We’ve received several abstracts already for the Artsutanov and Pearson prizes, we’re getting ready to issue a “Call for Papers” for the ISEC Journal, we’ve got artwork in process for the ISEC Posters, we have a Library project underway and the planning for the upcoming Space Elevator conference proceeds apace.  We’ve had several new volunteers come on board and it takes time to get everyone up to speed.

I’ll be posting on all of this soon…

1 comment March 24th, 2010

Announcing the Artsutanov and Pearson awards

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) today announced the Artsutanov and Pearson awards; prizes intended to foster research into Space Elevator related topics.

The Press Release announcing these awards, sent out today, is copied below, in full:


The International Space Elevator Consortium Announces the Pearson and Artsutanov Space Elevator Prizes

Mountain View, Calif. (March 3, 2010) — The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), an independent group designed to promote standards and foster research relating to the construction of an Elevator to Space, has announced its first annual set of prizes, named after the co-inventors of the modern-day concept of the Space Elevator, Jerome Pearson and Yuri Artsutanov.

Formed in 2008 by a coalition of leaders in the Space Elevator movement, ISEC has established these prizes to encourage research into Space Elevator related technologies and concepts to help further ISEC’s mission of promoting “the development, construction and operation of a space elevator as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity“.

Ted Semon, the president of ISEC states; “We are thrilled to be able to offer these awards, named after the co-inventors of the modern-day concept of the Space Elevator.  The Space Elevator, a ‘carbon railway’ to the solar system and beyond, is the right way to open up space to all humanity.  With research into carbon nanotubes proceeding at an ever-accelerating rate, we think that it is only a matter of a few years before the material necessary to build a space elevator will be available.  The time is now to begin serious planning for this most magnificent concept.

Each year, ISEC selects a focal theme for its activities.  For 2010, this theme is “Space Debris Mitigation“.  One of the major hurdles that must be overcome in order to successfully build and operate a Space Elevator is avoiding space debris and satellites in orbit.  While much research has been done on this topic, the goal for most existing research has been mitigating the problem of space debris in relation to satellites, the ISS, the Shuttle, etc.

The Pearson prize will be awarded for that paper which best addresses the topic of Space Debris Mitigation in relation to a Space Elevator and is open to all college undergraduate students currently enrolled in a two or four-year undergraduate curriculum.

The Artsutanov prize will be awarded for the best paper on any other Space Elevator-related topic and is open to everyone.

The winning paper of the Pearson prize will be awarded $1,500 while the winning paper of the Artsutanov prize will be awarded $2,500.  Both winners will be invited to the 2010 Space Elevator conference (held this coming August in Redmond, Washington) to present their papers.  Their papers will also be published in the ISEC Journal.  In addition to awarding the prize money, ISEC will pay for airfare and hotel accommodations for the prize-winners (maximum of one per paper if multiple authors).

Contest details can be found on the ISEC website (

For more details, please contact ISEC President Ted Semon (ted [at], Prize Chair Peter Swan (peter [at] or ISEC Technical Pillar Lead Ben Shelef (ben [at]

Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., a leading technology center, the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is a non-profit organization devoted to the research and construction of an Elevator to Space.  Founding members of ISEC include the Spaceward Foundation, the Space Elevator Reference, the Space Elevator Blog, EuroSpaceward and the Japan Space Elevator Association.   For more information please visit

Press Inquiries:

Ted Semon
ted [at]

Belinda Young
byoung [at]


A copy of the Press Release, in PDF format, can be found here.  I encourage all of you to send this to any email lists, websites, news organizations, etc. that you might have contact with.  The more we can spread the news of this competition, the better.

As the Press release states, details and ‘the fine print’ can be found on the ISEC website.  Come one, come all - do your research, send in your papers and maybe win some prize money and a trip to the Space Elevator Conference!

Add comment March 3rd, 2010

Space Debris Mitigation

In the Strategic Plan I presented to the ISEC Board during our January 6th meeting, one of my proposals was to choose a common Space-elevator related theme for all of ISEC’s activities.  Each year we would choose a different theme and revolve the following activities around it;

ISEC Technical Study - Each year ISEC will produce a peer-reviewed paper on the year’s theme.

ISEC Academic Competition - Each year, ISEC will award two academic prizes for student papers created on Space Elevator related subject matter.  Undergraduate paper submissions must be on this year’s theme (and yes, this is an early announcement of our Academic Competition - watch this space for more details - coming very soon).

ISEC Library - Each year, ISEC will populate the Space Elevator Wiki with subject matter on this year’s theme.

ISEC Journal - Each year, ISEC will produce a Journal of Space Elevator related articles, centered around this year’s theme.

