Archive for April, 2010

LASER ‘10

On March 21st, the LASER (Lego Bricks Activity and Space Elevator Race) competition was held in Tokyo, Japan.  This event, organized and sponsored by the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA), is an event that allows school children the opportunity to build and race Climbers, constructed entirely out of Legos.  This is the third time this event has been held and this year was named LASER ‘10.

Mr. Hideyuki Natsume, the Director of this event, sent me the following details about the competition:

====================

Regulation of the competition is:

  1. Climb vertical track of 25mm width, 7m high polyester-tether.
  2. The Climber must be made of LEGO bricks.
  3. The Climber must have a ‘residential module’ as would the future Space Elevator!
  4. Award categories were speed, power(payload) and design of the Climber.

The winner of the competition were students from an elementary school!  It was very exciting event not only for the participants, but also the audience.

Overall Awards: (The total score of each category determines the award)

  • 1st Place - Falcon Robots: Team Falcon Robots (elementary school students)
  • 2nd Place - Falcons: Team Falcons (elementary school students)

Individual Category Awards:

  • Speed Award: (For the fastest time to climb.(7m/14.2sec) - Falcon Robots: Team Falcon Robots (elementary school students)
  • Power Award: (For the best efficiency(payload)) - Team Bahamut: Nihon Univ. Buzan Junior High School
  • Mechanical Design Award: (For the best mechanism) - Team Snake: Nihon Univ. Buzan Junior High School
  • SE Design Award: (For the best design for Space Elevator) - COSMIC BOX: Komazawa Gakuen Girl’s Junior High School

Special Awards

  • Nihon University Award: (For the best presentation) - Eritakenchan: Yokohama city Nara Junior High School
  • Team Play Award: (For the best team-work) - SKY-T: Komazawa Gakuen Girl’s Junior High School

We are scheduled for the next competitions this Autumn.  See you next LASER!

(About LASER and previous competition) LASER’09

For additional details, please contact us.
Team LASER ( info [at] jsea.jp )

LEGO is a trademark of ©The LEGO Group.

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In addition to sending me details about the competition, Natsume-san also sent me some photos which I’m including in this post.

This is the venue where the competition was held at.  It is the Komazawa Gakuen Girl’s Junior/Senior High School Memorial Auditorium Inagi-city Tokyo, Japan.
This is a closeup of the climbing mechanism for the entrant that won the “Fastest Climber” Award - Falcon Robots: Team Falcon Robots
And here is a closeup of the winning “Residential Module”, entered by COSMIC BOX: Komazawa Gakuen Girl’s Junior High School.
This photo shows the teams working with their ‘racetracks’ suspended from the auditorium ceiling.  The tethers were 7 meters high and 25 mm wide - think automobile ’seatbelt’…
And this photo shows the competitors, guests and staff of LASER ‘10.  What a great photo!

.
(You can view larger versions of all of these photo thumbnails simply by clicking on them.)

Thank you again, Natsume-san, for sending me all of this information and congratulations to JSEA and all the contestants!

1 comment April 4th, 2010

Space Elevator Blog celebrates its 4 year anniversary

Once again, all together now;

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Space Elevator Blog!
Happy birthday to you!

Four years ago yesterday, I started this blog. It’s been yet another exciting year. In keeping with my tradition of writing an ‘anniversary post’ (first year summary, second year summary and third year summary), the following is a list of, IMHO, the more significant happenings in the past 12 months that I was privileged to cover:

The Space Elevator Games has a winner!  After several years of ever-increasing competition requirements and competitor sophistication, The Spaceward Foundation and NASA awarded Team LaserMotive the very cool prize sum of $900,000.  This was for their >2meter/second run (which they did multiple times) in the 2009 Climber / Power-Beaming competition in the Space Elevator Games.  Coverage of these Games was extensive, both via the Internet, including uStream (which I was privileged to moderate along with Bryan Laubscher) and in the conventional media.  Kudo’s must also be given to the other two competitors in this competition, the Kansas City Space Pirates and USST.  Both of these teams have proved they’re very capable and I fully expect them to compete for the $1.1 Million dollars in prize money still available.  Plans for the 2010 Climber / Power-Beaming competition continue apace and will be announced here and at the official site of the Space Elevator Games when finalized.  In the Strong Tether Competition (the other half of the Space Elevator Games), a team from Japan brought the second, ever, carbon nanotube tether to the competition.  Though this tether was not strong enough to win a prize, it is a portent of things to come.  This year’s Strong Tether competition will be held, again, at the upcoming Space Elevator Conference (August 13-15) in Redmond, Washington.

ISEC becomes a real organization.  After spending some time ‘finding our way’, the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) finally emerged as a real force in the Space Elevator community.  I am privileged to be the President of this group and it is a real joy to be able to work with many of the movers and shakers in the Space Elevator effort.  We’ve adopted our first Strategic Plan and are in the process of making it happen.  Each year, we will adopt a space elevator-related topic as our theme for that year and focus our activities around it.  This year it is Space Debris Mitigation.  We have a ‘red team’ headed up by ISEC Director Peter Swan preparing a paper on this topic.  The Pearson prize will be awarded for the best paper presented this year on this topic.  This topic will be a theme at the Space Elevator Conference.  The ISEC Journal will also adopt this as a theme.  We have a Library Project underway, whereby we will create a central repository / search engine for the major papers and studies on this topic.  And finally, the ISEC Poster for 2010 will have Space Debris Mitigation as its theme.

Artsutanov and Pearson prizes announced.  I am particularly thrilled with this development.  Yuri Artsutanov and Jerome Pearson are two of the co-inventors of the modern-day thinking about Space Elevator design and operation.  ISEC is honoring these two innovators with prizes named after them.  The Pearson prize is $1,500 and will be awarded to that individual who submits the best paper on our 2010 theme; Space Debris Mitigation.  The Artsutanov prize is $2,500 and will be awarded to that individual who submits the best paper on any other Space Elevator related topic.  In addition, ISEC will invite these prize winners to the 2010 Space Elevator Conference to present their winning papers and receive their winnings.  ISEC will cover travel and lodging expenses for the winners.  Abstracts are beginning to come in and it looks like we’re going to have some very interesting papers created.  The deadline for abstract submission is May 15th and details for these prizes can be found on the ISEC website.

Japan - The Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) sponsored the first Asian Space Elevator Competition in August of 2009.  The winning team was from Germany.  In addition, JSEA, sponsored two Space Elevator competitions (LASER ‘09 and LASER ‘10) aimed at getting school children interested in the concept of a Space Elevator.  Finally, JSEA held its second annual Space Elevator Conference in December of 2009.  This is a very active group and we expect great things from them in the future.

EuroSpaceward Conference - I was able to attend the 2009 EuroSpaceward Conference (held in Luxembourg in December) and was privileged to be able to make a presentation on ISEC and our future plans.  This is the third year in a row that EuroSpaceward has hosted this conference, but it’s the first time I’ve been able to attend.  The conference was excellent; very informative and a lot of fun to be at.  They’ve just announced their fourth annual conference for Dec 4-5 of this year.  Markus Klettner heads up this organization and it, too, is very active in the Space Elevator effort.

The 2009 Space Elevator Conference.  This was the second year in a row that the conference was held at the Microsoft Conference center in Redmond, Washington and I’m very pleased to say that they will host the 2010 conference again this year (August 13-15).  The Conference facilities are outstanding and contributed to a most-excellent conference this past year.  With all of the ISEC activities we have planned for this year at the conference and, with the Strong Tether competition again being held at the conference, I think this year’s conference will be the best ever.

The Elevator2Space series debuted in 2009 and published a series of 26 episodes.  All of them are funny - it’s difficult to pick a favorite (though I really liked this one and this one and this one).  You can view all of the episodes on their website.  Very, very creative.

