October 22nd, 2006
The Tether Challenge ended just about a half-hour ago and NASA’s Prize money for the Tether Challenge is safe for another year.
Four teams entered the competition; Astroaraneae, UBC, Centaurus Aerospace and Bryan Laubscher. Lots were drawn to determine who would face who in the two semi-final qualifying matches. Centaurus Aerospace drew Astroaraneae and UBC drew Bryan Laubscher.
Tethers from Centaurus Aerospace and Astroaraneae were both weighed and both came in under the 2 gram limit. They were each then mounted on the Tether Pull machine and measured for length. While Astroaraneae met the 2 meter minimum, Centaurus Aerospace did not and was disqualified.
Tethers from UBC and Bryan Laubscher were then both weighed and they, too, both came in under the 2 gram limit. They were each then mounted on the Tether Pull machine and measured for length. Unfortunately, neither team met the 2 meter minimum and were both, therefore, disqualified. So, Team Astroaraneae won the competition by default.
There was much discussion and unhappiness over the disqualifications, and that topic deserves a separate post.
in the spirit of competition, however, tethers from UBC and Bryan Laubscher were matched against each other in a “non-title” match. Team UBC won when Bryan’s tether parted at 531 pounds. UBC then matched it’s tether against one from Centaurus Aerospace in another friendly competition. Centaurus won when the UBC tether parted at about 880 pounds.
Astroaraneae then faced off against the house tether. The house tether won, but the Astroaraneae tether didn’t part until 1335.9 pounds of pressure was applied - a very impressive performance. This beat last year’s winner by about 100 pounds.
An attempt was then made to break the house tether. It was matched against a high-quality rope, not as competition, but just to see at what level the house tether parted at. This number would then be a factor in next year’s competition. Unfortunately, the house tether proved to be stronger than the machine! The aluminum rollers holding the tethers actually began to force the block holding them outward at one end and the measurement had to be halted. They’re going to have to come up with an alternative method to measure these.
So, congratulations go out to Michael Remington and his Team Astroaraneae! Michael and his team promise to be back next year with an even stronger composition.
Below are some pictures of the Tether Challenge. As always, click on the thumbnails to view a larger version of the picture.