Monthly Archives: August 2006

Punkworks Interview

Another in the series of interviews with teams competing in this year’s Space Elevator Games is now posted.  Last Friday, I interviewed Allen Atamer and Kevin Estrabillo of the Toronto-based Punkworks.  This team is first-time entrant in this event.

Tagline; “Our climber’s name is Jack, and we’re … building a better beamstalk ….”

The interview (an .mp3 file) can be found here.

Boston Museum of Science to create Interactive Space Elevator exhibit

Tim Miller of the Strategic Projects department of the Museum of Science in Boston has informed me that they are now in the “preliminary planning phase” of creating a stand-alone interactive exhibit, dedicated exclusively to the space elevator.  It will introduce the fundamental concepts in physics, astrodynamics, and materials science necessary to get such a system to function. The exhibit will also feature multimedia stories and interviews from the scientists and engineers working on the project.  If the prototype of this exhibit proves successful, it may be displayed in science museums all over the country.

The design work is taking place at Museum of Science in Boston, but it is part of a larger nationwide consortium of science centers and museums.  Funding for this project has come from President Bush’s National Nanotechnology Initiative.

For more information about this project, please contact Tim Miller at tmiller AT

2000 tonne per day space elevator

Keith Henson proposes “…the design of a moving, non-tapered space elevator cable threaded through a system of pulleys that increase the number of supporting strands as the space elevator approaches geostationary orbit (GEO)”.

He gives a link to, I guess, a posting of this paper on the LiftPort forums but for some reason I can’t access it.  I know the idea of a pulley system has been floated around in the past – this is just the latest posting I’ve seen on this subject.

Until I can read the actual paper, I can’t comment on it.  But the abstract, accessed here, sounds interesting…

A rebuttal from David Stodolsky states that “While solar power satellites could make a contribution, they are not going to solve climatic problems. And as ongoing European Space Agency studies show, no new technology, such as space elevators is needed to activate the plan.”

Oh really?

Michael Laine to appear at Dragon Con

According to the published schedule, Michael Laine, Founder and President of LiftPort, is scheduled to give a presentation at this year’s Dragon Con convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Michael will be presenting on Saturday, September 2nd at 7:00pm in a track entitled “The Space Elevator – 2006 Progress Report”.  According to the published schedule, his talk will be on “What the LiftPort Group has been working on, including key technologies, and successes and failures over the past year. Where we are in our step-by-step development of a complete space-access infrastructure.”

In addition to hearing this presentation, I’d like to go to Dragon Con, if for no other reason than to meet some of the cast members from Babylon V, my all-time favorite Sci-Fi series.  Maybe next year…

Reminder – Dr. Brad Edwards to appear on the Space Show tomorrow night

On August 29th, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm Pacific time, Dr. Brad Edwards is scheduled to be interviewed on Dr. David Livingston’s The Space Show.

The theme of the interview will be “for space elevator updates and to discuss his views and understanding of energy from space.”

All of The Space Show interviews are available via podcast in case you cannot listen in at that time.

53 days and counting!

Elevator2010 has just sent out an email to its elevator2010-announcements list.  It is quoted below, in its entirety, thanks to the kind permission of Ben Shelef, co-founder of Elevator2010.  If you want to get these announcements directly, all you have to do is to subscribe to the Elevator2010 announcement list at their website – I encourage you to do so.  And Ben, thanks for the very kind words about this blog.

Hello folks, and greetings from Elevator Central.  It’s been a long time since our last update.

We are now a less than 2 months before the competition, and things are beginning to ramp up.

In this update:
– Formal venue announcement
– Multimedia Space Elevator CD-ROM
– Space Elevator Blog
– Qualification Week
– Details on how you can help with the competition
– IAC conference pointer


First and foremost, we have signed an MOU with the X-PRIZE foundation to hold the games at the X-PRIZE Cup in New Mexico on October 20th.  The Cup is the most natural place for us to hold the competition – a weekend dedicated to emerging space technologies.  Please check out their web site (  We’d like to thank Peter Diamandis for his kind offer and cooperation!   This cup is a full-blown airshow style event, and we can think of no better way to spend the weekend – be there of be square!
In advance of the event, and in response to many requests, we have produced a Space Elevator Multi-Media CD-ROM which explains and illustrates the Space Elevator concept, its history, and Spaceward’s plans for advancing its cause.   The CD-ROM contains Alan Chan’s incredible computer generated Space Elevator movie, news coverage of last year’s competition, and a 50 minute narrated slideshow telling the story of the Space Elevator, starting in 1960 and continuing through today.  The CD-ROM, like the rest of our branded items, is available as a gift acknowledging your donation at We also talked Alan Chan into throwing in a trailer for one of his current Sci-Fi projects, “Postcards from the Future”.  Special thanks goes to Dave Carty, who produced the CD.

Space Elevator Blog:
There’s a new Space Elevator web site in town –  Ted Semon has been doing a phenomenal job with this Blog, and he deserves your support – check it out.

