Archive for November, 2007

Miscellaneous Spaceward Games articles

Yes the Games are over and yes I’m sure that 99% of the readers here already know the results.  But I did a search on the various articles written in a “wrap-up mode” and am posting some of them here.  All of them (IMHO) contain some info I didn’t know or were , in other ways interesting…

This article is from the Punkworks blog and talked about getting ready for the competition and the accident which occurred on route to the games (talked about in more detail here and here).

This article is also from the Punkworks blog and is most unhappy in its tone.  They state definitively that they are “…definitely not coming back to Spaceward’s games ever again.”  This is unfortunate, but they really weren’t ready to go, also mentioned in this same posting; “We were basically integrating on the launch platform.”  It’ s hard to win when you do that…  Punkworks had teamed up with the McGill Team to try and make a go of it.

The Davis County Clipper (a local publication) had at least two articles about the Games (here and here).  The second article contained a bit of information I hadn’t known until reading this; “The weather played a significant part in the dismal results. “They were considering packing up and moving to Ames Air Force Base in California,” said Curtis Koch of the Davis County Events Center. Instead, they agreed to stay when the fee for using the event center was dropped, acknowledging that the expected 20,000 anticipated attendance did not materialize. The final rental amount for the event center space was $5,300.”  I’ll have to ask Ben if this is true :)

One more local article from the Deseret Morning News.

Ben Shelef from Spaceward was interviewed on Planetary Radio from the Planetary Society prior to the Games.

One of the Journalist/Bloggers I met this year was David Shiga from New Scientist.  He was a very pleasant guy, was easy to work with, and had several postings about the Games, here, herehere. and here.

Wired Science has their take here.

CNETNews.com had a couple of articles, here and here.

One of several local (Canadian) articles lamenting how USST fell just short of winning the prize…

Add comment November 30th, 2007

The next generation…

One of the most interesting people at this year’s Space Elevator Games was young Danny Leafblad, a member of the Kansas City Space Pirates team.  He’s one of those kids that’s scary-smart; he can probably do anything he puts his mind to.

As a tribute to him, as I think he’s an excellent representative of the next generation, the generation that will probably be the first to reap the full benefits of a Space Elevator, I’ve put together a short video about him (it’s my first effort in the homemade video field, so please be gentle with your criticism)…

Here’s to you Danny - please figure out a way to get this thing built in the next 10-15 years so I can take a ride on it…

Add comment November 28th, 2007

Can you believe it?

I know this has nothing to do with the Space Elevator.  But, I’m a “child of the 60’s”, no doubt about it.  My “guitar hero” was Jimi Hendrix.  If the man had made it this far, he would have been 65 today.

Sixty freakin’ five.  That’s a milestone, man, a milestone…

Rest in peace, Jimi - you were truly a “Guitar Hero”…

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Outside of the Star Spangled Banner, I think his best piece was “All Along the Watchtower…”

Add comment November 27th, 2007

Photos from the EuroSpaceward Tether & Climber Workshop

Several days ago, The Space Elevator Reference published a short story about the EuroSpaceward Tether & Climber Workshop which was held in Luxembourg the week before last. 

Markus Klettner has kindly emailed me the links to photographs taken during the Workshop.  The links are here and here.  In this post, I’ve selected 10 of the more than 50 photos from these links.

Brad Edwards

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Ben Shelef

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Bryan Laubscher

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Dr. Georg Treusch

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Michel Benoit

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CNT array samples from the lab of Dr. Shanov

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Prof. Vesselin Shanov

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Dr. Marcello Motta

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Prof. Vesselin Shanov with USST’s Clayton Ruszkowski

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Markus Klettner

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Add comment November 25th, 2007

Taking a break…

It’s the Thanksgiving holidays, my mom is visiting from Arkansas, my younger daughter is home from College for a few days, etc., etc., etc…

I’ll be back posting tomorrow…

Add comment November 24th, 2007

“Rather a special sort of smoke…”

This is courtesy of Akira Tsuchida, team leader of E-T-C.

He sent me a link to a BBC video clip, showing the new 20 GPa nanotube fibers being created, an audio clip giving a short explanation of how it’s done and another audio clip explaining why these are suitable for body armor.

All three clips can be found here.

Thank you Akira!

