Updates from the National Space Society (NSS) Space Elevator Team

I received this update from Bert Murray, team captain of the NSS Space Elevator Team;

Hi Ted,

This week the NSS Space Elevator Team finish up our laser absorber tests. The the heat from the absorber will be used to heat helium that in turns drives a Stirling Engine. Attach is a photo of a sample absorber heated with the laser. BTW our Test chamber is a modified army surplus ammunition case.


So, they are using a Stirling Engine to power their Climber.  The last team that tried that was in 2006, I think, the Fischer28 team.  Let’s hope that NSS fares better…

(Click on the thumbnail of the Absorber for a larger version of the picture)

4 thoughts on “Updates from the National Space Society (NSS) Space Elevator Team

  1. Markus Klettner

    Actually Matt Abrams, technical leader of the NSS team, had been entering a climber designed to be driven by a stirling engine already back in 2005. The constraints of his “star climber” in those days: weight of stirling engine / spotlight beam power / just 2 team members to ready the climber. Though he got support of spare parts from the Fischer team, the stirling engine didn’t work sufficiently.
    Let’s wish him and the whole NSS team the best with the laser absorber approach to heat their stirling engine!

  2. Bert Murray

    Actually Matt is key part of the team has adds, and will add alot to the team. I am very glad to have him aboard. Each techlLead is responsible for there subsystems, and some times that is a blurry line. In the end I am provide key technical direction

    Bert Murray

  3. Matt Abrams, NSS 2008-2009 Team

    Thanks for the good wishes. My Starclimber stirling design from 2005 worked with air at near-atmospheric pressure. Alan Diaz and I did our best (with help and donated parts from Mike Fischer and others), but power-to-weight ratio was fundamentally lousy. Fischer’s pressurized helium design had a lot more potential, and we’re following a somewhat similar approach this year.

    I can’t take credit for the new design, though. Technical work for 2008-2009 has been a team effort, with each of us focusing on the subsystems we know best. The engine was developed by Rick Topf, a stirling engine guy with a lot of experience, and built by Anderson Leveille and his experts at Moscow Mills machine shop.


  4. Tom

    Hi NSS Team,
    how about welding it shut to seal the He? I’m working on a Stirling enigne as well, but for solar energy. (www.octosun.com) Please email as I’d like to share ideas with you.

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