Monthly Archives: July 2008

Happy 50th Birthday NASA!

On this day, 50 years ago, President Dwight Eisenhower signed The National Aeronautics and Space Act (Pub.L. 85-568) to create The National Aeronautics and Space Agency, more commonly known as NASA.  NASA was created to respond to the challenge of Sputnik and officially began operations on October 1st of that year.

I’ve always admired NASA, in spite of its well-chronicled woes, and posted my thoughts about them last year (so I won’t repeat them).  Suffice it to say I’m a big fan.

The picture (from the NASA web site) shows President Eisenhower (center), Dr. T. Keith Glennan, right, commissioned as the first administrator for NASA and Dr. Hugh L. Dryden as deputy administrator.  As always, click on the picture for a larger version.

Happy Birthday NASA!  Long may you continue to amaze us with your accomplishments and long may you continue to ad astra per aspera.

2008 Space Elevator Conference – Press roundup

There has probably been enough time elapsed since the end of the 2008 Space Elevator Conference (last Monday) to have all the articles about it percolate through my RSS feed reader – hence I think this is a good time to do a round-up of those articles.

First up, of course, Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log article, “Will the Space Elevator Rise?”.  It was good to see Alan again.  His office is just a short ride away from where the conference was held and he invited me to visit it, but I just didn’t have the time (I had to forgo a schedule interview, too, sigh…).  Anyway, it’s a fine article, but has prompted a note of Tom Nugent (from LaserMotive) who is quoted in the article as saying that a Space Elevator would “never be built”.  Tom tells me that he told Alan that the FIRST one would not be built on Earth (and he gave a presentation about that), but that someday it might be possible.  I wasn’t part of the conversation so I don’t know who said what to whom in response to which question.

The conference was also featured in Gizmodo, who concentrated on the Lego Space Elevator brought to us by the Japanese contingent.  I have a few other pictures of this Lego model which I’ll send off to Gizmodo.  This must a very popular site; the mention of the Space Elevator Blog caused a large spike in my traffic.

Mary Stevens Decker wrote a fine article about the conference in the Lifestyles section.  It certainly sounds like, from the article, that she attended the Conference; I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet her.

Did you know that there is a podcast show out there devoted to the Elevator industry?  Neither did I.  The Elevator Radio is just such a show.  This host of this show, Tom Cyber Sybert, briefly covers press stories that have anything to do with the Elevator “field”.  Many of the stories in this weeks show were about the Space Elevator and the Space Elevator conference.  In the past, I’ve been the recipient of emails from someone purporting to represent an Elevator manufacturing company in China and promising me the “best prices” on Elevator parts, but this show clearly treated us as not an ordinary Elevator application.  On a related note, I was recently interviewed by Revista Ascensores, a Spanish language publication devoted to the Elevator industry.  Again, the interviewer clearly knew the difference between a “normal” elevator and what we’re trying to do, but thought the interview would be interesting and fun for their readers.  One other note about The Elevator Radio; they are out of Chicago (my own neck of the woods) and they are currently sponsoring a contest where the prize is a Beer-making kit – these guys rock! 🙂  Finally, they mentioned another website,, a site where you can buy such things as a “Rosenberg Tagged Elevator Oiler” and a book published in 1927, “Electric Elevators”.

In an article in, Todd Bishop points out that Microsoft’s sponsorship and hosting of the 2008 Space Elevator Conference doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re interested in building one.  Sigh, too true…

In another article, Tom Paulson discusses the recent coverage and quotes several of the attendees, including Akira Tsuchida, captain of the E-T-C (Earth-Track-Controllers) Space Elevator team and member of the Japan Space Elevator Association, who joked that a Space Elevator would be better for Japan than rockets because “…if we shoot (a) missile in Japan, North Korea might become angry”.

In, Nancy Gohring writes about the recent conference and the idea proposed by Dr. Brad Edwards of opening a theme ride in Florida which would simulate a ride on a Space Elevator.  I think this is a fabulous idea (and blogged about it earlier, here).  This facility would also be doing research into carbon nanotubes in a facility which could be viewed by the public.  I hope this idea happens.

On the site, there is a short article about the Conference along with a link to a video clip (a news report) about the Conference.  Alisa Brodkowitz, co-chair of the “Legal Pillar” committee / workshop, is quoted talking about insurance issues and how they relate to a Space Elevator.

In Kappa Alpha Iota, the “author and Susan” blogged about the conference and their thoughts on it.

And that’s about it…

29JUL08 Update – Yes, there are other sites out there with Conference related stories, but as far as I have been able to tell, they are ‘reprints’ of ones I’ve listed here.

LaserMotive’s Jordin Kare in the news

On the LaserMotive blog, I found this reference to a recent article about their own Jordin Kare.