(The picture thumbnail is a snapshot from the BBC Video clip - click on it for a slightly larger version)

04FEB2008 - Correction.  The best fiber strength was measured at 9 GPa, not 20 GPa as I (and others) initially reported.

3 comments November 17th, 2007

Kansas City Space Pirates appear on their local ABC Affiliate

Brian Turner, captain of the Kansas City Space Pirates, sent me this link to the team’s appearance on their local ABC affiliate this morning.

Brian said in his note:

Here is a clip form this morning. The actual coverage got cut short by some technical glitches and a traffic accident story that was more important.

I hope everyone had fun.

We saw a quick demo of their Climber (the “Jolly Roger”), their winning entry in this year’s Light Racers Competition (I absolutely loved Quinn’s explanation of how it worked) and, of course, a demo of Brian’s RC controlled lawn mower.  We were also introduced to many of the team members.

The clip is a little over 4 minutes long.

(Click on the picture thumbnail for a slightly larger version)

Add comment November 16th, 2007

2008 Space Elevator Calendars for sale at SpaceRef.com

Marc Boucher, of SpaceRef.com, The Space Elevator Reference and a bunch of other places (and who I wrote about previously here) has come up with a great idea - a 2008 calendar containing photos he took of the recently completed Space Elevator Games.

You can read about it and order it here - what a great idea - especially with the holidays coming up!  I’m going to be ordering mine today.

PS - My favorite picture is April - it’s the shot with the Alien Ship in it…

(Click on the thumbnail for a slightly larger picture of the calendar cover)

Add comment November 15th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competition - Part 5

I have four more videos and two more pictures to post to complete my coverage of the 2007 Light Racers Competition.

The first video is of Spaceward’s Ben Shelef explaining how the Light Racer competition is going to work.

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This second video is one of most of the competitors in this competition.

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This third video is of most of the entries into the competition.  You’ll note that they’re sitting in front of a large picture of the surface of the moon, with an earthrise in the distant.  This picture was used as a backdrop for the races.

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The final video is one of Ben announcing the winners / prizes in this year’s competition.

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The two pictures are ones of the competitors and entries.  I must confess that I had fairly low expectations for this particular event - I didn’t think that it would be very much fun or generate much interest.  I was wrong on all counts - everyone really enjoyed it and you could see the “family resemblance” to the earlier Space Elevator Games - lots of experienced gained for future competitions.  I think that next year’s event will be an even bigger success!

(Click on the picture thumbnails for larger versions)

Add comment November 14th, 2007

More on 20 GPa carbon nanotubes…

More from Dr. Edwards about this development:

It has not been released in print yet because it is coming out in Science next week - just verbal so far. I can’t even get a copy of their presentation until next week.

The details are that they are making threads with 20 GPa but not consistently - 25% of the time or about that. It is also part of a very steady, consistent increase that they have had in their material over the last 4 years. Their process is one where the CNTs are grown in a furnace without a substrate and pulled out on a spool from the bottom.

And the MIT-DeltaX team has this to say about it on their blog:

Recently, Dr. Alan Windle at the University of Cambridge announced the development of 20 GPa yarns derived from nanotubes. These materials are produced from nanotube yarns and contain graphitic hyperfilaments composed of nanotubes, which exhibit strengths comparable to an individual nanotube but over macroscopic length scales.

We have been working on the production of these materials for some time now as well. Independently our team had developed the same processing technique Dr. Windle is using, but with our own twist.  But we are not only producing yarns, but also ribbons. More on this soon…

Exciting times, to be sure.

Incidentally, I’ve updated the link to the DeltaX website on this blog’s sidebar…

04FEB2008 - Correction.  The best fiber strength was measured at 9 GPa, not 20 GPa as I (and others) initially reported.

3 comments November 14th, 2007

Breaking news…

I have been corresponding with Dr. Brad Edwards who attended the recent EuroSpaceward “Space Elevator Climber and Tether Workshop”.  He sent me the following news (and I quote):

“The conference in Luxembourg went very well - including an announcement by Cambridge of 20 GPa CNT threads.”

This rocks, of course, and I am working on getting additional details.  There is nothing yet about this on the Cambridge website, but I’m assuming there will be soon.

Stay tuned…

04FEB2008 - Correction.  The best fiber strength was measured at 9 GPa, not 20 GPa as I (and others) initially reported.

