Daily Archives: October 14, 2007

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 8)

USST found itself in the position of having to make a new collector array.  The cells in this array needed to be mounted on a composite “sandwich” of several materials which had to be bonded together.  They needed a flat surface to place the sandwich on and then had to be able to put a large amount of pressure on the sandwich to make sure that the adhesives used would bond properly.  They initially asked permission to use one of the steel plates (shown in Entry 2), but this didn’t work out because it would have been extremely difficult to place this weight on top of the sandwich in a manner which would have slowly and evenly increased the pressure.

The solution they came up with was ingenious – once the sandwiches were “made”, they stacked them on top of each other and put a couple of sheets of plywood on top (to even out the pressure).  They then put a large pail of water onto the center of the sandwich and then surrounded the pail with four large garbage cans, one at each corner.  They then slowly and evenly filled the garbage cans with water until there was more than a half-ton of pressure; enough to make the bonds solid.

As I said, ingenious.  All the materials were on hand and cost them nothing.

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(Note the overexposed portions of the team member’s uniforms.  This is reflective tape which reflected the light from my camcorder’s flash unit.  Click on the thumbnails for a larger version of the picture)

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 7)

Last year, the Kansas City Space Pirates had the field to themselves in using reflected sunlight to power their climber.  This year, UBC-Snowstar is doing something similar.  But rather than have a “mass of mirrors” (as the Space Pirates do), they are building “massive mirrors” to power their climber.

There will be two of these monsters, each 8 feet by 16 feet.  They will be mounted on some very sturdy pivots and swiveled to beam sunlight onto their Climber.

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The picture is another shot of their solar-cell-array-to-be.  As always, click on the thumbnail to view a larger version.

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 6)

A few more YouTube Videos of today’s activities.

This first one is of the building now currently called “Climber Row.”  The Climber teams are setting up shop here for last minute work.  Wednesday or Thursday, they will exit this building and move their Climbers to the Exhibition Hall.  This building, then, will become the home for the Light Racers competition, basically RC cars powered by beams of light.  At the end of the video, we see Ben Shelef – fearless leader of the whole shebang

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This next video is of Exhibition Hall, where the Climbers are going to be moved to once they are ready to go.  They should all be mounted on tethers hanging from the ceiling in front of their “stalls”.  If we can get all of them to be displayed at one time, it should look outstandingly cool…

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This last video is a 360 degree panoramic shot.  I was standing between the Climber Row and Exhibition Hall buildings…

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 3)

Here are some more pictures taken today…

These are some of the solar arrays for the UBC Snowstar Climber.  They have been unpacked, are being checked out and will be mated to the Climber frame.

This is the frame of the UBC Snowstar Climber.  As with the solar cells, it is being made ready for assembly and testing.

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This is Clayton Ruszkowski – fearless leader of team USST.  I can’t wait to see them unveil their laser powered Climber.

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This is Akira Tsuchida and other team members of E-T-C, shortly after they arrived.  They’re unload their equipment into Climber Row

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As always, click on the thumbnails for a larger version.

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 2)

Here are some pictures of the “nuts and bolts” of the ribbon raceway from today:

The tether the Climbers will travel on will be fastened at ground level to these pictured steel, highway-repair plates.  Each one weighs about a ton.

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These are the dampers (partially assembled) used to minimize the whipping about of the tether which will be almost surely caused by local wind conditions.  This was a real problem last year – hopefully well addressed this year.

This is the trolley which will sit at the top of the ribbon.  The Climbers will ascend updates to this trolley.  A trigger mechanism at the top will stop the Climbers ascent.  I’m told a camera is also going to be posted on this, so this should give us some pretty cool shots.

As always, click on the thumbnails for a larger version.

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 1)

It’s Sunday.  I arrived in town last night.  3 teams arrived at the competition site yesterday (Kansas City Space Pirates, USST and UBC-Snowstar).  E-T-C arrived a little while ago, so we now have 4 teams on site.  We are expecting 4 more; “McGillWorks” (a partnership between the McGill team and Punkworks), Centaurus, LaserMotive and the the Technology Tycoons (formerly LiteWon).

So we should have 8 teams competing in the Climber / Power-Beaming competition.  2 will be laser powered (LaserMotive and USST), two will be Microwave powered (McGillWorks and Centaurus), 3 will be solar-powered (Technology Tycoons, Kansas City Space Pirates and UBC-Snowstar) and one will be spotlight powered (E-T-C).  In addition, I’m told that Centaurus may also compete as a solar-powered team.

We also have two tether teams coming; Astroaraneae (last year’s champion) and MIT.  I imagine we won’t be seeing them until later in the week.  If they show up earlier, I’ll be sure and blog about it.

So, lots of options – lots of technology on display.

The venue is wonderful, far better than we had last year.  The two buildings being used for “Climber Row” and the Light Racer games are large, solid structures with very high ceilings.  Lots of windows, lots of power outlets, lots of Internet outlets.  In addition, we’ll have an “Office building” for the press and for Spaceward and for team meetings.

Right now the weather is beautiful, about 70 degrees with a blue sky.  The mountains in the background make a wonderful backdrop.  I hope it doesn’t rain, though.  There are a lot of dirt and grass areas and things could get muddy if they do.

So, if you haven’t decided whether or not you want to come, I urge you to do so – it should be a great show.  We have lots of sophisticated technology and teams.  The video (the first of many videos and pictures to be posted by yours truly) is a panoramic view of the competition area.

We’re open to the public for the finals; October 19th, 20th and 21st.  Come one, come all – it’s the 2007 Space Elevator Games!!!