Monthly Archives: May 2010

Future Space Elevator Architect

Several months ago, I put up a post about my first grandchild being born.  Karl is nearly 7 months old now and his mother just emailed me a picture of him dressed up in the NASA outfit I purchased for him from the NASA gift shop at the Dryden Flight Research Center.

Future space elevator architect, no doubt about it.

Click on the picture thumbnail to see a full-size version…

Hey Lasers – Happy 50th birthday!

According to the LaserFest website, today, May 16, 2010, marks the 50th anniversary of the laser.  First demonstrated by a team lead by American physicist Ted Maiman.

From Wikipedia:

In 1917, Albert Einstein established the theoretic foundations for the LASER and the MASER in the paper Zur Quantentheorie der Strahlung (On the Quantum Theory of Radiation); via a re-derivation of Max Planck’s law of radiation, conceptually based upon probability coefficients (Einstein coefficients) for the absorption, spontaneous emission, and stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation; in 1928, Rudolf W. Ladenburg confirmed the existences of the phenomena of stimulated emission and negative absorption;  in 1939, Valentin A. Fabrikant predicted the use of stimulated emission to amplify “short” waves;  in 1947, Willis E. Lamb and R. C. Retherford found apparent stimulated emission in hydrogen spectra and effected the first demonstration of stimulated emission;  in 1950, Alfred Kastler (Nobel Prize for Physics 1966) proposed the method of optical pumping, experimentally confirmed, two years later, by Brossel, Kastler, and Winter.  On 16 May 1960, Theodore Maiman demonstrated the first functional laser at the Hughes Research Laboratories,  capable of producing short pulses.

Of course lasers are what power the Climbers in the Power-Beaming Competition at the Space Elevator Games and lasers are, in all probability, going to be at least part of the power equation of a real Space Elevator.

The LaserFest website is very cool – lots of interesting videos and articles – it’s well worth a visit or two.

So, happy 50th birthday congratulations to the Laser!

(Hat tip to  Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log)

(Update June 13, 2010 – Patricia C. has translated this article in Belorussian.  You can find that article here.  Thanks Patricia!)

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.

NASA Centennial Challenges Video

Recently posted on the NASA MICI (Minority Innovation Challenges Institute) website is a short video showing portions of the competition in several of the recent NASA Centennial Challenges.

The Power-Beaming competition is shown, of course, with the 2009 prize-winners, LaserMotive, as the representative.


If you visit their photos/videos page, you can see several other cool things worth watching.

Hat-tip to the LaserMotive blog posting which alerted me to this.

‘Garage Inventors’

A few days ago, NPR radio broadcast a segment on ‘Garage Inventors’.  Three of them were discussed and one was our very own Brian Turner – Captain and Fearless Leader of the Kansas City Space Pirates Climber / Power-Beaming team.

The segment is about 9 minutes long as is well worth listening to.  Check it out!

The photo thumbnail is of Brian working in his garage.  This was the cover of the July 1, 2007 NYTimes Magazine.  Click on it to see a full-size version.

Hat-tip for the NPR broadcast to Susan Seichrist – the designer of this blog’s masthead and, most definitely, Ben Shelef’s better half…

LaserMotive gets a new look

LaserMotive has a new website – a new, spiffy look to present to the world.  The home page includes several photos and a drawing (I’ve never heard of a ‘quadrocopter‘ before)  They also have a new slogan / catchphrase;

Power on a Beam of Light

I like it.

For those who don’t know, Team LaserMotive was the winner of $900,000 in the 2009 Climber / Power-Beaming competition – part of the Space Elevator Games held at the NASA Dryden facility in the Mojave desert.

With their winnings, they’ve now hired some people full time (chronicled here).  Their blog has several new entries, including this one discussing their first White Paper – using lasers to power UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).

Make sure you check it out!

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!

Registration now open for 2010 Space Elevator Conference

Registration is now officially ‘open’ for the 2010 Space Elevator Conference.  Following is a copy of the Press Announcement:

The Space Engineering and Science Institute Presents
2010 Space Elevator Conference
Redmond, Washington, USA
August 13 – 15, 2010
Sponsored by Microsoft Corporation

The 2010 Space Elevator Conference is a three-day conference to be held in Redmond, Washington at the Microsoft Conference Center on August 13-15, 2010.  The conference, focusing on all aspects of Space Elevator development, will engage an international audience of scientists, engineers, educators, managers, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts and students.

This conference will feature topical discussions in all of the Four Pillars of Space Elevator Development: Science/Technical, Political/Social, Legal, and Economic. In addition, we anticipate technical and speculative presentations on the topics mentioned below.  The evening of August 12th, a public presentation on the Space Elevator will be held at the Microsoft Conference Center.

We invite you to present a paper on a topic of your interest (details below). Check out the conference web site frequently for updates to the conference program and events as they are finalized over the coming weeks.  More details will be sent out as the conference approaches.

Registration is Now Open
Register Today to get the “Early Bird” registration discounts!

Conference to Include:

  • A Free Public Space Elevator Presentation 7:00pm, August 12, 2010, Microsoft Conference Center
  • Space Elevator Overview Presentation – the popular conceptual design
  • NASA Centennial ChallengesStrong Tether Competition – A NASA challenge in materials engineering in which the tether provided by each team is subjected to a pull test to win a $2 million prize
  • Carbon Nanotube Research – presentation on the progress of high strength CNT research
  • Impact on the Future – transformations enabled by the Space Elevator, including exploration, using space resources to solve problems here on Earth, solar power platforms, extra-Terran bases, and colonization
  • Road map Workshops – focusing on the four pillars of development
  • Presentations of the Pearson and Artsutanov Space Elevator Prizes for the ISEC space elevator research paper competition
  • Shotgun Science Session – science ideas not ready for prime time: rapid sequence, 5 min


 Abstract and Presentation Guidance

Abstracts must be in English, one page or less, and summarize a presentation suitable for the conference. We plan on collecting presentations in PowerPoint or PDF format, and offer them for purchase on CD after the conference. In addition, we encourage, but do not require, authors to submit papers that will also be included on the CD. The nominal length of the required final paper should be about 6-10 pages. Abstracts will be evaluated as they are received and authors will be notified of acceptance within five business days. The preferred procedure and format for abstract submittals for this conference is given on the Call for Papers page on our web site:

For all submissions, please include the title, authors and affiliations, mail address, e-mail, and phone number of the corresponding author, and up to 10 key words.  Abstracts are due by May 28, 2010.  Final acceptance notices will by sent by June 4, 2010. Final drafts of the presentations and any accompanying papers, in specified formats, will be due two weeks before the conference, July 30, 2010.

Send your 2010 Space Elevator Conference abstract and paper submission inquiries to:
Technical Chairman:  Hugh Kelso (hkelso [at]
Microsoft Chairman:  David Horn (david.horn [at]


This conference is going to be the best one yet – make your plans now!