Qualification Week:
As you know, we have a lot more teams registered this year than we had last year. ( 20 vs. 8 )  For this reason, we will be holding a “testing and qualification” week, on site, starting on 10/14. Only teams that can run successfully on a short 30-foot test track will move on to the main 200-foot event. For those of you who want to experience the competition up-close and personal, we’re looking for volunteers to help during that week – see below for details.

We are looking to expand our staff of volunteers now, since the work pace is picking up. If you think you can help and have the time, please contact us at
elevator2010 AT There are three types of help we’re looking for:

1. Work that needs to be done between now and the show.  We need help with planning, engineering work, general office work, and planning.  Did we mention planning?
2. Help with running the qualification week (10/14 – 10/22).  This is the core volunteer group that will help run the event.  We will meet several times in the period leading to the competition, but the bulk of the work will be during that week, full time, on site.  Example includes: video shoot and narration, technical hands, forklift and general driving, etc.  A volunteer RV will depart Mountain View on 10/13 (Friday evening) and drive back 10/22 (Sunday evening)
3. Help during the show itself (10/20 – 10/21). This will include helping with various tasks at the event itself:

We will publish a more specific list of positions we need in the coming weeks, but if you have the ability to contribute time, please let us know now.

Finally, for our fans in Europe, we’d like to point out this year IAC conference, to be held on October 6th in Valencia, Spain. Other then being a great international space forum, the conference will have a full Space Elevator session.  The conference home page is at
That’s it for this update.  We do have a few more things cooking, but we’re going to hold off on those until they’re ready, and this will give us good reason to send another update your way soon (rather than wait 3 months)

As usual, our links:



  Ben, Meekk, and the test of the Spaceward crew.
Elevator2010-announcements mailing list
Elevator2010-announcements AT

The Thrill of Flying High

In this Indian (sub-continent, not Native American) online newspaper article, Dr. S. S. Verma discusses various space technologies, including Space Elevators.  I thought it interesting because it’s just another indication of how far and wide this idea has spread.

IMHO, India is going to be a world power in the not-too-distant future.  They will certainly have the technical capabilities to build a Space Elevator, once it becomes possible.  And paraphrasing Robert Heinlein; “the laws of Physics work for everyone”.

Space Elevator music CD on the way

Over at, Dale is coordinating the finishing touches on a CD containing tracks inspired by the Space Elevator.  The music is finished; they are just waiting for the CD artwork.  The artwork is being done by Paul Whitehead so it promises to be very unique.

At, you can listen to samples of each track.  And, at MusicForte, you can purchase individual tracks for 60 cents each (note that you have to register at this site – registration is free).  Once the CD is ready, I’ll post an update as to where it can be purchased.

“Something to see, eh?”

My search engines just turned up this interview by our Canadian friends at with Sir Charles Shults III and his views on the Space Elevator.  This broadcast was originally aired in December, 2005.

As an aside, I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the postings at various forums arguing about whether “Sir” Charles is really a knight or not.  I’m not a Brit, so I don’t know (and I don’t care).  But the arguments are great fun.

In this interview, he does have his Space Elevator “facts” correct.  In addition, he mentioned a possible use of the Space Elevator that I hadn’t heard of before, using it to deliver payloads to various earth locations.  I’d always heard/read about using the Space Elevator to launch payloads to the moon and some of the planets, but I don’t see why what he suggests wouldn’t work.  There will be those, of course, who will suggest that such deliveries could be designed with hostile intent.  Yet another reason why we Americans need to do this first…

A joke for the ages

I’ve posted links to stories before, stories that have a Space Elevator theme.  This one is a bit different, and the Space Elevator is only used as a backdrop.  But I think it works.

I understand that in the early days of cruise ships, a “culture” did emerge, complete with expected practices and ceremonies.  Now that they’ve become more affordable and more commonplace, that’s all gone.  If the Space Elevator ever starts transporting tourists, perhaps a similar culture may also emerge as polish_sausage theorizes…

Space Exploration 2007 conference announced


The Space Engineering and Science Institute and Sponsors present
Space Exploration 2007
The Second International Conference and Exposition on Science, Engineering, and Habitation in Space, and the Second Biennial Space Elevator Workshop

March 25-28, 2007

Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Conference topics to include:

Planetary exploration, bases, habitation, space station.
Engineering and construction in space and on the Moon and Mars.
Space access, space transporation.
Space elevator technologies and advanced concepts.
Entrepreneurial ventures in space / for space.
Space power, space resource development.
Space Commerce, law, and education.

The website for the conference is:

This information from Andy Price – thanks, Andy….

Kansas City Space Pirates Interview

Another in the series of interviews with teams competing in this year’s Space Elevator Games is now posted.  Last Friday, I interviewed Brian Turner of the Kansas City Space Pirates team.  This team is first-time entrant in this event.  However, they have a secret weapon; one of the team-members used to design robots for the TV show “BattleBots”.  If I was someone from another team, I’d be very sure to keep my climber away from the Space Pirates entry 🙂

Money quote; “All the big money has been spent, so we can’t back out now.” 

