Monthly Archives: June 2012

All Fall Down

Veterans of the Spaceward’s Foundation Space Elevator Games have the pleasure of knowing Vern McGeorge.  He’s one of those guys who works tirelessly behind the scenes getting stuff done, getting stuff made, getting stuff fixed, so that the competitions can go on.  I have blogged about Vern’s contributions before, and that didn’t do him justice – he’s one of the good guys that just makes things happen.

Several weeks ago, I stumbled across his first novel, All Fall Down, a story about (in Vern’s words):

When Col. Roberto di Vincente, driven to avenge the shooting of his wife by U.S. Marines, leads a paramilitary attack on the Space Elevator’s base platform anchored off the coast of Brazil, Marcus Gant, the deputy chief of security, is taken hostage along with most of Port Sheffield’s crew. Gant had hoped to live peacefully, far from the streets of Boston where his on-duty shooting of a child tore his family apart. When his boss is executed following a failed escape attempt, he is thrust into leadership of Port Sheffield’s nascent resistance movement.

Stephanie Petersen and the visiting VIPs, including the man di Vincente blames for the death of his wife, escape up the elevator during the attack. An enemy force, led by Major Eduardo Vieira, di Vincente’s ruthless second-in-command, follows in close pursuit. At Clarke Station, Stephanie is reunited with her estranged husband, Tom. Together they will make their stand.

Col. di Vincente intends to use the Space Elevator to lift small missiles high above the earth, giving his nuclear and biological weapons global reach. His goal is to coerce social justice from the temperate “haves” for the tropical “have-nots” who have been reduced to pariah status following a world-wide plague.

His financial backer, Daniel Falcao, and Major Vieira, plan to betray him and launch the missiles against major cities in the developed world so that Brazil can emerge from the resulting chaos as a world power.

Learning this, the President of the United States has set in motion Slam Dunk; simultaneous preemptive nuclear strikes against Port Sheffield and Clarke Station. Marcus, Stephanie, and Tom must race against time to prevent the destruction of the Space Elevator, the sacrifice of its crew, and the possible slaughter of two-billion people. 

Intrigued, I purchased the book on my Kindle (I love my Kindle – thank you wife!) and devoured it in two late-night sittings.  It’s a great read and I highly recommend it.

And, to make things even better, Vern will be ‘selling’ All Fall Down for free, at Amazon, on the Kindle, from July 4th through July 8th.

The book’s Amazon website is here.  Vern’s blog, Spark of Ideation can be found here.

Just a note about the content – the Space Elevator in this story is not a tensile structure (which current thinking dictates it must be) but rather more in the mold of the one described by Sir Arthur C. Clarke in his Fountains of Paradise.  Vern talks about why he chose this model and many other considerations in the book’s Afterword.  Vern does have some additional Space Elevator novels in the pipeline and, well, that’s a story for another post.

“Getting to space on a thread…”

While reviewing some of the older Space Elevator Conference programs and trying to see if some of the presenters were still active in the SE arena, I ran across this 2007 paper by Major Jason Kent.

This paper, entitled “Getting to Space on a Thread – Space Elevator as an Alternative Access to Space” was a “Blue Horizons paper” written for the Center for Strategy and Technology for the Air War College.

Major Kent presented a couple of papers at the 2008 Space Elevator Conference and I remember having some very interesting discussions with him during one of the lunches.

Because a Space Elevator will allow such scalable, reliable (and relatively inexpensive) access to space, there is no question that it will be a very significant military asset to whoever controls it.  There is a viewpoint that if the world cooperatively builds a Space Elevator, then, perhaps, we can make it a ‘universal good’, much like, say, the Internet is.  Others (including me) are not so optimistic.

Regardless, it is very interesting to see a military evaluation of the Space Elevator and the article is (IMHO) well worth the read.

The Return of the Kansas City Space Pirates

Followers of this blog and/or the Space Elevator Games are very familiar with the Kansas City Space Pirates.  Captain Brian Turner and his fellow team members competed in several of the Space Elevator Games – Power Beaming competitions and acquitted themselves very well.

They have a new challenge they want to meet and that is to break the record for longest continuous flight of an aircraft fueled solely by wireless power-beaming.  Several days ago, they issued this Press Release, detailing what their plans are.  Money quote from the Release:

This August the KC Space Pirates will take the next step in the development of laser powered flight and in the art of wireless power beaming. We will attempt to keep a one pound robotic aircraft flying for 2 full days (48 hours), nearly 4 times the previous world record…The date of this attempt is set to coincide with the International Space Elevator Consortium’s ( annual conference in August of this year.

The current record is held by LaserMotive, also a veteran (and prize-winner) of the Power-Beaming competition.   With NASA ending its support for the Power-Beaming competition, it’s good to see that the spirit of competing is alive and well.

More to come soon – bring it on!

Space Elevator conference registration now open!

Registration is now open to attend the 2012 Space Elevator Conference.  Register prior to July 9th to take advantage of the “Early Bird Special” pricing!

As noted earlier, the conference this year will be held from August 25th through the 27th at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, the first time in this venue and the first time that the conference has been organized by the International Space Elevator Consortium.

Lots of events and speakers are scheduled and, if the ‘early returns’ are any indication, this promises to be the best conference ever.

Make your plans now and we’ll see you there!