I received the following “post-Games thoughts”, as well as the three photos in this post, from Akira Tsuchida, captain of Team E-T-C, Earth-Track-Controllers. In addition to building a prototype of a Space Elevator which they entered in this year’s Games, they also have a pretty cool day job, tracking the International Space Station (ISS). I imagine with the problems on board the ISS recently (chronicled here), things have been a bit hectic with their employment lately too. The topmost photo is an E-T-C Team photo. The one in the middle is a cool night shot of the spotlights they used to power their climber. And the photo on the bottom is a very good image of their illuminated climber at night as it attempted to climb.
“Subject: E-T-C recovered and started investigation why our Climber did not climb
We drove back to Houston for 3 days to return Xenon light, then some members flew back to Japan on last weekend. It took long time to recover and finally E-T-C had a first meeting on Nov 3 after finish competition this year. We re-assembled our climber again to investigate real reason what is happening in SLC. As all participants knows, E-T-C climber could not climb at all.
Some people mentioned, even team member,E-T-C Climber seems too heavy. But I still do not think it is TOO heavy. Of course, comparing with other 7 team which participated games in Salt Lake City. Probably our wheel and mechanism is the heaviest.
E-T-C designed this climber as our first challenge to win this competition using the following concept.
(1) Try to have highest efficiency motor and energy transformation mechanism
(Use high performance motor and high efficiency gear)
(2) Minimize weight of solar panels (modules)
(Laminated thin mono crystal silicon PV array helped a lot to minimize support structure and damage from wind.)
(3) Low cost (because no sponsor)
Although we wanted to use laser, microwave or other advanced technology to this competition, but we decided use white light because we have limited human resources and money. So we could focus to develop climber for this year.
According to our calculation and ground test (not using ribbon but using actual xenon light and solar panels, we proved that we could get enough power to climb at the starting point. (ex. 10m)
That means something happening in Electric circuit between solar panels and electronics/motor driver circuits. Still we need to study and experiment more to know this cause.
Anyway, we are proud to compete with other experienced teams. And we hopefully can compete at next years game in US again.
To do that, we need to have good sponsor to understand about SE.
Our big concern about all Climber teams is for three years, no team won at all. If continuously criteria is becoming difficult, number of team will be decreased and can not do good competition.
So E-T-C’s idea as a member of Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) is as follows.
(1) Divide roles or goals to two or three by Spaceward, Euro Spaceward amd also JSEA.
(2) Each fundation will focus to hold competition for individual part od Space Elevator system.
Ex: US Spaceward focus to Power beam challenge
Japanese foundation (JSEA) focus to climber, etc…
(3) And at each competition’s winnner’s system can be used at other competition.
Ex. If USST won power beam challenge, their system can be used at Japanese Climber challenge, etc.
Of course, JSEA needs to talk Japanese government or big company like Toyota, Honda, in Japan to have prize money for competition in Japan. But it maybe good idea. I felt not only our team but also other teams are almost ‘Broke’. And it makes more difficult to keep each team’s physical strength and motivation. This kind of effort should be done by European and Japanese (or Asian) group too.
I also have a strong confidence that one of us (all teams) can prove that ‘Our Generation Will Go To Space’!!.
Do not give up and work together,
Team Lead, Earth-Track-Controllers
(As always, click on the photo thumbnails for a larger version of the picture)