Even though the article is in the online Seattle Times, I think the author of the article is English.  From the article; “They require a lot of juice and move around through too many dodgy areas to support a reliable wireless power source.” – no one else uses the term “dodgy” 🙂

The Space Elevator as a “Slender Structure”

From July 23rd to July 25th, the University of Maryland Baltimore County is holding MOSS2008 a Symposium on the Mechanics of Slender Structures.  I think a Space Elevator would qualify, in spades, as a ‘Slender Structure’ and, to that end, Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation is giving the closing lecture; ‘The Story of the Space Elevator’.

At the recently concluded 2008 Space Elevator Conference, there were several discussions about ribbon harmonics; how longitudinal and transverse waves would affect each other on a Space Elevator tether.  Dr. Blaise Gassend gave a talk on “Space Elevator Dynamics through Simple Approximations“.  At MOSS2008, this issue is also being visited in a presentation, “Analog Equation Method for coupled Axial and and Transverse vibration of Automotive Belts“.

If you’re in the Baltimore County area and this is your kind of thing, you might want to stop by.  You can find the conference program here.

26JUL08 Update – I just received this comment about the conference from Ben Shelef: This conference is just amazing – what a find!”

EuroSpaceward Conference

Because this year’s Space Elevator Games have been moved back to sometime in mid-late October, the dates for the EuroSpaceward conference (Space Elevator and CNT Tether Design – 2nd International Conference) being held in Luxembourg has been moved back to December 6th and 7th.

You can access the conference program here (Bob Munck alert – this is a pdf file…).

The list of presentations and speakers is too extensive to go into here – see the conference program for more details.  However, I can say it is very extensive and ambitious and should be a great event to attend.  I, for one, plan on being there and I hope to see you there too!

26JUL08 Update – I just received this email from Markus Klettner, head of EuroSpaceward:

“Thanks for announcing EuroSpaceward’s conference on your blog yesterday! Almost all key note speakers have already confirmed their participation (e.g.: Prof. Charles Cockell, Open University UK, Prof. Vesselin Shanov, University of Cincinnati USA, Prof. Cécile Zakri, Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal France, Dr. Marcelo Motta, Cambridge University, Dr. David Raitt, ESA, and of course our highly appreciated US SE experts!). The only significant confirmation missing is the one from Andy Petro, NASA. I hope to be able to convince him to spend an exciting weekend in Luxembourg 🙂

Kind regards


p.s: I am still very sorry not to have been able to participate in SEC08 due to my inline skating accident, however plan to be back to the US for the games in October.”

We missed you in Redmond, Markus.  Get well soon and we look forward to seeing you in December…

KC Space Pirates pick up another major sponsor…

A few days ago, I received this news from Brian Turner, captain of the Kansas City Space Pirates:

More good news.

We added another major sponsor. We are happy to announce that Barr Associates will be coating mirrors for us. The steering mirror is a critical part of our system and regular mirrors just can’t cut it at 8 Kilowatts of power. Barr Associates has many years experience in high performance coatings. They will be delivering a mirror that is telescope quality and 99.99+% reflective. This mirror would have been the single biggest expense for us without their support. So we send them a hearty THANK YOU! and you will be seeing their logo proudly displayed on our materials.

Less than good news.

We still are not making fast enough headway in the programming dept. And as usual we are starved for cash.

Other good news.

We have climbers buzzing along cables strung up in the garage, we have the optics system ready for another round of testing as we narrow it into the final configuration. Our tracking system keeps passing our tests with flying colors.

News about the competition.

The balloon concept has proven non pratical so the organiser has switched to a helicopter. The safety issues of the manned helicopter are being worked out now. Turns out helicopters have been used similar to this in the past.

I am happy about this as I consider the helicopter more predictable than the balloon. I think the safety issues will be answered. Although the lasers are powerful enough to be dangerous to a helicopter, practical power beaming configurations use the laser in a manner that is somewhat less potent.

The target venue is still meteor crater but we will be moving to the edge of the crater instead of the bottom. I think that would be an excellent spot.

Brian Turner

More translation updates

I’ve added three more translations on my Translation Project page; Estonian, Esperanto and Pig Latin 🙂

The Estonian translation (and it’s English pronunciation) was kindly sent to me by Marko Mänd – thanks Marko!

The Esperanto and Pig Latin translations came from some translator programs on the web…

Tom Nugent, of LaserMotive fame, suggested that I get a Klingon translation – what a great idea!  I visited all of the web-based Klingon translators I could find and they either a) did not work or b) did not provide me a translation.  So, all of you Trekkies out there, if you can provide me with a Klingon (or Vulcan or Romulan) translation of “Space Elevator”, that would be uber-cool…

Incidentally, I’ve added a new “Post Category”, that of “Translation Project”.  This way readers can see the evolution of this project over time.

Two other notes:

First, AA (who sent me the Greek translation and also the incredibly detailed English pronunciation guide), also pointed me towards a Greek-language article on the Space Elevator.  You can find it here.