The interview (an .mp3 file) can be found here.

Prefers someone who looks good in zero gravity…

Well now I know we’ve arrived, or, have at least become mundane.  From ghosts & admissions:

“SBM-Single Brown Male 20- Looking for woman aged 18-23.
Looking for someone with strong math comprehension who can assist in his space elevator design. Prefers someone who looks good in zero gravity and has a firm grasp on nebular dynamics.”

Can Dr. Phil be far behind?

Universal Framework for Science and Engineering – Part 4: Space elevator

According to a brief bio at The Code Project, “Ph. D. Petr Ivankov worked as scientific researcher at Russian Mission Control Centre since 1978 up to 2000. Then he worked as developer and software architect at private companies.”

Dr. Ivankov has posted the code and equations he says will calculate the stress/strain on a hypothetical Space Elevator cable here.

It would be very cool if someone (maybe one of the interns at LiftPort? 🙂 ) looked at this and gave an opinion.

My calculus was never worth writing home about, but I was a programmer for a long time and should be able to download, install and run this thing.  Number 17 on my list of projects…

The Audacious Space Elevator

In this undated article, Steve Price gives a good summary of the concepts and technologies behind a future space elevator.  A good primer, if anyone needs one…

Update August 19th.  I’ve discovered that this was an article written in 2000 and referenced on this blog here.  It’s a fine article, though, and worth the repeat mention.

“Masters Mod (mod for SE4)”

I use FeedDemon 2 to do the majority of my web-searching for Space Elevator-related items.  Most of the items it flags for me are current, or relatively so.  But once in a while it finds something that is several months old (or even older).

Such was the case today when it found a blog posting from October, 2005, talking about a modification to the PC-based game; Space Empires IV.  This modification adds, among others, the following “racial trait” to the game;

“Megascale Masters – Your race has mastered the art of managing huge megascale construction projects. Your economy will get an early boost from the construction of space elevators, and larger ship hulls will help you as the game progresses.”

I had earlier reported how the Space Elevator (the ruins of one) will be in the newest version of Halo.  This mod to Space Empires IV seems to be yet another indication that the idea of Space Elevators is becoming more well known.  And, if we can introduce this idea to a bunch of gamers, then LiftPort will have a steady supply of all the new techno-geeks that they will need 🙂

Space Elevator Games to take place at the 2006 X PRIZE Cup in New Mexico

From the Press Release: “The X PRIZE Foundation and the Spaceward Foundation have signed an agreement that will bring the Space Elevator Games, a NASA Centennial Challenge, to the X PRIZE Cup in Las Cruces, New Mexico…”

This is double-plus good.  The crowds should be much larger than for the Space Elevator games alone and the extra publicity will be quite beneficial – the more people that learn about this concept, the better.  Of course this also raises the bar.  Teams that succeed (and fail) will do so in front of a much larger audience.

Note that the dates have been officially set as October 20th and 21st.  I had earlier reported that there would be competition on the 19th and the 22nd as well, but this no longer seems to be the case.

At the X Prize Cup web site, they publish a list of events (including the Space Elevator games) as well as hotel and travel information.  There is also a promise to broadcast the events, live, via the web.  So, if you can’t make it, you can still watch it.

The Press Release is in .pdf format.

SnowStar Interview

Another interview with the competitors in this year’s Space Elevator games is now available.  I talk with Steve Jones of Team SnowStar.  Steve and his team are veterans from the 2005 Space Elevator games and their team has to be considered as one of the favorites in this years climber competition.  Last year, they won the “Most likely to win  in 2006 award”  In addition, Steve and his team are also entered in the Tether competition.

These people are very serious about both competitions and I look to them to set this pace in this year’s games.  You can listen to the interview (an .mp3 file) here.

Note: An earlier interview with this team by Seth Shostak can be found here.\

16OCT06 – Snowstar has kindly sent me a full-size version of their logo.  If you click on the logo in this posting, you will be able to see it.

Can high wi-fi boost space elevator?

Over at, Alan Boyle talks about LiftPort’s being “in the midst of a two-month test to see if a balloon-based platform, moored to the ground, can serve as a reliable relay for Internet traffic in remote areas — serving “the guys that everybody else forgot,” said the company’s founder and president, Michael Laine.”  LiftPort says they have a customer for this technology already, LightSpeed Broadband, who want to use this in order to provide wireless Internet services for the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington.

Also in this article, LiftPort’s founder and president Michael Laine talks about the delays they’ve encountered in getting their nanotube factory up and running and a possible moving-back of their 2018 target date to get a space elevator operational.  I hope it doesn’t move back too far – I’ll be a senior citizen by then and I still see this as my best way of getting into space…