Archive for March, 2012

2012 JSETEC is in the works

This coming August, the Japan Space Elevator Association  (JSEA) will be holding it’s fourth annual JSETEC (Japan Space Elevator Technical and Engineering Competition).  Each year, the JSEA gets more and more ambitious with its competition and this year, they are aiming for a racecourse more than a kilometer high!

Planning details are still sketchy, but I have received the following additional information from Devin Jacobson of the JSEA:

The next space elevator competition here looks like it will be the first week of August 8/1-8/5.  We will probably have a narrower/thicker tether 25mm x 1.2mm, and plan to get up past 1km this time.  There is quite a bit of activity due to the recent report from Obayashi Consortium that they plan to build a space elevator by 2050.

We will welcome any teams from the US that want to participate, so I will pass on the competition details once they are fixed.  Sounds like end of June or July will need to be the final decision to come or not. Please feel free to pass the information on as well.  Again there is no prize money but participation fee should also not be too much, probably cost much more just for the trip to Japan :)

If you are interested in participating,  you can contact Devin directly at devinjacobson [at] jsea.jp.

The JSEA also recently held a workshop for JSETEC, 2012.

Previous posts about the 2009 competition here, the 2010 competition here and the 2011 competition here.  There are also several other posts related to these games on this blog - just key in “JSETEC” in the blog’s search window to view them.

Congratulations again to the JSEA - we look forward to an even bigger and better JSETEC this year!

1 comment March 26th, 2012

Mechanic Panic

A new game, Mechanic Panic, has been issued for Apple platforms (iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone) with the Space Elevator as a backdrop and, guess, what, the Space Elevator gets destroyed - how original!  From the game description:

“A catastrophic explosion has rocked the world’s first Space Elevator. Thankfully you’re on the job! As the fearless mechanic, jump as high as you can to save all the people in peril. The environment around you is crumbling. Beware of the many hazards that will come crashing down.”

For a limited time, the game is free, so if you’re a fan of the Space Elevator and an Apple aficionado, head on over to the iTunes link to download it.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke once famously said that the Space Elevator would be built “50 years after people stopped laughing about it.”  Perhaps a more modern take on this is that a Space Elevator will be built “20 years after people stop joking about it crashing”…

2 comments March 23rd, 2012

EDDE gets funded!

Most anyone in the space elevator community knows who Jerome Pearson is.  He’s one of the people who independently re-invented the idea of Space Elevator, wrote a seminal paper on the subject and provided much of the rigorous engineering and mathematical underpinnings that such a structure would need.

He attended the 2010 Space Elevator Conference (along with Yuri Artsutanov) and gave a presentation on his “Electro-Dynamic Debris Eliminator” (EDDE) idea, an idea for a low-cost solution to getting rid of large pieces of space debris.

I am happy to report that his idea has now received funding from NASA to begin serious studies and experimentation for this effort.  You can read more about that here.  And you can visit the website of his company, Star Research, here, and his page on the EDDE project here.

Finally, I would be remiss to not mention that the inaugural issue of our space elevator Journal CLIMB very proudly included a paper written by Jerome on the EDDE project.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this initial project is successful and leads ultimately to a solution for the Space Debris problem that is of increasing concern to everyone who pays attention to these things.

2 comments March 22nd, 2012

ISEC.INFO -> ISEC.ORG

When the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) was first formed, the only website available with the ISEC acronym was http://www.isec.info.  Much later on, http://www.isec.org became available and we snatched it up.  You can visit either URL and see the ISEC website, but our internal/external email addresses have always been isec.info, not isec.org.  This has been due to the vagaries of Google email and our own internal procrastination to ‘bite the bullet’ to favor one URL over the other.

We are now finally transitioning our email to the isec.org address.  These new email addresses are now active and the isec.info email addresses we have used in the past are being phased out.