7 comments November 13th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competition - Part 4

In this, my penultimate post in this series on the 2007 Light Racers Competition, I thought I would post some of the pictures I took of the cars and competitors.

I liked this shot of one of the racers, lit up with the spotlight as it attempted to make its run.

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This was an interesting entry, a 3-wheeler.  It was able to run through part of the racecourse, but not, unfortunately, all of it.

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Here’s a close-up of the Technology Tycoons entry.

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Both of these entries, I believe were from the same family (if this is wrong, please let me know and I’ll correct this post).

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This is the McGill team and their entry.  As I indicated in an earlier post, this entry was, by far, the fastest one in the competition.  If it had stayed on course, it would have easily won the competition…

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The Kansas City Space Kids with their winning entry.

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(As always, click on the picture thumbnails for a larger version)

Add comment November 13th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competition - Part 3

Here are some more videos and photos from this year’s Light Racers Competition.

The two photos shown are indicative of what a family affair many of the entries were.

The first video is of Eddie, one of the competitors, telling us why Light-powered cars will be important in Lunar Exploration.

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The second video is one of the qualifying runs of the entry from the Technology Tycoons.  This car was, by far, the largest entry.  It vaguely reminded me of a bathtub or a large bucket or something like that.  I had seen this car running outside during the day, powered by sunlight, and it was running very well and very quickly.  And, unlike some of the others, the steering on this on was controllable via Remote-Control.  Once inside, however, it had much more difficulty in doing it’s runs.  It still was an impressive entry, however, and everyone enjoyed watching it.

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As always, click on the picture thumbnails to see a larger version.

Add comment November 12th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competiton - Part 2

McGill University was one of the “double-dipping” teams this year, entering two competitions; the Power-Beaming / Climber competition and the Light Racers Competition.

Their car was, by far, the fastest one in the competition.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t stay within the race course boundaries, despite repeated attempts, until after the competition was closed.  The idea of these “cars” was that they should be steerable via remote-control, like an RC racer.  But several of the competitors lacked that feature; the competitor would put them on the starting line, aim them towards the finish line, and hope for the best.  The KC Space Pirates winning “car” was built this way, as was the McGill car.

The first video show their best competition run.  If the “car” had stayed in bounds it would have easily won the Professional category.

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The second video shows a run they made in conjunction with the KC Space Pirates.  This was after the competition was closed and they were just having fun.

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The final video shows a great run they made - crossing the finish line in bounds.  Unfortunately it was a “fun run” and didn’t count towards a prize.  You’ll note that at the end of the run, it ran into yours truly.  I was recording the competition while sitting on the floor at the finish line.  All of the racers, with the exception of the McGill one, moved so slowly that I was able to easily get out of their way if they were headed towards me.  But with this run I had no chance.  I tried to record it myself but messed it up somehow.  This video is courtesy of Alex from the McGill Team.

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Thanks Alex!

1 comment November 10th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competition

Along with the Space Elevator Games, the 2007 Light Racers Competition was held.  This was a competition of model “cars” (I use the term “cars” very loosely here) which were powered solely by light; no fuel, no batteries, no sun, no problem (as the promo says).

Although not strictly Space Elevator related, it was held at the same venue as the Space Elevator Games were and, I must say, was quite a crowd-pleasing event.  This event was targeted towards families and school-age kids and includes a science curriculum which can be taught that has studies relevant to this event (for more info, see the Light Racers homepage).

There were several (8-10) teams entered.  Many of the cars didn’t move at all, or just barely.  I’m guessing that they had been “tested” outdoors in sunlight.  When brought indoors and put in the spotlight beams, there just wasn’t enough juice generated to get them going.  But that’s valuable experience which will be put to good use next time.

The competition was held indoors in Building 2 (Climber Row) on Saturday, October 20th.  Ben Shelef of the Spaceward foundation laid out a course the cars had to navigate - they needed to travel from one end to the other without veering outside the boundary lanes.  There was one large spotlight trained on the car from start to finish and a second, booster light which was trained on the car at the start, just to get it going.

The two fastest cars were also the two smallest.  The fastest car, by far, was the one put together by McGill University.  It didn’t win any prizes though and will be the subject of my next post.  This post is dedicated to the winning team, the Kansas City Space Kids, a subset of the Space Pirates.  This car was put together at the last minute by Brian Turner and his team and was good enough to win a $2,500 prize!