Second, one of the presenters at the conference, Dr. Karen Ghazaryan, was Armenian.  He gave a talk (“Stability of Superconducting Cable Used for Transportation of Electrical Current from Space“).  While perfectly understandable, it was obvious that English was not his first language.  At the end of his talk, someone from the audience asked him a question.  This person, I believe, was Russian.  They quickly switched into Russian for their dialogue while the rest of us looked on.  However, I was able to understand one phrase he used, “Cosmeecheski Leeft”, as that is Russian for “Space Elevator”.  So this project has already produced a tangible benefit for me 🙂

22JUL08 – Correction:  Tom Nugent of LaserMotive suggested Latin while I thought of Pig Latin.  And it was Martin Lades, one of the Conference organizers, who thought of the Klingon idea…

2008 Space Elevator Games Updates

Before and during the conference, I learned several bits of new information about the upcoming Space Elevator Games.  Some has been related previously, but I’m going to try and sum it up here.

The Climber-Power/Beaming rules are still the same (the racetrack is a steel rope, 1 kilometer tall), but the device holding the racetrack “up” has changed.  Previously it was going to be a balloon, but this turned out to be impractical and has since been changed to a helicopter (we are all grateful to Tom Nugent of the LaserMotive team for suggesting this idea).  Issues about downdraft, stray Laser rays reaching the helicopter, hover time, etc. all seem to have been worked out.

The time for these Games has been moved to late October.  The exact dates are not yet sure, but it will probably be the weekend of either Oct 18-19 or Oct 25-26.  In response to this, EuroSpaceward has moved their event (originally scheduled at that time) to late December – more about this in a later post.

The Climber/Power-Beaming team from TXL has dropped out and the team from E-T-C is still looking for a sponsor.  I know that LaserMotive and the KC Space Pirates will be there and also the team from USST.  Patrick Allen, President of the USST team was at the conference and confirmed to me that they are competing.  Being the tight-lipped group they are, he wouldn’t confirm anything else about their team but did say that they would “try” to post some more regular updates on their website.

Stephen Steiner from the DeltaX Tether team gave a presentation (via phone) to the conference titled “Production of high strength-to-weight ratio tethers from carbon nanotube yarns and textiles” (a very interesting talk which I will cover later) and, during his presentation, confirmed that they would be competing in this year’s Tether competition with a carbon-nanotube tether.

I also learned that another team is frantically trying to get a carbon-nanotube tether ready for competition too, but can’t say anything more about them now.  It will be very cool if they make it – having carbon nanotube tethers face off against each other would say a whole lot about how this art/manufacturing skill is progressing.

So, that’s the summary – more later – I’m on my way to catch a flight home.

One other quick note: Traffic at my blog has hugely spiked this last day and half – more than 10 times what I normally get.  People are INTERESTED in a Space Elevator – let’s make it happen!

2008SEC – Day 3 – Conference wrap-up

No, this is not going to be my last post on events at this year’s Space Elevator Conference, but I wanted to let people know that the conference has ended and to summarize it a bit…

I will be doing additional posts about presentations and goings-on at the Conference over the next few weeks, interspersed with other Space Elevator-related news as it happens.

IMHO, the Conference was a big success.  The enthusiasm level of the attendees was quite high, aided especially by the Japanese contingent.  I’ve blogged about their contribution before, but want to emphasize it again.  This group is very serious about building a Space Elevator.  The Japan Elevator Association (JSEA) is holding their own Space Elevator conference this year on November 15th and 16th and I’ve all but committed to go.  I’ll be doing a separate post about some of the things they proposed.

We also had a few other non-American presenters, but not many.  This is something we have to change in the future.  We need this to be more of an international effort – and that leads me to the subject of the Four Pillars, a topic which consumed much of Saturday’s Conference proceedings.

Basically the concept of Four Pillars is this; to build a Space Elevator (or any other large infrastructure project) requires that various interest groups support and ‘sign-off’ off on the project.  There is the Technical / Scientific Pillar which has to do the work to show the project is feasible.  There is the Legal Pillar which has to show that legal, regulatory and insurance issues are dealt with.  There is the Business Pillar which is tasked with putting together a plan showing how the project can make money.  And finally, there is the Public Outreach Pillar which must create a climate among the public (which, in turn, creates a climate among Government, Special Interest groups, etc.) to support this project.

The “Four Pillar” concept is certainly not new.  It’s been used for other infrastructure projects, and it’s even been tried before for the Space Elevator.  LiftPort unsuccessfully tried to get some traction with this idea and it was also started (and then died out) at last year’s Space Elevator conference.  But the idea is too good to be discarded, even in the face of previous failures.

There was a new committment evident at this year’s conference and, for the first time, we have a very realistic possibility of enlisting international resources to help make this happen.  In addition, the technology to build a Space Elevator, especially in the carbon nanotube arena, is rapidly maturing.

