Daily Archives: October 21, 2007

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 65)

The future is on hold…

USST ran tonight, but their system performed pretty poorly – nowhere near their expectations.  They were actually stopped before they got to the top, but a knot was found in the belay line and this prevented them from fully ascending.  Obviously this needs to be taken care of before tomorrow.  But even if the knot had not been there, the slowness of the climb would have prevented it from being considered for Prize Money.

Clayton Ruszkowski, captain of USST, told me that they have figured out what the problem is and it will be corrected by tomorrow.

The top picture is of their Climber as it’s being wheeled out to the Launch pad.  The bottom, left picture is of the laser, taken with my camera on a “Night” (infrared) setting.  I don’t know what the extra beams are – perhaps just optical artifacts from the camera.  The picture on the bottom, right, is another infrared shot of the lit-up climber as it nears the top of the ribbon.  It’s overexposed, but it’s the best my poor camcorder can do.  To be able to see the laser in infrared through the camera’s viewfinder (but not with the naked eye) is just way cool…

The Kansas City Space Pirates look like they will have reconstructed their climber by tomorrow morning and the Technology Tycoons have rented some spotlights to give their climber an extra boost.

So, hopefully we’ll have three real competitors tomorrow.  The all-hands meeting is at 9:00am and the running schedule will be set then.  The weather is supposed to be great, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

More tomorrow…

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 63)

Here’s the video of the Kansas City Space Pirates run.  There was a “whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on, that’s for sure”.


Here are a couple of pictures of the “Solar Cell Salvage Operation” currently in process.  On the left is one of the array supports.  You can clearly see the damaged individual cells.  On the right is a pile if broken and to-be-discarded solar cells.

The captain of the Space Pirates, Brian Turner, has truly earned the title of “Master of Disaster.”  But then Pirates are supposed to break things, aren’t they?

We’ve had no further runs since the Pirates went.  We’re in a wind delay, but are hoping to get things started again at 7:00pm local time.  Both laser teams, LaserMotive and USST are scheduled to run.  E-T-C may run also with their spotlights.

I’ll keep you all posted…

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 62)

Well that was exciting.  The KC Space Pirates made all the way to the top, and they did it in about one minute and eighteen seconds.  Not enough to win the Prize money, but certainly close enough (especially considering that they didn’t have full sunlight AND some of their Climber’s cells flew off partway up) to make them feel optimistic about their next run (assuming the weather lets them, of course).

The thumbnail (click on it for a larger version) shows their climber once it returned to earth.  You can see tha some of the solar panels are missing.  Hopefully they are undamaged and re-usable.

So, I think we have some downtime now – I was able to record the entire climb and will be uploading that to YouTube now.  As soon as it’s ready, I’ll post it.

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 60)

UBC just finished their attempt.  They were running very slowly (it appeared to be well under 2 m/s, but I’ll get the official word later) and they didn’t make it to the top (they ran out of time).

But it was an elegant try.

The picture is of the underside of their climber being reflected from their massive mirrors.  Click on the thumbnail for a larger version.

Technology Tycoons are up next.

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 59)

The Space Elevator Games have been extended to tomorrow.  We finally have some decent weather and the decision was made, not without some controversy in this morning’s all-hands meeting, to extend the competition one day.  It’s unfair to the teams that have to leave (right now only UBC) at this point, but we’re in a situation now where there are no perfect solutions.

Climbs start today at 11:00am, local time.

The schedule is:

11:00   UBC

12:00   Technology Tycoons

1:00    KC Space Pirates

2:00   KC Space Pirates

3:00    LaserMotive

4:00    Tech Tycoons

5:00    E-T-C

6:00    USST

7:00    USST

Tomorrow’s schedule will be decided tomorrow.

I’ll post the results as the occur…

2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 58)

I have an exclusive scoop for all of my readers…


Don’t believe me?  Take a look at this thumbnail of a picture provided to me by Marc Boucher from the Space Elevator Reference.  If you click on the thumbnail you will, as always, see a full-size version of the picture.

It’s a picture of USST’s successful qualification climb.  Marc has much better low-light photography equipment than I do, so he was able to capture this picture.  You’ll note that on the right side of the picture (and illuminated by USST’s laser), you’ll see a UFO!  It’s a spy-ship from an Alien civilization.

Now, even though Marc has the better low-light camera, I’m the one who has contact with a super-secret guy who works at a super-secret sub-agency of the super-secret NSA.  These guys listen to everything, as you know.  They are even able to tap into the transmissions of these Aliens.  The aliens, as many people are aware (but our government refuses to acknowledge) have been monitering us for many decades.  But our double-extra-super-secret agency has been monitering the Alien transmissions as well, and have been able to translate them into English.

Following is the transcript (provided by my most-hidden contact who resides in an undisclosed location a safe distance away from Dick Cheney’s shotgun) of the conversation in the cabin of the spy ship plus the transmissions between them and their mother-ship (located in the L5 Lagrange point).

So that you can better understand this transcript, let me explain who the “players” are.  Skronk and Greezle (phonetic translations of their names) are the captain and co-captain of the spy ship (the one captured in the photograph).  Skippy is the commander of the mother-ship.

The transcript begins just before USST’s qualification run.

Skronk: Stupid humans.  They’ll never get laser power-beaming to work.  You need a government to do something like this.  It’s so funny to watch these pathetic creatures try to do this as part of a competition.

Greezle: I agree.  I mean, look at the last attempt at laser power-beaming, just a bunch of smoke…

Skronk: It took 852 plonkers (120,000 earth years) for our government to develop this technology.  I’m so happy that they control the technological development of our civilization.  If we had left it up to our private sector, it would never have happened and we wouldn’t have been to colonize this quadrant of the galaxy.  Hey, you want to hear a joke?

Greezle:  Sure.

Skronk:  What do you call humans who are too stupid to build a Space Elevator?

Greezle:  I don’t know, what?

Skronk:  Normal!!  Hah hah hah!

Greezle: Hah hah hah!

Skronk:  Commander Skippy is such a hoot…

Greezle: So here goes the test – get ready to laugh…

(USST fires off its laser) 

Skronk and Greezle simultaneously:  What the &%$#(&%* was that?

Skronk:  Greezle, did you see what I think I just saw?

Greezle:  I hate to say it, but it looks like the humans have just successfully demonstrated Power Beaming.  Zoom in your equipment for a closer look…

Skronk:  Doing so…   What the %$(&)^% is a “Saskatchewan”?

Greezle:  I don’t know – maybe a candy bar?

Skronk:  Why would a candy bar company be interested in Power-Beaming?

Greezle:  It doesn’t matter.  You know what this means, don’t you?

Skronk:  Yes I do.  We have to contact Commander Skippy immediately and let [him] know the bad news.

(Communications with the mother ship are established)

Skronk: Commander Skippy, I have the unfortunate task of informing you that the humans have just successfully demonstrated laser power-beaming.

Skippy:  Are you sure?  Do you know what this means?

Greezle:  Yes.  It means that the humans are one step closer to building a Space Elevator.

Skronk:  That would be disastrous.  If they ever developed one, well, there goes the neighborhood.

Skippy:  You’re right.  Let’s just be thankful they can’t make tethers out of carbon nanotubes.  If that happened, we’d really be in trouble…

The transcript ends there.  My extra-double-with-a-cherry-on-top-super-secret-agent from the extra-double-super-secret-agency is going to get me a transcript from their monitering of the Tether competion.  I can hardly wait to hear what Skronk and Greezle will say about that!!

So stay tuned – I will keep my readers posted about the latest communications from Commander Skippy, Skronk and Greezle…