I have two videos for this post.  The first was nearly a prize-winning run, making it from one end of the racecourse to the other, but veering out of bounds just before reaching the finish line.

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This second video is of the winning run.  The KC Space Kids car completes the entire course, inside of the boundaries, to the acclaim of the crowd!

Add comment November 10th, 2007

LaserMotive Qualification attempt

When LaserMotive attempted to qualify on the night of the 18th, they invited me out onto the Launch pad to view and video tape the proceedings.  When all was said and done, however, I couldn’t find the video I had taken of the proceedings.  After some hunting around, I concluded that I had just screwed up somehow and lost the video or had mistakenly hit the “off” switch or something…  However, a couple of days ago, I finished compiling a catalog of all the videos I had taken and, lo and behold, there it was - I had misfiled it into the wrong date subdirectory in my video collection of the Games.

As you all know, two laser-powered teams entered the Games this year, USST and LaserMotive.  The difference between the way the two set up was quite stark.  Bryan Laubscher, safety officer for the Games and all-around Space Elevator guy, put it very well; “USST brought a system.  LaserMotive brought a Lab.”  I’m not knocking or denigrating LaserMotive or their attempt in any way, but they had not spent enough time on the setup and takedown preparation that USST (and others) had done and, in the end, it contributed greatly to their failure to qualify for the prize.

The video I took of their attempt follows.  It shows the scene, at night, inside the LaserMotive “Lab” as they attempted to qualify.  For the 30 or so minutes prior to this, LaserMotive had been setting up their system.  When Jordin Kare, the LaserMotive Laser expert spoke the words “Lasers coming on”, I started taking the video.

There was a “cracking sound” and a cloud of smoke and, well, you can see the rest.

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You can clearly see the laser beams as they are projected onto the mirror.

I don’t mind admitting that the smoke and the “cracking” sound scared the crap out of me.  It brought back a very unpleasant memory.  In a previous job, I was in charge of all Software Development at a company called InFlight Phone Corporation.  Saudia Airlines, the national airlines of Saudi Arabia, was a potential client of ours.  I had flown over there, with a couple of other people from our company, to do some flight testing and certification of our equipment on a 747.  There were two groups of us doing this.  This first was Honeywell and the Ball Antenna Group, testing and certifying a satellite antenna.  All went well for them.  The 747 returned to Jeddah airport, did a “touch-and-go” (if you haven’t experienced one of these in a 747, well, there are no words to describe it) and then climbed to 20,000 feet to test our equipment.  When they turned it on, I heard a “cracking noise” and blue smoke quickly filled the cabin.  This is NOT what you want to see in an airplane flying at 20,000 feet.  The pilots got the plane back to the airport and landed as quickly as possible.  Some engineers were waiting and immediately boarded the plane.  After a quick look in the cockpit, they concluded that the previous maintenance crew had left a wire hanging across the main and an auxiliary power bus.  This auxiliary power bus was what powered our equipment.  When they turned it on, it shorted out, causing the noise and smoke.  I knew enough Arabic to know most of the obscenities that the pilot and co-pilot were screaming at the maintenance crew as they left the aircraft.

One more LaserMotive video - this was taken while they were doing an alignment check of their lasers.

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The first of the two pictures is of part of their system, indoors, while being worked on.  The second is of the Laser Safety goggles that LaserMotive gave me to wear while recording their work.  I put a 3×5 card behind the lens so that you can clearly see the “spec’s specs” :-)

Their laser ran a 808 nanometers - you can see that the goggles are rated from between 804 and 830 nanometers and thus appropriate for their system.

As always, click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the pictures.

3 comments November 8th, 2007

Thoughts on the 2007 Space Elevator Games from Ken Davidian

As most of my readers know, Ken Davidian is NASA’s program manager for the Centennial Challenges.  Without Ken and NASA and the $$$ Prize Money they provide there would be no Space Elevator Games, so we owe them (and the Spaceward Foundation) a HUGE vote of thanks.  THANKS EVERYONE!!