So, the upshot of this all is this - if you want to contact ISEC or anyone in ISEC, you will need to start using the following email addresses:

  • Ted Semon - President and Director (ted.semon@isec.org)
  • Peter Swan - Vice-President and Director (pete.swan@isec.org)
  • Martin Lades - Secretary and Director (martin.lades@isec.org)
  • Skip Penny - Treasurer and Director (skip.penny@isec.org)
  • Ben Shelef - Director and Technical Pillar lead (ben.shelef@isec.org)
  • Markus Klettner - Director (markus.klettner@isec.org)
  • Bryan Laubscher - Director (bryan.laubscher@isec.org)
  • Ben Jarrell - Legal Pillar lead (ben.jarrell@isec.org)
  • Matt Gjertsen - Public Relations Pillar lead (matt.gjertsen@isec.org)
  • David Horn - Conferences Chairman (david.horn@isec.org)
  • CLIMB - The Space Elevator Journal (climb@isec.org)
  • Membership services (membership@isec.org)
  • Customer Service (customerservice@isec.org)

All other ISEC email addresses are going to be phased out in the next few weeks, so please, update your address books.  If you try to send an email to an isec.info email address after that time, you’ll get a polite email informing you that the old addresses no longer work and that you have to use the new ones…

And, if you want to talk about something related to ISEC, please feel free to email me at ted.semon@isec.org.

Thank you!

Add comment March 21st, 2012

Some truly sad news…

I have just found out that Gaylen Hinton, the first person to be awarded an “Honorable Mention” in the Artsutanov Prize competition and a contributor to Volume 1 of CLIMB, has recently passed away after a long bout with cancer. Gaylen’s online Obituary can be found here.  It’s fascinating reading and just goes to show how so many times we know so little about our fellow human beings…

The last time I heard from Gaylen was several months ago; we were working on the final edits to one of his contributions to CLIMB.  He apologized to me for being tardy in his response saying that he had been diagnosed with “terminal cancer”.  As a cancer survivor myself, I do have some small understanding of what he was going through, though I’ve been much luckier than he was.

Gaylen was never afraid to ruffle feathers - indeed, his Honorable Mention paper talked about his take on ‘misconceptions’ regarding Space Elevator thought and development.  Gaylen passed away before Volume 1 of CLIMB was published so he never saw the final product, but he did know that two of his articles had been included, so we have that as a small consolation.

RIP Gaylen - you will be sorely missed by our community.

(Picture thumbnaiil is of Gaylen being congratulated by Yuri Artsutanov on being awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2010 Artsutanov Prize competition.  This picture was taken at the 2010 Space Elevator Conference held at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington.  Click on the thumbnail to see a full-size version of the picture.)

2 comments March 20th, 2012

Michael Laine to appear on The Space Show

On Tuesday, March 20th, Michael Laine (of LiftPort fame) will appear on Dr. David Livingston’s The Space Show.  From the Who’s On The Space Show This Week email:

We welcome back MICHAEL LAINE of Liftport to discuss his Lunar Space Elevator Concept. Visit his website for more information. 

The show will be aired at 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT) and you are encouraged to call in to ask Michael any questions you might have.

And, you can view the Space Show Website Newsletter to get a detailed bio of Michael as well as information about how to call into the show.

(Image thumbnail of “Moonlifter”, from the Liftport site).  Visit the Liftport 2.0 page - Art of the Elevator to see a full-size version of this picture as well as many more images that have been posted).

2 comments March 19th, 2012

Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Space Elevator

I’m a big fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor (not so sure about the person) and one of my favorite movies of his was Total Recall.  Futuristic, lots of mind-twists, unseen aliens, etc., all things which appeal to a science fiction geeks like me.

In a recent posting on io9, David Hughes tells us how a sequel of Total Recall nearly came into being several times - and, in one of the possible versions, Arnold Schwarzenegger (playing Quaid), goes to work on a construction site for a Seattle-based Space Elevator.  From the article:

Dejected and financially dependent on Rekall, Quaid finds a job on the construction site of a Seattle-based ’space elevator’ — one of Arthur C. Clarke’s proposed constructs tethering an orbital space station to the Earth, allowing payloads to be transported cheaply to and from space.

Meanwhile, an imminent presidential election draws Quaid’s attention to an electoral campaign by Gloria Palomares, the President from his dream, denounced by her opponents as a “mutant lover” for promising to hold a referendum on Mars’ independence if she is elected. Torn between his feelings for Melina (whom he now believes to be a construct of Rekall) and Renee, one of Mrs Palomares’ campaign volunteers, Quaid becomes involved with her political campaign, but is betrayed and framed for an explosion which wrecks the space elevator. Imprisoned for six months in a space prison known as the Pasternak Institute for the Criminally Insane, he manages to escape, and rejoins what remains of the rebels, who tell him of Melina’s death.

