The 2009 Space Elevator Conference

Sometimes lost amid the hoopla surrounding the upcoming Space Elevator Games is the fact that the 2009 Space Elevator Conference begins in just a few short weeks; from August 13-16 in Redmond, Washington.

This conference is the latest in a series of conferences about Space Elevators which began in September of 2002.   Much has changed since that first conference; carbon nanotubes have gone from the lab into the real world (albeit not yet strong enough to make a Space Elevator tether), laser power has increased by leaps and bounds, new books and papers have been written on the subject, the Space Elevator Games have been created, Space-Elevator themed organizations have come into existence in Europe and Japan and the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) has been created.

But the basic premise remains the same; if we can ever build a Space Elevator, it should prove to be a far superior way of delivering cargo (and eventually people) into space.  It is far more scalable, much cheaper, much easier on the cargo and environmentally much more friendly than conventional rockets and it has a coolness factor which is absolutely undeniable.

If you’re interested in the concept of a Space Elevator, this upcoming conference is a ‘must-visit’ event.  I’ll be there, presenting two papers (one on ISEC and one on Risk Assessment) – and many other presentations are in the works.  I hope you are planning on coming too.

There are several ticket plans available, all spelled out on the official website of the conference.  Note that early registration is now closed but that if you’re a member of ISEC, you can get a discount to the conference.  So, join ISEC, help advance the cause of a Space Elevator, and save some money!

On Friday, August 14th, the Strong Tether competition portion of the Space Elevator Games will be held at the Conference.  While the Climber / Power-Beaming portion of the competition is ‘sexier’ and gets more attention, the Strong Tether competition is at least as important to building a Space Elevator (and NASA has donated a prize purse of 2 Million US Dollars to this competition too).  This year I’m told that we will have more than one team at the competition with a carbon nanotube tether.  As with the Climber / Power-Beaming technology, tether technology is advancing too, and the Space Elevator Games are playing a major role in this.  If you want to see engineers do their best to break things, you’ll want to attend this Conference event…

Everything scheduled in this conference is of interest to me, but as President of ISEC, Sunday is especially key.  This is the day where the Four Pillars Workshops will be held, dealing with the Technology, Business, Legal and Public Outreach facets of building a Space Elevator.  If you want to get involved in a hands-on way with furthering the concept of a Space Elevator, these workshops are a great way to do so.  You’ll meet like-minded people, talk with the ISEC Pillar leads and will be able to contribute your thoughts and ideas (and get more involved if you like).

See you in Redmond!