May 13th, 2008
The latest set of rulebooks for the Climber / Power-Beaming and Tether events at the Spaceward Games are now available online.
The general outline for this year’s Climber / Power-Beaming event has been known for some time; the climb has been increased to a full kilometer and the average speed needed to be in the running for a prize has been increased to 2m/sec (for the nine hundred thousand dollar prize) and 5 m/sec (for the two million dollar prize). Note that there will be smaller prizes awarded to those teams who make it to the top at less than 2 m/sec but average at least 1 m/sec. Amounts paid will be determined by the number of qualifiers and their overall ranking. To date, a total of eleven teams have signed up. All of them will be laser-powered and all but one (the TXL Group) will be using lasers in the ‘conventional’ sense, i.e. using photovoltaic cells to convert the laser energy into electricial energy. The TXL Group will be using “…a combination of phase change and thermoelectric technology to provide energy to the climber.”
Newly released is the rulebook for the Tether challenge. In previous years, the challenge has been to find a tether that is at least 50% stronger than the house tether. The bar this year has been raised to find a tether that is a) at least 100% stronger than the house tether and b) stronger than 5MYuri (see below). Two levels of prize money are available in this competition as well. If a 2-gram competition tether proves stronger than a 4-gram house tether and 5 MYuri, this entrant is eligible for all or part of the first million dollar prize pool. If a 2-gram competition tether proves stronger than an 8-gram house tether and 10MYuri, this entrant is eligible for all or part of the second million dollar prize pool also. Amounts paid will be determined by the number of qualifiers and their overall ranking. With the advances we’ve seen in carbon nanotube technology over the past several months, this may well be within reach - we all certainly hope so. At the moment, no one has signed up for this competition - we hope to see the return of DeltaX and perhaps some other teams with carbon-nanotube tethers. And hey, if someone can come up with something else strong enough to win the prize, we’d all be eager to see it.
Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation has proposed a new measurement, the Yuri, named in honor of Yuri Artsutanov. From the competition rulebook:
One Yuri = SI-Natural pa-m3/kg, or N-m/kg, and thus a MYuri (Mega-Yuri) is equivalent to the commonly used units of GPa-cc/g and N/Tex.
Only 136 days to go…
(Both picture thumbnails are from the 2007 Spaceward Games. The first one is a night-vision shot of the USST Climber as it neared the top of the ribbon. The second one is of the ‘Tether Torture machine’, before the Tether competition began. Click on either thumbnail for a larger version.)
Entry Filed under: Space Elevator Competitions