Daily Archives: October 17, 2007

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 31)

Both LaserMotive and Centaurus passed the “qualification” tests that were run today.  This means that all 8 teams which have showed up “qualified”.

I put “qualified” in quotes because now I’m not quite sure what that means.  It was my understanding that the teams which passed todays tests were considered qualified.  Now it’s my understanding that this is only provisional.  If the weather tomorrow does not permit additional qualification runs, then the tests today will be considered qualification ones.  However, if the weather tomorrow does permit runs to be made, then the teams have to go through the same qualification tests which the Kansas City Space Pirates successfully did on Monday.

At least that’s my understanding now.  I’m sure it will be clarified in tomorrow morning’s team meeting.

I am uploading the “qualification” videos now to YouTube.  They will take some time and then I will include them in the next post.

In the meantime, I’d like to salute the hard-work and inventiveness shown by the three people who were largely responsible for putting together the indoor “qualification” rig.  From left to right, they are Michael Fischer, Bryan Laubscher and Vern McGeorge.  Some people may recognize Michael as being one of the entrants into last year’s Games.  He tells me that he is also an honorary member of the E-T-C team.  Bryan is the safety officer and is also a major booster of the Space Elevator concept (and a partner with Dr. Brad Edwards in Black Line Ascension).  Vern is a long time Spaceward volunteer and is one of the crew who works in the background making things happen.

Thanks, guys.  Without your work today, these runs would have never happened.

(Click on the thumbnail for a larger version of the picture)

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 30)

A couple of videos that you might be interested in…

The first shows the hail and snow that we experienced a while ago.  As I write this, (about 9:15pm – Utah time), we’re having cold, rainy conditions.  But it is supposed to improve tomorrow – we should have one of the cranes here and get some good practice runs in.


This second video is of Jeffrey, a 13 year-old member of the Kansas City Space Pirates showing off one of his unique talents.  He’s pretty good…

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 29)

The Space Elevator Games now have webcams!! Marc Boucher of the Space Elevator Reference has hooked up two of them. One is currently in Building 1 (the office building) and one is in Building 2 (where the teams are setting up).

The pictures refresh every minute.

You can link to them here.

I will also be putting up a link to this on my blog’s sidebar.

Thanks Marc!!

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 28)

Finally some good news.  With the revised qualification setup, five additional teams were able to qualify today.  They include UBC-Snowstar, Technology Tycoons, McGill Space Elevator Team, E-T-C and USST.  Including the Kansas City Space Pirates, who qualified on Monday, there are now six teams eligible for the Prize money competition.

Both LaserMotive and Centaurus (who, I’m told, should be here “any time now”) will be attempting to qualify later this evening.

With luck, all eight teams that made it this far will be eligible for the Prize money competition – this would be the best outcome possible.

Congratulations to all the qualifiers !!!

I have videos of all of the qualification runs.  I will be posting those over the next few hours.

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 27)

The revised qualification setup is being installed in Building 3.  It’s proving to be more difficult than first expected (what new?), but is making progress.  Once it’s up, then it will be an “all-weather” setup.  So we can stay late and start early.

The thumbnail is a close-up of the top of the rig.  Click on it for a larger version.

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 25)

Here’s a short video I took of the mountains just outside the venue.  Yes, folks, that’s snow up there, and it wasn’t there yesterday.  Some of the forecasts for the area say that we might get some too.


Here are thumbnails of some photos I just took of the various team areas.  As always, click on the thumbnails for larger versions of the pictures.

Technology Tycoons sitting around a table and either a) working on last minute details of their qualification run or b) doing their homework (not)…

USST setting up in the official Climber Row building.  They, too, are probably working on details for their qualification run.