Ken has graciously agreed to my request for some “final thoughts’ on the games:

Dear Space Elevator Blog Reader,
 
It’s been a couple weeks since the conclusion of the 2007 Spaceward Games and I wanted to provide the NASA Centennial Challenges perspective of the event. Because we’re coming up on the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving, please indulge me as I get in the “holiday” mood…
 
First, I’d like to thank Ted Semon for hosting this blog. The visibility he has given to this technology and the competition events has provided a great service to the readers as well as to the Spaceward Foundation and to NASA as well. Thanks, Ted!
 
I’d also like to thank the Spaceward Foundation from the first-time volunteers, to the “super” volunteers, to the core staff, and all the way up to Ben and Meekk Shelef, the driving forces behind the organization. As you probably know, Spaceward is administering and executing the Beam Power and Tether Challenges at no cost to NASA Centennial Challenges. For their service to NASA and to the U.S. taxpayer, I would like to thank Spaceward more than these words can possibly convey.
 
The heart of the competitions, of course, are the teams and their supporters, both volunteer and sponsors. In these competitions, you are the “talent” that are performing a great service for the U.S. space program. Your work (hokey as it may sound 50 years on) is really “for the benefit of all mankind.” You are pushing the envelope of what is currently achievable, doing it on your terms and with your own resources. Again, I can’t possible convey how important your sacrifice is, but I’m sure you are fully aware of how important it is. Please know that your efforts are visible and appreciated at all levels of the NASA organization.
 
Of course, I can’t forget to thank all our friends at the Davis County Fairpark in Farmington, Utah. It is with their enthusiastic support that Spaceward was able conduct the 2007 Spaceward Games.
 
Finally, I’d like to acknowledge and express my appreciation for all the administrative support I’ve received from my NASA colleagues, both at HQ as well as at the centers, that help make Centennial Challenges a reality in its present form.
 
Now I want to say a few words about the 2007 event that was held last month. Although I was made a liar of, once again (I was *sure* there would have been a winner in the Beam Power Challenge this year!) it is exciting to see the maturity of the teams, technologies, and the Beam Power community in general. There were operational challenges that were successfully overcome to allow the complete running of the competition. Although there was some debate about whether extending the competition an extra day was the right choice, I think it was the correct decision and is supported by the philosophy that these competitions are intended to get the best performance from all the qualified teams on an equitable basis. We ran into similar “discussions” at subsequent competition events this year and the philosophy is proving to be sound.
 
The Tether Challenge also provided an “unexpected ending” to a story I was *sure* I knew the ending to. Given the statements from DeltaX, the commitment of the Space Spiders (aka AstroArachnaeaeaeaeaeaeaea, :-P), *AND* the $900K purse, I think next year will *definitely* prove to be an exciting competition! I’m really looking forward to it!
 
In summary, I think that although I could pick apart nits about any number of issues in all sorts of areas, I think the overall competition was a great success and I am encouraged by the discussions I’ve already been hearing about for the 2008 competition…
 
Keep up the great work, and I look forward to seeing you next year!
 
Sincerely,
 
Ken Davidian
 
Program Manager, Centennial Challenges
NASA HQ

Thank you Ken, for the kind words about my blog - they are truly appreciated.

Ad Astra!

Add comment November 7th, 2007

Visited by a dragonfly

On the 20th of October, the same day the Light Racers and Tether competitions were held, the Space Elevator Games were visited by a dragonfly.  Jacob Shelef found the dragonfly, cold and wet and trying to get warm and dry, and brought it to the attention of his mother, Susan.  The Dragonfly certainly seemed to take a liking to her, riding her arm, face, hair, etc. for several hours before she finally put it down in a safe place.

I took a couple of videos of her and Jacob and the dragonfly.  According to Wikipedia, dragonflies have good reputations and bad reputations, depending on the culture you are referring to.  I’ve always liked them - they are beautiful creatures.

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(As always, click on the picture thumbnail for a larger version)

1 comment November 7th, 2007

Kansas City Space Pirates Press Release

Brian Turner and the Kansas City Space Pirates today issued this Press Release:

Kansas City Team Misses Half Million Dollar NASA Prize by 25 Seconds.