If you would like to get involved with this effort, please email me at Ted [AT]  There will be much more information about this Four Pillar effort posted on this blog in the coming months.  This picture is of Dr. Swan, one of the co-chairs of this Pillar (along with yours truly) – I’m sorry it’s a bit blurry, but the guy never stands still! 🙂

The Conference facilities were superb – Microsoft deserves many kudos for how this conference center was set up.  Bryan Laubscher, one of the conference organizers, suggested that future US Space Elevator conferences be held here, at the same place, and I heartily concur.  Maurice Franklin, a Microsoft employee for many years (he’s retiring this year and moving to New England to study boat-building) deserves special thanks for these facilities as he is the person who organized getting these facilities for us.  He was also the guy who we all went to when we had a problem/question with any of the AV equipment or anything else.  I never saw a problem he did not handle, and handle quickly and efficiently.  Thanks Maurice – and good luck on your new endeavours…

I want to wind up this wrap-up post with a big “Thank You” to all of those who organized this year’s Conference.  Doing something like this is a huge and largely thankless task.  I’ve signed up to help organize next year’s conference and I’m sure we’re going to be leaning on the expertise of this year’s organizers.  This photo shows those six people who we can thank for making this conference a success.  From left to right they are Bryan Laubscher, Carla Sabotta, Maurice Franklin, Martin Lades, Ruth Richter and Phil Richter.  Each and every one of these people deserve a tremendous “Thank You” from all of us.

SEC2008 – Day 3 – Crow is off the menu, at least for now…

Alas, the SPS issue I talked about in the last post may still be intractible – the problem I’m running into now is just the range of data on the US Department of Energy website, and the seemingly contradictary nature of some of it.  Some graphs show energy usage in “Trillions of kilowatt hours”, others speak of “Billions of kilowatt hours” and the sum total of all this is that I JUST DON’T KNOW.

But I’m going to make it my business to find out.  Now back to conference posts.

2008SEC – Day 2 – Eating crow?

I hate it when I’m wrong, and I think I might have been wrong about the Space Elevator and Solar Power Satellites (SPS).  I’ve had some ‘really smart people’ look over the calculations I put on my blog last year, and I think they’ve found a significant mistake.  I’ve got some more checking to do, and, if I was wrong, it means that SPS could indeed have a major role to play in solving the earth’s energy / pollution issues.

It also means I may have to redo my presentation to the conference, and THAT’s due tomorrow afternoon.  Hence I have to spend the rest of the evening working on it and will have no time to put up conference posts tonight.

But, as I said in my earlier post on the subject, I would LOVE to be wrong on this and it looks like I may have been.  I certainly hope so.

Stay tuned…

2008SEC – Day 2 – No time to blog :)

It’s now nearly 5:00pm here in Redmond, Washington and this is the first real break I’ve had all day (I’m not complaining).  There was just a couple of presentations this morning, concentrating on the legal issues perhaps facing a future space elevator.  Then we began the Four Pillar workshops.  There will be much more about these Pillars a little later – they may be (hope to be) the most important outcome of this conference.

So, please forgive me for not keeping you more up-to-date; I’ll be putting up some posts later this evening…

2008SEC – Day 1 – The Japanese presence…

We have a large Japanese presence at the conference this year, and they have made a tremendous contribution to the proceedings.  In addition, to making several presentations (and some very exciting announcements), they have brought an exhibit, a DVD we all watched during the “Mixer” hour this evening and probably a few other things I’m forgetting to mention.  They even brought some gifts for yours truly, some Pocky for my kids and a copy of the Edwards-Westing book translated into Japanese (a book I blogged about earlier).  I’ll cover the individual Japanese presentations later, but wanted to put up some pictures and notes about them now.

The Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) was created last year.  According to Akira Tsuchida, one of the directors of JSEA (and the team leader of the Earth-Track-Controllers (E-T-C), an entrant in last year’s (and hopefully) this year’s Space Elevator Games), JSEA now has over 40 members and is growing.  It has been created to promote the idea of developing a Space Elevator and to educate the Japanese public about the advantages it can bring.  In many ways, the Japanese public is much more educated about and receptive to the idea of a Space Elevator than we Americans are.  It has been part of their literature / fiction for many years.

The first JSEA Conference is scheduled for November 15-16 this year (an event I will make every effort to attend).  We’ve been invited to stay at the “Tube Hotel” and to take a guided tour of Akihabara (the electronic bazaar in Tokyo, a place I’ve already visited) as part of the conference.  We might even get the chance to hear Akira demonstrate his Karaoke skills 🙂

JSEA also plans on creating the first annual JSEA Space Elevator games in 2009 and is working on hosting an International Space Elevator Conference in the Sultanate of Brunei, also in 2009.


Here are a couple of pictures of a Space Elevator and climber and station, built entirely out of Legos.  My own house is full of Legos – before my son grew out of them, he put together Lego kits of various Harry Potter characters and locales, Star Wars characters (including a big Yoda) and who knows what else.  But this Space Elevator representation is something special…



Finally, here are some of the books that the Japanese contingent brought, books that contain a Space Elevator and/or Space Elevator theme in them.