The theme we have chosen this year is Space Debris Mitigation - what can we do to guarantee the safety of the Space Elevator despite all the stuff which is now orbiting the earth.  As has been pointed out ad nauseum, everything that is in orbit around the earth will, sooner or later, intersect the path of the Space Elevator.  We must have a solution (probably multiple solutions) to this problem.

The ISEC Technical Study will be on this topic.  The study team is headed up by our own Dr. Peter Swan, Ph.D., a long-time expert in this field.

To be eligible for the ISEC Academic award, papers submitted by undergraduates must be on this topic (graduate student submissions may be on any space-elevator related topic).

We have pulled together a team of four people who are now working on building up a database / library of information / papers on this year’s theme and will be updating the Space Elevator Wiki with it.

Our first ISEC Journal (estimated distribution date of Dec 1) will revolve around this theme, though additional space-elevator related topics will also be considered for inclusion.  Note that if you are a member of ISEC, you will get this Journal for free, as part of your membership benefits.

Finally, we are going to be encouraging additional papers on this theme to be presented at this year’s Space Elevator Conferences in the US, Europe and Japan.

So, stay tuned, join ISEC and help us make the Space Elevator a reality!

(Picture of orbital debris from here)

Add comment January 27th, 2010

And we’re back…

After a long hiatus, it’s time to start posting Blog updates again.  We at ISEC have agreed upon our Strategic Plan for 2010 and I will be posting about our projects for this year in the next several days.

But other Space Elevator-related things are now starting to happen, too, and I’ll be blogging about them also…

Stay tuned!

Add comment January 21st, 2010

My presentation at the 2009 EuroSpaceward Conference

My presentation at the EuroSpaceward conference seemed to be fairly well received (at least I wasn’t booed off the stage).  But then again, everyone was in a hurry to get lunch… :)

Anyway, here is a link to my presentation.  It consists of my opinion on the “State of ISEC”.  Part of me is discouraged that we haven’t done more, but the bigger part of me is very happy that we are up and functioning, that we have lasted more than a year, that we have some projects up and running and that we are (slowly) accumulating members.

If you are reading this and wondering what you can do to help the Space Elevator effort, I ask you to join ISEC.  Your membership fees & donations will go DIRECTLY towards space elevator related activities.  Much of the membership fees we collected this past year went to sponsor the Space Elevator Games, the ’signature event’ in the field.  Our next major goal is to get these academic competitions up and running.  We are very fortunate to have the two modern “fathers” of the Space Elevator, Yuri Artsutanov and Jerome Pearson agree to have our academic prizes named after them.  We have a team of physicists and engineers ready to review the academic submissions.  As President of ISEC I have submitted our first Strategic Plan to the Board of Directors of ISEC and, once it’s approved, I’ll publish here (or on the ISEC website).

What we need now are funds to complete this task.  Please join us and help us make the Space Elevator a reality.

2 comments December 16th, 2009

EuroSpaceward conference comes to an end…

And so the 2009 EuroSpaceward conference comes to an end.  It was very interesting, highly informative and I’m very glad I came.  I learned a lot and, more importantly (IMHO), I was able to spend lots of time with Markus Klettner (heading up EuroSpaceward) and Shuichi Ohno (heading up the Japan Space Elevator Association).

We had several very constructive conversations about how to jointly move forward the international effort to build a Space Elevator.  This goal is the reason why the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) was founded and I think it is fair to say that the ideas we had and agreements the three of us made will significantly move this idea forward.

Over the next few weeks, we will finalize and formalize these agreements and then use them to jointly move forward.  I think it will be exciting times for ISEC and the Space Elevator Community as a whole.

So let me end this post with a plea - if you are interested in helping efforts to build a Space Elevator, please consider joining ISEC.  Now more than ever, we need your donations & membership fees to put the aggressive plans we have made into action.  More than ever, we have an enthusiastic core to push our ideas forward - come join us to help make this exciting project a reality.

We need you - come and join us - the water is fine!

1 comment December 6th, 2009

EuroSpaceward Conference - and the future of Space Elevator Development

I leave this evening to fly to Luxembourg.  There I will attend the EuroSpaceward Conference on “Space Elevator, CNT Tether Design & Lunar Industrialization Challenges“.  I’ll also be giving a presentation entitled: Space Elevator Consortium: stimulation and alignment of SE research activities.

Saying all of that is quite a mouthful…

I’m still polishing my presentation (sorry Markus) but will share it with my readers after I give it.  I can give you the abstract however:

In the many years since the concept of a Space Elevator has been popularized and advanced in Science Fiction, the number of people actively supporting this concept has not appreciably increased. In addition, the theoretical and practical boundaries on the strength of carbon nanotubes are beginning to point towards a material weaker than hoped for (but still strong enough to build a Space Elevator, albeit with reduced capacity). Given these facts, how do those of us in the Space Elevator community move this idea forward?

