5 years, really…

April 2nd, 2011

Once again, all together now;

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Space Elevator Blog!
Happy birthday to you!

Kind of hard to believe that I’ve been writing this blog for the past five years.  The number of posts I’ve put up has declined somewhat, but, conversely my involvement with the Space Elevator effort has been increasing.  Being President of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) has taken up more and more of my time…  In keeping with my tradition of writing an ‘anniversary post’ (first year summary, second year summary, third year summary and fourth year summary), the following is a list of, IMHO, the more significant happenings in the past 12 months that I was privileged to cover:

Easily the number one highlight in the past 12 mohths was meeting Yuri Arsutanov at the 2010 Space Elevator Conference in Redmond, Washington.  I’m very proud that ISEC played the lead role in getting him (and Jerome Pearson) to attend the Conference.  We’ve also been given permission to name our annual prizes after Yuri and Jerome and for that we are very proud and grateful.  Hopefully we’ll be able to award one or both of them this year.

I would put the Space Elevator Conference and the EuroSpaceward Conference as a tie for “number two” on my highlight list for the past 12 months.  The Space Elevator Conference had, for the first time I can remember, ONLY Space Elevator content - nothing about other launch systems or other non-related topics.  I have nothing against “Loftstrum Loops” and other non-rocket alternatives, but I continue to think that the only one which could be viable someday is the Elevator system.  The EuroSpaceward Conference was also outstanding - with the first day being targeted towards developments in the carbon nanotube arena.  At this year’s Space Elevator conference we’re hopefully going to go one-better by having one day (Friday, August 12th) targeted solely towards developments in carbon nanotubes as related to strong tethers.  There are many other research efforts going on with carbon nanotubes, but of course the potential strength of this material is what we’re all waiting for as fast as we can.

Third on my list would be ISEC’s release of its first ISEC Report - this one headed up by Dr. Peter Swan and focusing on Space Elevator Survivability - Space Debris Mitigation.  It’s our first report and one we’re very proud of.  Dr. Swan and his team did a great job with this.

Fourth on my list would be the Strong Tether competition, held last year at the Space Elevator Conference.  There were two carbon nanotube entries and one carbon nanotube “hybrid” entry, the first time that entries made out of this material have been the only competitors.  This competition would have rated higher on my “highlight list” had the Tethers performed any better.  I’m hopeful we’ll see much stronger competition this year at the Space Elevator Conference (the competition is being held on Friday, August 12th, as part of the “Strong Tether” day).

Other highlights for the past 12 months include ISEC’s new website, the Japanese Space Elevator Association’s JSETEC and LASER ‘10 competitions and third annual conference, the awarding of two “Honorable Mentions” for the 2010 Artsutanov prize (here and here), the “Closure Party” for the Kansas City Space Pirates (as sad as that was), the release of the 2009 and 2010 ISEC Posters, the release of a Space Elevator app for the iPad, the strengthening of the ISEC team with Ben Jarrell (Legal Pillar lead), Matt Gjertsen (Public Outreach Pillar lead) and Skip Penny (Board of Directors) joining us and, finally, the continual amusement provided to all of us by the guys over at Elevator2Space.com.

What will the next 12 months bring?  Well, ISEC should be releasing its first Journal in the next month or so.  In addition, we should see the release of the 2011 ISEC Poster, the second ISEC Report (this one on strong tethers) and the first Space Elevator Concept of Operations report.  Also upcoming are the 2011 Space Elevator Conference and Strong Tether Challenge, the 2011 EuroSpaceward and JSEA conferences, the first European Space Elevator Challenge (EuSEC), the 2011-2012 JSETEC and LASER competitions hosted by JSEA and some other stuff which I probably can’t even imagine right now.

If you want to get involved, join ISEC!  We are helping to push this magnificent concept forward, but we can only go as far as our member donations let us.  We need you - we need your membership donations - we need your enthusiasm and ideas.

Stay tuned!

Entry Filed under: News / Announcements

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Markus Klettner  |  April 3rd, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Ted, congratulations and thanks for your tremendous efforts!
    Receive a boost for further 50 years!

    Kudos to you!

    Markus Klettner

  • 2. Pete  |  April 5th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    thanks for the summary… man there was a lot accomplished around the world… thanks for the leadership.

  • 3. Michael Silverton  |  April 7th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Happy Birthday! Wow, time flies off into space when you’re having fun! Onward!

  • 4. Jon  |  April 29th, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Just a question:
    If you ground a conductor and stick it way out into the upper atmosphere what will happen when the solar wind blasts the earth with high energy? Won’t those lazy little electrons seek the easiest path to…Earth? I’m thinking “Aurora-Elevatorus”

  • 5. Ted Semon  |  May 2nd, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    From the Spaceward page: “True, there is a high voltage (potential difference) between the ground and the upper atmosphere, and also between the ground and the Ionosphere. The short answer here is that what matters is the voltage gradient, or the voltage per meter length - the high voltage is handled well by the very large resistance of the tether.

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