Yes, the Japanese contingent has made its presence felt.  How much this will contribute to the building of a real Space Elevator only time will tell.  But they seem sincere and dedicated (and even have come up with some (Japanese) government funding, so they must be taken seriously.  I, for one, am glad to have them on board, and I’m sure that everyone else here at the conference feels the same way…

2008SEC – Day 1 – Conference notes

I’ve given up trying to chronicle everything as it is happening at the conference – there’s just too much going on.  If you’re a fan of the Space Elevator, this conference is truly “red meat” (unless you’re a vegetarian, of course, in which this conference is truly “red beans” 🙂 )…

Seriously, the quantity and quality of the content today was very high, exceeding even my lofty expectations.  The conference venue is also superb – the Microsoft Conference center is one of the best I’ve ever been at.  Every place to sit has desk space, outlets, access to excellent wireless network, etc.  It allows you to concentrate on the conferece proceedings, which is the way it should be…

Earlier today, I tried to chronicle things as they were happening, but it was causing me to miss too much of the Conference’s content.  So, I’m going to put up a few more posts now of some of the days highlights.  It’s probably all I will be able to manage tomorrow, too.  However, I now have lots of blogging material for the next week or two, so expect a barrage of Conference reports in the near future.

So, some miscellaneous notes from today before I return to covering some of the presentations…

One of the great things about being involved in the Space Elevator effort is all of the wonderful people I’ve been able to meet.  Three of them are in this picture.  From left to right, they are Bryan Laubscher, Martin Lades and Alan Boyle.  Bryan and Martin are the conference chairs and organizers (along with a few others who I will mention later on).  Bryan and Martin were also on the Space Show a few days ago, discussing the then upcoming conference (an event I chronicled here).  Alan, of course, is the Science Editor at and the editor/owner of the Cosmic Log.  He’s a great journalist, the owner of numerous awards, is wonderful to work with and already has an excellent post up on his Cosmic Log about the conference.

This is another picture of Alan along with Peter Swan (on the right), my co-chair of the Social/PR pillar.  More about the pillars tomorrow, when we actually start the Pillar sessions.



And here is a picture of Ben Shelef of the Spaceward foundation (on the left) and Andy Price.  Andy sends out “email nuggets” regarding carbon nanotube developments – interesting stuff that I often blog about.  Can you tell that they have slightly different heights? 🙂


Finally, here is a picture of Peter Swan and, on the left, Jerome Pearson, one of the inventors of the Space Elevator (along with Yuri Artsutanov) and a presenter in a couple of sessions today (more on these later).  It was a real thrill for me to be able to meet Mr. Pearson today.  If we can ever get a Space Elevator to work, humanity will owe a great debt to him and Mr. Artsutanov.

2008SEC – Day 1 – Lunch

During the lunch break today, Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation talked to the crowd about the Space Elevator Games, both Power-Beaming / Climber and Tether competitions.

In this picture, however, Ben is responding to a presentaton given earlier by Ivan Bekey, highlighting potential problems to the Space Elevator, this case space debris.  Ben is pointing out that the problem is not as bad as feared; the great majority of debris is so small that it’s damage to the elevator is ‘manageable’, while the larger objects are so infrequent that moving the elevator can take care of it.

Mmmm, chocolate fudge cake.  A note that Randy Lieberman (who spoke earlier) was responsible for the delicious lunch today.  Thanks Randy!



2008SEC – Day 1 – Keynote Address

The conference started off with the keynote address by Dr. Bradley C. Edwards.  Dr. Edwards summarized developments of how we got to where we are today in Space Elevator development and things that hopefully / should happen in the near future.  A few pictures:

Here is Dr. Edwards in front of his opening slide.




Dr. Edwards with another slide.




THIS is interesting.  There is now a study being done by Sotheby’s International to see if a Space Elevator ‘ride’ might be viable.  People who have visited DisneyWorld or MGM and have been on their various theme rides (riding through asteroids or whatever) know that something like this can be made very realistic.  This ‘ride’ could be combined with an audience-viewable research center and the profits of all this could go to real Space Elevator research.  This is a really cool idea and I hope it comes to fruition.  I’ll keep you all posted.

2008 Space Elevator Conference (SEC) – Day 1 – Here we go…

Here we go.  It’s now 9:10 am, Pacific time, and the 2008 Space Elevator Conference is underway.

Two bits of breaking news.  First, the team from TXL has dropped out of this year’s Space Elevator Games.  I spoke with David Nemir from TXL (who is here at the conference and is giving a talk on “Thermoelectric technology and the Space Elevator) and he told me that his Board was afraid that the Space Elevator competition was taking away from the focus of their company.  I don’t know what’s the matter with these people, trying to stay focused and make money.  Geez…  Anyway, we’re very sorry to see them go, I (and everyone else) wanted to see how their thermoelectric technology would work and it would have been nice to have at least one team which was corporate sponsored.  Oh well, when their Board sees a big check going to someone this year, they can think “gee – this could have been us.”

Second, the support mechanism for the competition tether this year has been changed from a balloon to a helicopter.  For various reasons, the balloon idea just didn’t work out and this other plan has been put into place.  It’s simplified some issues tremendously, but has complicated others, of course.  More about this later.