We first need to recognize and acknowledge that the Space Elevator is a “solution in search of a problem”. We then must find the need that a Space Elevator (and only a Space Elevator) can fulfill. The author proposes that the goals of Space Solar Power and the colonization of the Moon and Mars can only be accomplished with a Space Elevator and he further proposes that the Space Elevator community speak with one voice on this topic and work to ally itself with the proponents of Space Solar Power and Moon/Mars colonization.

While the recent successes at the Space Elevator Games certainly has been a ’shot in the arm’ for the Space Elevator effort, it is no secret that we’re still a small group - and not really growing.  Why is this?  Certainly a major reason is that the long/strong carbon nanotubes needed to build a Space Elevator do not yet exist.  But another reason, I think, is that everyone in the effort has their own ideas on what a Space Elevator can and cannot do and, consequently, their own ideas on how to proceed.  If there were thousands and thousands of us, this would be all well and good.  But with such a small community, these non-unified efforts quickly lead to little or no results.  This has to change.  As the President of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), it’s my job to do this.  I need to get all of us to rally around a common theme, a common goal, a common purpose - and that common purpose has to be more than just “Let’s build a Space Elevator because it’s cool”.  That’s not going to get it done.  As I say in the abstract, we need to find the critical need(s) for which a Space Elevator is the best or only solution and then ally ourselves with people working to satisfy those needs.

I am going to be paying MUCH closer attention than I have in the past to people who want to colonize the Moon and/or Mars as I think the Space Elevator is the only way to go to accomplish these goals.  The more realistic souls among these groups (i.e., those who have come up with some defensible numbers) may indeed be our future ‘best friends’.  In addition, I’m going to take another look at Space Solar Power (though I’m very dubious that this can work on a commercial scale) and finally see if there is any possibility that a Space Elevator can be made economically viable by taking the majority of the commercial satellite launch market.

I invite comment and (reasoned) suggestions - it’s time to get serious guys…

And, on a final note, as I AM the Space Elevator Blogger, I’ll be reporting from the conference as often as I can.

2 comments December 1st, 2009

Why you should join ISEC - Part 4

In the 4th installment of this series, Ed Gray, the head of ISEC’s Business Pillar, tells why he thinks everyone who wants to see a Space Elevator built should join ISEC:

ISEC is the team that will be known in the future for catalyzing the scientific, outreach, legal and business work that give the Space Elevator to the world.  If it seems like Sci-Fi or magic, just think of the iPhone, social networking, remote surgery and other mainstays of our lives - a few decades ago.  All would have been considered magic, but they emerged through, creative thinking, experimentation, debate, audacity and through the teamwork of experts from many disciplines and from many parts of the world.

My first Space Elevator Conference in Seattle was life-changing.  If you go, you might see a theoretical mathematician from Armenia, a finance entrepreneur from Texas, a carbon nanotube scientist from Seattle or a playwright from San Diego.  You may also be like me - a new contributor to the work being done to design, plan and implement the Space Elevator.  The people and proceedings of the conference make it tough to resist getting involved.  The experts and enthusiasts of ISEC will be the steam that keeps this train moving - straight up…

Thank you Ed.  The Business Pillar of ISEC, as noted on the ISEC website, is charged with:

Space today is dominated by government business. But shipping and air travel isn’t. The Space Elevator may be built for security reasons or “national pride”, but its capacity can only be satisfied by a real space-based economy. The business pillar examines the economics of the Space Elevator.

Another focus of the business pillar are the stepping stones that lead from here to there - the ability to advance component Space Elevator technologies by building self-contained business cases around them even before the Space Elevator exists. Carbon Nanotubes are the obvious example, but not the only one.

As a specific objective, it is also important to analyze the connection and synergy between the Space Elevator and Space Based Solar Power. It may very well turn out that you can’t have one without the other.

To really exploit Space, we need a Space Elevator.  Ben Shelef, CEO of the Spaceward Foundation (host of the Space Elevator Games) often jokes that we should be talking to the Department of Transportation rather than NASA about building a Space Elevator.

One other ISEC-related note; One of the benefits of joining as a “Standard” member is receiving an autographed copy of Glen Phillips CD, Secrets of the New Explorers.  This CD has, IMHO, the best Space Elevator song written so far - and the rest of the album is pretty cool too.  I reviewed this CD back in February of last year.  We received the first batch of autographed CDs from Glen today and they will be going out in the mail soon to those who have signed up.  For the rest of you who haven’t, I urge you to join ISEC today.  Momentum is building and you can be a part of it and help make a Space Elevator happen - JOIN!

Add comment May 4th, 2009

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