The McGill Space Elevator Team, also getting ready for their qualification run.  You may note that they posted on a comment on my previous post about their equipment.  The gash in the antenna is actually deliberate – it allows the “horn” and the waveguide to be mounted through the antenna.  Sorry guys…

The Kansas City Space Pirates Climber, mounted inside a tent.  These guys look pretty relaxed – they’re already qualified…



E-T-C, working on fortifying their climber.  After they saw what the wind did to the UBC climber and mirrors during their attempt yesterday, they decided that some additional bracing would be a good thing…


The LaserMotive area work area.  They have the entire area surrounded with curtains as they are aligning their laser – and the surrounding area must be protected.  I have some video and photos of some the aligning and will be posting those later.


The UBC mirrors – repaired and ready to go.




2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 24)

Some additional broadcast capabilities are coming to these Games.  Marc Boucher, the co-founder of SpaceRef.com, CEO of the Mars Institute, and CEO of a new venture, Hyperix, is setting up a webcam for the event.  This will be focusing on the competition climbs when they are happening and, in between (and before and after) will be taking a snapshot every minute of various places at the venue.

This will all be accessible via the Internet.  When he’s got it up and running, I’ll post a link to it here.  It should be a very good way to get an up-to-the-minute snapshot of various activities.

Just a note about Marc.  He’s also the guy who handles the Space Elevator Reference.  I’ve conversed with him a bit via email and phone over the past year, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to meet him.  He’s a great guy and I’m really happy that we’re working together to cover this.  He’s even more of a gadget-geek than I am.  He’s just shown me his iPod Touch – he told me he bought it so he could read his newspaper while sitting on his sofa 🙂

Incidently, Marc has some good stories and photos up about the Games so far at the Space Elevator Reference – check them out here.

I’ve posted before about the really interesting stuff I’ve found on his daily digest from SpaceRef.com.  If you haven’t subscribed to it, I highly recommend you do.  He’s also starting up a new service called “On Orbit” – kind of a digg for Space news.  You can read more about it at his site

 Nice to make your acquaintance Marc.

(The photo thumbnail is the webcam – click on it for a larger version of the picture)

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 23)

One other development of note.  In this morning’s all-hands meeting, Spaceward and NASA quizzed the teams, asking who could stay if the Games had to be extended a day or two because of the weather (I posted about this yesterday).  Now that the teams have had a day to digest this and check schedules, etc., it appears that almost no one can.

The Kansas City Space Pirates can stay, but they’ll be a bit short-handed.  E-T-C MIGHT be able to stay one day.  USST, McGill, Technology Tycoons, LaserMotive and UBC all either cannot stay or will be so short-handed that they won’t be able to run.  And Centaurus still hasn’t shown up, so no one knows the situation with them…

This could change of course, but that’s the situation at the moment.

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 22)

It’s the morning of the 17th.  The weather is truly crappy, awful, pissy, sucky, rotten, nasty, etc., etc., etc.  It looks like it’s lightening up a bit to the North-northwest, but nothing I would count on.

In order to try and get the qualifications in, the rules have been relaxed.  Spaceward personnel and volunteers are going to try to rig up a forklift unit to qualify on.  This forklift unit can extend to about 30′ feet high.  The trolley mechanism, normally hanging from the top of the crane, will now be hanging from the top of the forklift unit.

For qualification, it will now no longer be necessary to beam power the climber; batteries or AC power are acceptable.  Spaceward wants to verify that a team can mount the climber on a ribbon in a timely manner, have it ascend upwards to hit the cutoff switch on the trolley, descend properly, and then be dismounted from the ribbon in a timely manner.  There will also be no speed requirements because of the very short run.  If a team can do this, it will be deemed “Qualified”.  Of course for the real race, the original rules stay in effect; ascending about 100 meters at an average speed of 2 meters / second, carrying payload, etc.  These revised rules are for qualifying only.

All of the teams here which have not yet qualified (E-T-C, UBC-Snowstar, USST, LaserMotive, McGill and Technology Tycoons) have said that they are ready to qualify today under the modified rules.  Spaceward personnel / volunteers are now busy modifying the trolley and supporting mechanisms to be suspended from the forklift rather than the crane.  Assuming they can make this work, these revised qualifications will start at noon today.  Of course I will be there, recording all…

The video is one I took when I arrived this morning.