Translation project updates

As most of my readers know, I have started a project to translate the phrase ‘Space Elevator’ into as many languages as possible.  You can see where this project is at by selecting the ‘Translation Project’ tab at the top of this blog.

Two of the languages this phrase has already been translated into are Norwegian and Greek.  However, in the last few days, I’ve received emails from readers telling me that my Norwegian and Greek translations really should be different.  Below are their comments:

Reader Nils Egli Lie lets me know about the Norwegian translation that “Just wanted to let you know that “romelevator” is not the most used word in Norwegian. Although it’s the technically correct word, the more popular “romheis” is the most commonly used one, specially in media. Checking google, “romheis” gives about 26.000 hits, while “romelevator” gives you 426. Maybe you should put up both? The word “romelevator” comes from the direct translation of Tsiolkovskij project. “Elevator” was a term more commonly used before WW2, however, the Norwegian language has changed, and we’re using “heis” instead of  “elevator” now. “Heis” is “lift” in english, and I see a lot of the other languages is using lift as the translation as well.  Best regards…”

Thank you Nils – I will take your suggestion and put up both of them.

And, regarding the Greek translation, reader AA (who maintains this blog) tells me that “I am sending this email regarding the Greek “Space Elevator” translation you cite at your website as being “?????????? ???????”.  Coming originally from Greece ? must say that “???????” is not a Greek word. It is a “greekification” of the French word “ascenseur” which means of course elevator. We do use it in every day Greek but “foreign” terms should be avoided when translating terminology from another language to Greek.  The Greek word for “ascenseur” is ??????????” (anelkistir) or as we would say it today (modern Greek) “????????????” (anelkistiras).   It is literally translated as “a device that is used to pull items upwards” and i think that it is a perfect fit for the Space Elevator 🙂  The complete term now reads: Space Elevator -> ??????????? ????????????.  (By the way Space -> ???????? (diastima) is literally translated as “The space between” 🙂 )”

I then emailed AA back to ask him how to pronounce this and he sent me this long and detailed explanation:

Now…Two words:

Diastimikos pronounced as:


*I refrain from using DEE because the sound of Delta (the first letter of Diastimikos) is much closer to what your mouth does to pronounce THE

**Double S means, pronounce it as a clear S as in Super, Stimulating, Science (!!! I did not mean this it just happened) rather than S as in “The Blues” or “Barrows”

Anelkistiras pronounced as:


Again try to focus to the primary sounds of the letters rather than letting accent take over.

AN as in “ANarchy”, ELK like the animal but a simple raw E…like “Ebony”, double S as above, TEER as in “LanTIRn”, ASS as in “Carcass”

Altogether now 🙂

?? (THEE)
?? (ASS)
??? (TEEM)
?? (EEK)
?? (OSS)

?? (AN)
??? (ELK)
?? (EESS)
??? (TEER)
?? (ASS)

You might not want to put it like this on your post, i can see this “An Elk Is Teer Ass” ending up all wrong in some readers minds 🙂

I tried to record it but i think it’s better explained in the text :-/

You might notice some letters above being accented in one word and not in the other. The accent is practically used in the Greek language. It tells the reader where to emphasise the word and is always put on a vowel. To understand the concept, consider the word spAce. It is emphasised on A. Elevator is emphasised on the first E.

Therefore, ??????????? sounds different than ??????????? exactly as “Elevator” would sound different if it was emphasised on O, in which case it would sound like elevatOr.

The language used to have many different decorations over the letters with rules on how you use them, all of them helping the reader to read the words as they were supposed to be sounding. We only use one accent now though (and call this system monotonic, rather than the “older” one which was the polytonic one).

This guy is amazing – I wish my college professors were as painstakingly clear as he is.  As my original translation was from the Google translator, I’m sure that AA’s is a bit more accurate 🙂 and am so going to use it instead of the one I originally had, and, I’ve put an abbreviated version of his ‘Pronounciation Guide’ up with it.

Thanks everyone!

Space Elevator (Vista Edition?) Conference

Only two more days until the 2008 Space Elevator Conference begins.  It’s being sponsored, in part, by Microsoft and is being held at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Washington.

The Microsoft connection has been noted in at least one place in the blogosphere by a Microsoft employee.  In Under an Orange Sky, blogger Cian Hayes, in a post titled ‘Windows Vista Space Elevator Edition’ notes that “The company newsletter today had a blurb about a space elevator conference being held on the microsoft campus this month.  Yes, one of those elevators.  Apparently Microsoft is sponsoring the conference, which is interesting because we’re not really known for throwing our weight behind crackpot schemes…”

GeekNews also notes the Microsoft connection.