Other highlights include seeing Designs for a Space Elevator Base Station, honoring the 40th Anniversary of the first moon landing, the publishing of Space Tethers and Space Elevators and, of course, celebrating the announcement of the world’s first space elevator.

I’ve also enjoyed watching the traffic at this site continuing to grow.  This Space Elevator Blog has recorded well over 288,000 hits since we’ve begun and we’ve been visited by people from 185 different countries!  That’s not all of them, but we’re getting close ?

I also have to mention, again, the fun I had working with Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation and the people at NASA (especially John Kelly and Andy Petro) in the planning and testing leading up to the Climber / Power-Beaming half of the Space Elevator Games.  As most of you know, this competition was held at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.  This is located inside of Edwards Air Force base in the Mojave desert in California.  It is one of the most Über-cool things I’ve ever been involved in.  I put up several posts about this (a couple are here and here), but just have to mention it again - it was unbelievably awesome!

Finally, this past year was special to me on a personal note; I welcomed my first grandchild and I turned 60.  I’m now, officially, getting old…

What will the next 12 months bring?  We have the Space Elevator Games (American and Japanese) to look forward to.  We have Space Elevator Conferences (American and European) to look forward to.  ISEC will continue to coordinate efforts in the Space Elevator arena.  And I’m sure we’ll be surprised by other activities in the Space Elevator effort.

If you want to get involved, join ISEC!  We are helping to push this magnificent concept forward, but we can only go as far as our member donations let us.  We need you - we need your membership donations - we need your enthusiasm and ideas.

Stay tuned!

4 comments April 2nd, 2010

It’s about time!

I am very pleased to report that the Isle of Man Space Agency today announced plans to build the world’s first Space Elevator.  Details can be found here.  According to the news release, the Isle of Man will be partnering with Fox News in this effort.  Rupert Murdoch is quoted as saying “We have won the ratings race on this planet.  We want to be the first news organization on both the moon and Mars and ensure our supremacy there, too.  Rush Limbaugh will head up the Moon division and Bill O’Reilly will be in charge of the Mars branch and a Space Elevator is the only device powerful enough to lift their egos off of the planet.”

President Barack Obama praised the move saying “This is proof that my new NASA policy is already paying dividends.  I urge Congress to pass legislation to ensure that all workers on the Space Elevator, including illegal immigrants, will have health insurance.

In response, MSNBC issued a press announcement stating “Fox News cannot be allowed to monopolize the ’space-waves’.  Though we admit that even a Space Elevator is not powerful enough to lift Keith Olbermann’s ego, we will work to find a solution that can.  We call on President Obama and Congress to overcome Republican objections and repeal the Law of Gravity, thus ensuring a fair and level playing field for all.

Osama Bin Laden issued an audio tape promising to build his own Space Elevator, which he will name the “Tower of Terror”.  “You don’t need gravity to behead people” he is quoted as saying.  He also announced plans to build a space station several thousand miles up on the tower and use it to drop infidels to their death.  “Their screaming as they burn up in the atmosphere should make a lovely sound” he said.   The Disney Corporation immediately announced their intention to sue Bin Laden over the use of the name ‘Tower of Terror’ and, in response, Bin Laden issued a fatwa calling on Muslims to kill Buzz Lightyear as a ‘holy duty’.

The Pope hailed the opening of the new frontiers by saying “We’ve been having difficulty in moving some of our priests and being able to send them to the moon and Mars is a perfect solution for us.”

North Korea immediately denounced the move stating in an official press release; “Our Beloved Leader is mobilizing our armed forces to fiercely repel any attacks from the Space Elevator.  ‘We will deal a decisive and final blow to any and all Elevator invaders!’” he is quoted as saying.

And finally, Sarah Palin is lobbying to become the United States of America’s first ambassador to the Space Elevator saying that  “I can see both the moon and Mars from my house.”

1 comment April 1st, 2010


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