Why do they always blow up the Space Elevator?  And, a Space Elevator based in Seattle?  That’s more than 47° north of the equator.  I don’t think so - but hey, it’s Hollywood!

The article is a difficult, confusing read and, I guess it was supposed to be as it is an excerpt from Hughes’ book, Tales From Development Hell.  Reading this excerpt, it seems amazing that anything actually gets done in Hollywood.

But Arnold Schwarzenegger and a Space Elevator?  I’d definitely pay to see that…

(Picture thumbnail of Arnold as they attempt to reprogram him in Total Recall - click on it to see a larger version.)

2 comments March 10th, 2012

JSETEC ‘11

And, catching up with another old item…

In early August of last year, the Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) held their third annual JSETEC (Japan Space Elevator Technical & Engineering Competition) event.  16 teams competed in this event, an event that had, at the highest point, a nearly 600 meter long ‘race-course’.  Just recently, JSEA posted their English-language version video summary of the competition.  You can find it at this JSEA website page (the top version is in Japanese, the bottom one is in English).

Watching this video, I had a very definitive feeling of Déjà vu vis-à-vis the NASA/Spaceward Space Elevator Games.  Yes, I know, there was a lot that was different between the two competitions.  In the 2009 Space Elevator Games, the Climbers were powered by Lasers while in all of the JSETEC competitions the Climbers were battery powered.  And in the Space Elevator Games, the tether was held up by a crane, or, in 2009, by a helicopter while the Japanese used balloons.  But still, there were many things in the video which reminded me so much of the Space Elevator Games…

  • Seeing one of the JSEA competition Climbers catching fire brought back memories of the 2007 LaserMotive entry and the “smoke-filled room”.
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  • Viewing the JSEA competitors working on their Climbers and seeing the note on the video about “repairing” and “modifying” the Climbers “at the last minute” could have been applied to all of the NASA/Spaceward competitions…
  • Watching the rain at the JSEA event reminded me so much of the rain and generally nasty weather at the 2007 NASA / Spaceward competitions held in Layton, Utah.

But there were differences too…

  • When the tether broke at the 2007 Space Elevator Games, it was just replaced with more tether (and a prayer that it wouldn’t break).  When the tether at the JSETEC games needed repairing, well, they repaired it.  The video shot of the ‘many hands’ working on this was remarkable, truly.
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  • JSEA set up a wi-fi network connecting everything at their competition, including the end-point of the competition run.  The Space Elevator Games didn’t do that, but for the 2009 competition, we had full use of all of NASA’s cameras and associated equipment to measure what had (and had not) been accomplished.
  • The 2011 JSETEC competition was held at the “Osawa alluvial fan of Mt. Fuji” while the Space Elevator Games were held on the “Rogers Dry Lake” at the NASA-Dryden facilities inside the Edwards Air Force base.  Two more different locales could not be imagined.

And the idiomatic differences in language, shown in the Japanese video, are much appreciated too.  I think my favorite was the description of the “Belt tether patched by execution committee”…

You know, so many times you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.  I miss our power-beaming Games, I really do.

This is a fine video - check it out.  It’s 14 minutes, 25 seconds long and very much worth your time.  And, for the next JSETEC competition, the Japanese aim for a height of 1,200 meters - higher than the winning run of the 2009 Power-Beaming competition.

Congratulations to JSEA!

(Picture thumbnail is of the USST Climber and the tether which broke while they were attempting a Climb.  Click on the thumbnail to see a full-size version of the picture).

Add comment March 4th, 2012

LaserMotive Tweetup!

Tomorrow, Friday, March 2nd, beginning at 1pm Eastern (10am Pacific), LaserMotive is hosting a Tweetup to mark their 5 year anniversary.

5 years.  Geez.  Lest anyone forget, this is the ONLY team that has won any prize money in the NASA / Spaceward Space Elevator Games.

And, as a side note, though the NASA / Spaceward sponsored power-beaming competition seems to be ‘on hiatus’ as they say, I think the future of space-elevator related competition is bright (pun intended).

So, get on Twitter tomorrow, and tweet Lasermotive @lasermotive.  Feel free to send them questions or just say hello!

Congratulations LaserMotive for reaching yet another milestone!

(Picture thumbnail - courtesy of NASA - is of winning LaserMotive team and their Climber from the 2009 Space Elevator Games - Power Beaming competition.  Click on it to see a full-size picture.)

Add comment March 1st, 2012


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