My own Microsoft story…  I’ve never worked FOR Microsoft, but I have worked with their technical people.  My last job (before I retired) was at a Silicon-valley based company called Portal Software (now owned by Oracle).  We had product (Infranet) which Microsoft was implementing to help them bill for their Internet services.  I had to attend a meeting with the Microsoft people in Bellevue and, just the way my time/schedule worked out, I was the first person to arrive at the restaurant where the meeting was being held.  I couldn’t find where to sit down so I asked the waiter where the table was.  He asked me which company was hosting the dinner and, when I told him ‘Microsoft’, he replied ‘Oh, the Borg’.  Well, I thought it was funny…

Seriously, we’re all grateful to Microsoft for hosting this conference.  This isn’t the first time they’ve been involved with something related to the Space Elevator.  As I related in an earlier post, Bryan Laubscher once gave a presentation at Microsoft and one can only hope that they do see some long-term benefit to this.  Nothing like having one of the powers of the Universe behind you…

Only two more days – see you there!

Picture of Jean-Luc Picard from here.
Microsoft Logo from here (and yes, I think I’ve complied with all of the copyright restrictions…)

More Space Elevator aerobics…

Several days ago, I put up a post about LaserMotive and their “Mark II” version of a treadmill that they’re using this year to test out their climber.

In the latest post on the LaserMotive Blog, team member Tom Nugent shows off the latest accomplishments of the new LaserMotive drive mechanism.

Very impressive – let’s see how it holds up in the competition…

The YouTube video of the test is both on the LaserMotive blog and here, below.


Check out the LaserMotive Blog for the rest of the story and a link to the press release they issued about this test.

The Story of Rope

I was recently made aware of a new documentary film, ‘Ropewalk‘, the Story of Rope.  According to the email about it (in the yahoogroups space-elevator email group) and the website itself, this is a story of rope, from early times all the way to possible future uses (including a Space Elevator).

The site has a trailer in which looks very interesting (if you’re into these kinds of things, like I am).


You can buy the video from the website or you can rent it from Netflix.

As a ‘child of the 60’s’, I especially enjoyed the ‘Hemp for Victory’ portion of the trailer…

We’re up to 25…

With the addition of the Hungarian version of ‘Space Elevator’ (?rfelvonó), sent in by reader Tony Wright, we’re now up to 25 translations for it.

Thanks Tony!

The Translation Project is now beginning to get a bit respectable.  I have hopes of getting at least 100 different translations for the phrase “Space Elevator” and we’re now a quarter of the way there.

Thanks to all of you who have helped me on this project, and, if anyone has a translation of “Space Elevator” in another language, please email it to me at Ted [AT] (along with a pronunciation guide, if possible).

Update – I think I’ve been remiss in not previously thanking Dan Leafblad (of the KC Space Pirates) for providing translations in Hindi, Korean, Finnish, Czech, Greek and Romanian.  Thanks Danny!

Only 7 more days…

There are only 7 more days until the beginning of the 2008 Space Elevator Conference.  If you haven’t made your reservations yet, it’s not too late to do so (but you better hurry).

In addition to the program, listed on the conference website, steps will be taken to start a sustained, international effort to lobby and coordinate efforts for the building of a Space Elevator.  Attempts have been made in the past to begin a sustained ‘Four Pillars’ program for the development of a Space Elevator, but without much success.  We have reasons to hope and believe that this year will be different.  In addition to just the general feeling that this is a good idea, we now have international resources (EuroSpaceward and the Japan Space Elevator Association) which weren’t there before.  And, the proceedings of this conference will be published, something which will be marked as an important starting point for this effort.

So, if you’re truly interested in making a Space Elevator ‘happen’, now is the time to get involved.  We would love to have you…

Winda Kosmiczna

A Polish-language article about the Winda Kosmiczna (Space Elevator) appeared on the ‘net today.

At least I think it was about the Space Elevator 🙂

Translating the first paragraph into English using this translator gives us:

“Space elevator – suggested structure, for totaling (taking away; amounting to) object from surface of blue body to space area s?u?ebna. Called will imprison in literature on satellite also, space bridge as well as orbital tower.”

This is a long and detailed article.  I don’t read Polish, but if you do, enjoy…

(11JUL08 – Update – Martin Lades (Technical Chairman of the upcoming Space Elevator Conference) sent me this link to a Google-powered english translation of this webpage.  Thanks Martin!)

Space Elevator ‘aerobics’

In a posting on the LaserMotive blog, Tom Nugent tells us about upgrades to the ‘treadmill’ used to ‘exercise’ the LaserMotive climber.

As mentioned in their blog post, they brought last year’s ‘1.0’ version to the Space Elevator Games where it made a very impressive appearance in Space Elevator row.  This year’s version is improved and will, hopefully, help lead to a good showing by the LaserMotive team.

Reminder – today’s ‘The Space Show’

Remember, on today’s ‘The Space Show’, host Dr. David Livingston interviews Dr.’s Bryan Laubscher and Martin Lades to talk about the upcoming Space Elevator Conference and the ‘state of affairs’ for the Space Elevator.

If you have questions and/or comments about the Space Elevator or the conference, or just want to hear the latest, be sure to tune into today’s show.

