March 2nd, 2009
No, there’s nothing wrong with me (outside of a nasty cold that had me bed-ridden for a few days), there’s just not much going on in the “Space Elevator World” at this time.
Work still continues on finalizing arrangements for the next Space Elevator Games. It has been reported in many places (but NOT this blog) that the Games are scheduled for April 26th-30th, or alternatively, April 27th-May1st. This may yet happen but is NOT yet certain. When the dates and location are set, you’ll hear about it first here on this blog and, of course, on the Spaceward website. Several of us, including some team representatives, visited the Kennedy Space Center in late February to meet with people from ISTEF, the Kennedy Space Center, NASA, and several other groups to discuss logistical problems and find solutions. This is no small task. What Spaceward and the teams are attempting to accomplish this year is truly quite astonishing; creating a laser-powered climber speeding along at an average speed of 5 meters/second up a kilometer-long steel cable racetrack held up by a hovering helicopter. Because the teams are beaming class-4 lasers essentially straight up into the air, flight restrictions must be observed so that aircraft, especially low-flying aircraft, are not allowed in the area during climbs. Also, the actual scheduling of the runs must take into account overhead satellite passes as it is might be possible for these lasers to affect some satellite optics. In addition, because reflections from these lasers off of the climbers can be potentially dangerous, procedures and ’safe’ areas need be designated so that the “6 year old albino kid who never blinks and has both a 12″ Celestron telescope and a litigious mother” are taken into account and kept safe. All these problems are solvable, but many parties are involved and all have to be satisfied that the plan is a sound one.
Speaking of lasers, LaserMotive’s Jordin Kare recently appearedon Dr. David Livingston’s Space Show. Jordin really knows lasers and the show is quite informative - tune in and enjoy…