February 14th, 2008
While perusing the current list of team’s entered into this year’s Climber/Power-Beaming competition, I noticed that the National Space Society (NSS) had recently been added to the mix. Now I’m a member of NSS so I was quite intrigued as to what they planned to do. I recently spoke with Bert Murray from the NSS. Here is what I learned from the conversation.
Bert (with the enthusiastic backing of George Whitesides, the Executive Director of NSS) has recruited the beginnings of the NSS team. In addition to Bert (who is the team lead), the team includes Matt Abrahms (Chief Engineer), Steve Laroche (command and control), Chris Barnes, Aaron Bakos (who works at Bosch Home Applications, a company that uses Trumpf lasers for fabrication) and Al Burke (Robotics).
Matt Abrahms, as you may recall, was the guy who was behind the Starclimber entrant into the 2006 Space Elevator Games. It’s great to see him back in the picture.
Bert is looking to expand this team (to at least 10 members) with the emphasis of making it a “senior team”. Bert, who has 30 years experience in the aerospace and transportation industries, works at Lockheed-Martin during his “day job”. He is looking to put together a team that has an “engineering” mindset, meaning a heavy emphasis on planning, project management and testing, testing, testing (“build a little, test a little, learn a lot”).
IMHO, the only teams with a chance to win the Climber/Power-Beaming prize now, with the requirements so high, are teams that take this engineering-management approach so I certainly concur with the way they are organizing.
They have talked with Trumpf about using their equipment as a power source; talks are ongoing.
Bert tells me that they want to compete in 2008, and hopefully win, of course, but they are starting late and are focused on the competition in 2009 as well (as is the team from the University of Michigan).
Here’s wishing them luck!