From the Show Notes:

The Sunday, July 6, 2008 program, 12-1:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time welcomes Dr. Bryan Laubscher and Dr. Marin Lades to the program to discuss the upcoming Space Elevator Conference in Redmond, Washington.

Bryan E. Laubscher received his Ph.D. in physics in 1994 from the University of New Mexico with a concentration in astrophysics. Bryan has just left Los Alamos National Laboratory to pursue new adventures in the Redmond, WA where his wife lives. In 2006, Bryan spent a year on Entrepreneurial Leave to Seattle. There, he started a company to develop the strongest materials ever created. These materials are based upon carbon nanotubes – the strongest structures known in nature and the first material identified with sufficient strength-to-weight properties to build a space elevator. At LANL, he is a project leader and has worked in various capacities for 17 years. His past projects include LANL’s portion of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey , Magdalena Ridge Observatory and a project developing concepts and technologies for space situational awareness. Over the years, Bryan has participated in research in astronomy, lidar, non-linear optics, space mission design, space-borne instrumentation  design and construction, spacecraft design, novel electromagnetic detection concepts and technologies, detector/receiver system development, spectrometer development, interferometry and participated in many field experiments. Bryan led space elevator development at LANL until going on entrepreneurial leave in late 2005.

Dr. Martin Lades, has an interdisciplinary physics Ph.D. with a dissertation on pattern recognition and neural networks from the Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Germany, and an M.S. in physics on applied optics from the Friedrich-Alexander Universitaet Erlangen, Germany. His research work includes pattern recognition research at LLNL and software development in bioinformatics. He has managed R&D, IT, and information security efforts and co-founded a VC funded tissue engineering startup running FDA trials. Martin joined the Space Elevator community 2004 attending the SE conference in D.C. He is currently working on optical design and control system questions for the 2008 Kansas City Space Pirates entry in Spaceward’s Power Beaming competition. He was working with the same team in 2006 and 2007, for example contributing the KCSP mirror targeting device for 2007. Martin’s passion is to coalesce the forces for Space Elevator development and support their communication infrastructure.

Listeners can talk to Dr. Laubscher, Dr. Lades, or the host using toll free 1 (866) 687-7223, by sending e-mail during the program using,,, or chatting on AOL/ICQ/CompuServe Chat using the screen name “spaceshowchat.”

“We can’t control everything…”

Just a few days ago, many of us marked the 100th anniversary of the ‘Tunguska event’, an exploding comet or asteroid which caused massive destruction in Siberia.

In a recent article on, there now appears to be some additional proof to the theory that another asteroid hit (or exploded just above) the earth (in Canada) 12,900 years ago and may have caused, among other things, the extinction of an early human habitation of North America, the Clovis civilization.

Ken Tankersly, the scientist who lead the research team (and who, ironically enough, had started this research to disprove this theory) was quoted as saying; “The ultimate importance of this kind of work is showing that we can’t control everything,” he says. “Our planet has been hit by asteroids many times throughout its history, and when that happens, it does produce climate change.”

Yeah, and population extinctions, too.  But cosmic collisions of this sort are something we CAN control, if only we show the forward-looking viewpoint necessary to adequately fund a) a ‘SpaceWatch’ (an elegant term coined by, I believe, the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke) to find these cosmic killers and b) a Space Elevator with which to be able to rapidly launch whatever we may need to divert/destroy them.

This is an excellent article and also mentions a number of upcoming TV shows about asteroids which appear worth watching.

Update – another article on reports on the winners of the “Move an Asteroid” 2008 competition.

The Space Elevator Conference to be discussed on an upcoming Space Show

On Sunday, July 6th, Dr.’s Bryan Laubscher and Martin Lades will be joint guests on Dr. David Livingston’s The Space Show.  From the show notes:

Sunday, July 6, 2008, 12-1:30 PM PDT (19-20:30 GMT) – Dr. Bryan Laubscher and Dr. Martin Lades come to the program to discuss the upcoming Space Elevator Conference in Redmond, Washington…

Bryan E. Laubscher received his Ph.D. in physics in 1994 from the University of New Mexico with a concentration in astrophysics. Bryan has just left Los Alamos National Laboratory to pursue new adventures in the Redmond, WA where his wife lives. In 2006, Bryan spent a year on Entrepreneurial Leave to Seattle. There, he started a company to develop the strongest materials ever created. These materials are based upon carbon nanotubes – the strongest structures known in nature and the first material identified with sufficient strength-to-weight properties to build a space elevator…

Dr. Martin Lades, has an interdisciplinary physics Ph.D. with a dissertation on pattern recognition and neural networks from the Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum, Germany, and an M.S. in physics on applied optics from the Friedrich-Alexander Universitaet Erlangen, Germany. His research work includes pattern recognition research at LLNL and software development in bioinformatics.

Visit The Space Show website to read the full biographies of both men and be sure to tune into the show.

And visit the Space Elevator Conference website to learn more about the conference and to register to attend.  It’s coming up soon – only 18 more days – but it’s still not too late to make plans to attend.

See you there!