The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is co-sponsoring one of the regional BEST competitions this year, the one held in Auburn, Alabama on December 1st and 2nd of this year.
BEST, Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology, is a national 6-week robotics competition in the United States held each fall, designed to help interest middle school and high school students in possible engineering careers…BEST encourages its teams to follow an engineering process, similar to the engineering process used in many engineering jobs. This gives students a taste of what they may have to do in future engineering jobs. It also hopes to get students excited about the field of engineering and more likely to go into it. Although BEST has not been able to keep up with alumni to see if BEST has had an effect on their career path, similar robotics competitions, like FIRST, show that activities like BEST do have a higher rate of students going into science and engineering related fields.
This year’s competition is entitled Warp XX and consists of designing Tether Climbers. I’m going to be attending the competition, taking photos, passing out ISEC ‘goodies’ and talking up the idea of a Space Elevator.
It should be a lot of fun and I look forward to attending and blogging this event.
It’s official – the 2013 ISEC Space Elevator Conference will be held on August 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2013 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.
This is the same place as the 2012 Conference was held at and it is a truly fine venue for an event such as ours.
Planning is already underway and more details will be coming soon.
Mark your calendars and save the date!
I’m a bit behind posting this – the October updates from our friends in Kansas City. Brian Turner, captain and fearless leader of KCSP writes the following:
The laser power supply was fixed under warranty. Lumina power seems to have given me a generous benefit of the doubt about the failure.
I have reinstalled it and everything is testing out fine.
We have lost some momentum. At this point we are just working on power beaming in our spare time.
But in our spare time we have managed to get full control of the quadcopter via our LabVIEW programing environment. This allows us to “close the loop” between the tracking, and laser control systems. Something we would have had to do manually before. I also have improved quadcopter flight stability while hauling the solar panel.
You might wonder why this is taking us so long when Lasermotive pulled it off in about 3 months. The answer is time and money. They had at least 2 full time employees working on it and up to 4 kilowatts of laser power targeted at thousands of dollars of photovoltaic cells. We are limited by having far less laser power and much less expensive photovoltaic cells. If we do nothing but match their performance we will have substantially improved the state of the art from a price/performance point of view.
So… Watch this space.
KC Space Pirates
It’s good to see that even without the NASA prize money available anymore, Brian and the KCSP continue to plug away…
A couple of weekends ago, the second annual European Space Elevator Competition (EUSPEC) was held. ISEC’s own Martin Lades attended this event and has been able to send me some preliminary pictures and information. Winter has arrived early in Europe this year and Martin reports that the first climb was held in the snow! Martin reports:
“The issue was of course the weather with rain and snow on the second day. Picture attached. ~50m climb track.” This is the picture thumbnail in the upper left.
Martin also sent 3 other pictures (taken by Julius Hein) of the competitors enjoying the snow.
The competition was organized by TU Munich as EuSPEC, the WARR working group, one of the oldest university working groups in Germany, and Eurospaceward is a sponsor.
Official results coming soon…
Click on any of the picture thumbnails to see a full size picture.