The Kansas City Space Pirates just missed winning $500,000 from NASA in the Spaceward Games 2007. They needed to make a robot called a climber that could drag race straight up 100 Meters in 50 seconds. Oh, and it could not have any batteries or fuel. All of it’s power had to come from the ground and be “Beamed” up. The competition encourages development of wireless power transmission technologies for future applications like space elevators and moon mining. The competition also proved too much for the other 22 entrants from 5 countries and some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

The $500,000 will roll over to next year making the 2008 prize money $900,000.

This marks the second year for the KC Space Pirates. Last year they startled everyone with the bold use of common mirrors to concentrate sunshine, using ancient methods to tackle modern problems. That earned them the “Most Innovative Climber” award. This year they again shocked everyone with the fastest peak speed ever seen in competition of nearly 8-mph. A number of factors combined to prevent them from maintaining that speed to the top of the competition ribbon, ranging from weather, and electronics to plain bad luck. They finished second overall behind a team from the University of Saskatchewan that managed a better average speed using high power invisible lasers. Next year the goal will be raised higher and faster than this year. And the KC Space Pirates have already started the fund raising process to compete in this and future technical competitions.

Their captain Brian Turner said “We may not have won this year, but I hope we made Kansas City proud.”

For more information
http://www.kcspacepirates.com
http://www.elevator2010.org http://centennialchallenges.nasa.gov/

Looks like Brian and company are already planning to come back next year - good news indeed.

2 comments November 6th, 2007

I’m back…

I’m happy to report that the eye surgery seemed to go well.  The surgeon did a post-op with me today, removed the bandage and patch, and reported that all looked good at this point.

It’s so wonderful to be able to see out of my right eye clearly and not through a fog.  The night vision in my right eye is still not what it should be, but my right-eye pupil is about the size of a dot.  The doctor tells me that will change in the next day or two.

Thank you to everyone who wished me will, either via a comment, or in an email or with their thoughts - it was much appreciated.

And, now back to the show…

2 comments November 6th, 2007

There may be a delay…

I have cataract surgery scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) morning.  These surgeries are supposed to be fairly routine now, so I’m expecting a good outcome, but it’s still surgery - you never can be 100% sure.

So, I don’t know how much I’ll be posting over the next few days.  My vision may be well enough to resume posting quickly or it may take a few days for it to “normalize” enough for me to resume.

Anyway, I’ll be back as quickly as I can (and will be jealous of those who are able to be in Luxembourg for the upcoming Climber and Tether workshop).

4 comments November 4th, 2007

E-T-C Wraps it up…

I received the following “post-Games thoughts”, as well as the three photos in this post, from Akira Tsuchida, captain of Team E-T-C, Earth-Track-Controllers.  In addition to building a prototype of a Space Elevator which they entered in this year’s Games, they also have a pretty cool day job, tracking the International Space Station (ISS).  I imagine with the problems on board the ISS recently (chronicled here), things have been a bit hectic with their employment lately too.  The topmost photo is an E-T-C Team photo.  The one in the middle is a cool night shot of the spotlights they used to power their climber.  And the photo on the bottom is a very good image of their illuminated climber at night as it attempted to climb.

“Subject: E-T-C recovered and started investigation why our Climber did not climb
 
We drove back to Houston for 3 days to return Xenon light, then some members flew back to Japan on last weekend.  It took long time to recover and finally E-T-C had a first meeting on Nov 3 after finish competition this year.  We re-assembled our climber again to investigate real reason what is happening in SLC.  As all participants knows, E-T-C climber could not climb at all.

Some people mentioned, even team member,E-T-C Climber seems too heavy.  But I still do not think it is TOO heavy.  Of course, comparing with other 7 team which participated games in Salt Lake City. Probably our wheel and mechanism is the heaviest.
 
E-T-C designed this climber as our first challenge to win this competition using the following concept.
(1) Try to have highest efficiency motor and energy transformation mechanism
     (Use high performance motor and high efficiency gear)
(2) Minimize weight of solar panels (modules)
     (Laminated thin mono crystal silicon PV array helped a lot to minimize support structure and damage from wind.)
(3) Low cost (because no sponsor)
 
Although we wanted to use laser, microwave or other advanced technology to this competition, but we decided use white light because we have limited human resources and money.  So we could focus to develop climber for this year.
 
According to our calculation and ground test (not using ribbon but using actual xenon light and solar panels, we proved that we could get enough power to climb at the starting point. (ex. 10m)
 
That means something happening in Electric circuit between solar panels and electronics/motor driver circuits.  Still we need to study and experiment more to know this cause.
 
