This post contains a couple of videos about the McGill Space Elevator team and their entries in this year’s Space Elevator Games.
Yes, entries, plural. McGill is ready to compete with both a solar powered and microwave powered climber.
The following two videos, narrated by various McGill Space Elevator team members, describe their solar and rectenna arrays.
The Kansas City Space Pirates have come up with “Commemorative payload weights” as both a way of increasing their chances to win (by adding to their Climber’s payload) and raising a little money.
These are etched mirrors which will be the ones actually used as payload weights. If the KC Space Pirates win this competition, these should certainly be worth a few bucks. In the video, Brian explains all…
Once again, weather is playing havoc with the Space Elevator Games. The wind (and now rain) conditions today have limited qualification attempts to just one, the failed attempt by UBC-Snowstar. Both E-T-C and the Technology Tycoons were also ready to attempt to qualify, but weather prevented it.
The forecast is now looking pretty gloomy for the Salt Lake City area for the next few days. Because of that, there is now a contingency plan in place to extend the Games by up to two days (through Tuesday, October 23rd, IF NECESSARY. A Team Captain meeting was just held to inform the teams of this possible change of plans.
Of course this will play havoc with travel schedules, school schedules (for our High School and University students), work schedules, etc. The Davis County Fairgrounds has kindly made their facility available for the extra two days if necessary.
This sucks, but we really can’t control the weather. Hopefully things will clear up, at least enough to qualify the Climbers for their runs before the weekend.
The Light Racers and the Tether Pull competitions, as they’re being held indoors, will still be held on Saturday, October 20th.
Again, these are contingency plans, hopefully not necessary. But we want to be ready if weather does not cooperate.
(The picture is of the deserted competition “ring”. As always, click on it for a larger version of the picture.)
Here are some pictures of the McGill Space Elevator team’s (damaged) equipment.
This is their Microwave antenna. You can see the gash at the top.
Here is the rectenna, also slightly damaged.
And here is their climber. It, too, has problems, but they are working on fixing them.
These guys are very busy getting things working so I’ve not bugged them about details of the accident. But I will before the Games are out…
As always, click on the thumbnails for a larger version of the picture.
The Technology Tycoons showed up today, the 7th team (of the 8 we are expecting) to arrive. This is the team which, last year, was known as “Lite Won”. They are from Campbell High School located in, oddly enough, Campbell, California.
Even though they were the “youngest” (in terms of chronological age of the team members) to compete last year, their performance was most impressive, being beaten out by only USST. I expect no less from them this year.
Last year, their array was directly powered by the sun. Their solar-cell array was facing upwards, using direct sun power (as opposed to the Kansas City Space Pirates which used redirected solar power). NASA has decreed that this will not be allowed this year as it is not “beam technology” (NASA is interested in the beam technology advances these games will show, not a Space Elevator per se. See my previous posting on this subject).
This year, they have just turned their solar cell array upside down. They will be reflecting sunlight onto it with several (10, I think) hand-held, 4’x8′ mirrors. When I asked them how they will be able to know that their mirrors are actually hitting the array, they told me that they will just “follow the ribbon” all the way up. I think they’re being overly-optimistic, but we’ll see. After their performance last year, I’m not counting them out at all. I suggested to them that they get the KC Space Pirates permission to use their balloon to practice targeting the mirrors.
Here are two videos showing them assembling their climber. Their solar array is of the “roll-up” variety, custom made for them by a company called Power Film (http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/) out of Aimes, Iowa.
UBC-Snowstar attempted to qualify today, but wind problems prevented them from doing so. The wind tore some of the solar cells off of the climber itself and also ripped off some of the reflective panels from their two massive mirrors.
The videos below show the wind conditions and the state of the UBC-Snowstar mirrors after their first attempt.
It’s no windier than it was in Las Cruces last year, so these conditions are not unexpected.
This morning, we held our first all-hands meeting. These will be held every morning at 8:00am. In this meeting, Ben Shelef (Spaceward Foundation) and Ken Davidian (NASA) will go over any issues that have come up. All teams are to attend and can bring up any issues they want.
In this meeting, the general schedule was discussed. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are reserved for qualification runs, done on an ad-hoc basis (whoever is ready to go, goes). On Thursday, we’ll try to run on a simulated competition schedule where climbs are run every hour on the hour. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, of course, are the main competition days. Climbs are scheduled to run each hour, on the hour. Of course, that is weather dependent.
The video below is a snapshot of the meeting.
Another day of getting ready for the Space Elevator Games begins. The video, below, was shot just after I entered the competition site early this morning.
We have our first all-hands meeting scheduled for 8:00am, and one will be held every day from now through the end of the competition…