Anyway, we are proud to compete with other experienced teams.  And we hopefully can compete at next years game in US again.
 
To do that, we need to have good sponsor to understand about SE.
 
Our big concern about all Climber teams is for three years, no team won at all.  If continuously criteria is becoming difficult, number of team will be decreased and can not do good competition.
 
So E-T-C’s idea as a member of Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) is as follows. 
(1) Divide roles or goals to two or three by Spaceward, Euro Spaceward amd also JSEA. 
(2) Each fundation will focus to hold competition for individual part od Space Elevator system. 
    Ex: US Spaceward focus to Power beam challenge
         Japanese foundation (JSEA) focus to climber, etc…
(3) And at each competition’s winnner’s system can be used at other competition. 
     Ex. If USST won power beam challenge, their system can be used at Japanese Climber challenge, etc.
 
Of course, JSEA needs to talk Japanese government or big company like Toyota, Honda, in Japan to have prize money for competition in Japan.  But it maybe good idea.  I felt not only our team but also other teams are almost ‘Broke’.  And it makes more difficult to keep each team’s physical strength and motivation.  This kind of effort should be done by European and Japanese (or Asian) group too.
 
I also have a strong confidence that one of us (all teams) can prove that ‘Our Generation Will Go To Space’!!.

Do not give up and work together,

Akira Tsuchida
Team Lead, Earth-Track-Controllers
e-t-c(at)earth-track-controllers.com”

(As always, click on the photo thumbnails for a larger version of the picture)

Add comment November 4th, 2007

Sweeties at the Games

There were several children at the Spaceward Games this year and I’m finally getting around to posting some pictures and videos that I have taken of them.  I’ve already posted the video of Jeffrey Leafblad entertaining us with his juggling here.

Here are two extremely cute little girls we were fortunate enough to have at the Games.

The first is Corin Turner, age 7, daughter of Brian Turner (captain of the Kansas City Space Pirates) and his wife Cindy.  She is standing in front of one of the posters in Building 1 (the office building).  Look at that smile!  She is wearing several of the very popular Kansas City Space Pirates tattoos - Brian tells me she didn’t take them off for a week!

And the second is Dorothy Nugent, age 3&1/2, daughter of Tom Nugent Jr. (Project manager of the LaserMotive team and well known to everyone from his LiftPort days) and his wife Elizabeth.  Dorothy is the source of the famous line; “Daddy, I have to make Poopies.” chronicled here.

I think they’re both going to be heart-breakers when they get older :-)

(As always, click on the thumbnails for a larger version of the picture)

Add comment November 4th, 2007

Two almost-competitors

As you all know, there were a total of eight teams which competed in this year’s Climber /Power-Beaming competition.  Two other teams, however, almost made it and they brought their climbers to display to the crowds and to the other competitors.

One was from Arthur Shay’s Team Zero-G.  This is a Stirling-engine powered climber, the third attempt, I think, at doing such an entry at the Games.  None of them have been able to compete, however, so either the technology is flawed or it just hasn’t been executed as well (or as soon) as it should.  Incidentally, Arthur was/is trying to make this climber an open / cooperative effort (ala Michael Laine and Liftport).  If you’re interested in participating with this team at next year’s Games, give Arthur a shout at zero.g.tec [AT] gmail [DOT] com - he’d love to hear from you.

The other was Michael Harvey’s entry; the Andromeda Connection.  This device was to be powered by MOLPSol, their “Solar Laser”.  From his website: “A solar laser. Of course any device producing white light cannot be considered a laser in the strictest sense of the word, but, it’s similar to a laser in that it produces a collimated beam of light with a relatively narrow bandwidth.”  It would have been very interesting to see this Climber in action.  And, I’m not trying to be snarky or anything, but this Climber looks for all the world like something out of “Lost in Space”. :-)

I was able to talk with both competitors briefly, certainly not as much as I would have liked to - but other events / blogging kept me pretty busy.  Let’s hope that we see both of these competitors at next year’s Games.  The Prize Money is now a cool $900,000 - enough to get anyone’s pecuniary juices flowing, for sure.

Click on the thumbnails for larger versions of the Climbers.

1 comment November 1st, 2007


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