Yesterday I wrote about how the preliminary test of the new Climber / Power-Beaming ‘raceway’ was quite a success. Here is the email that Ben Shelef, CEO of the Spaceward Foundation, sent to the “inner circle” earlier today:
A quick happy update.
We were talking with a new helicopter operator (in Washington state) who is not currently occupied by fire fighting when we realized (last Friday) that we have an opportunity to fly this past weekend. We did a quick turnaround, got everything shipped out to them, and on Thursday Keith and myself arrived at their site. We put together the hardware on Friday (the tether setup and the helicopter instrumentation) and on Saturday morning met with the Washington Area volunteers (Dave Horn, Tony Rusi) and LM at the flight site.
Keith spent the first half hour with the pilot teaching him to fly the GPS system, (which worked perfectly) and then flew over to meet us at the site. We already had the tether setup (new and improved) ready, limited to 900′ AGL on this test, and they picked it up and flew it just perfectly. The cable was rock solid, position keeping was perfect, tension was perfect – nothing to it. Did it several times with various settings too, until we basically exhausted this test setup – next step is a full altitude test.
So we’re a happy bunch of guys right now, and planning to fly the high-altitude test asap, so we can get these games done already!
Hope you are having as good a weekend as we are,
More soon – Ben.
The ‘Keith’ that Ben refers to is Keith Mackey, the aviation consultant Spaceward hired for the Games. Dave Horn works at Microsoft and was the chief organizer of the just-finished Space Elevator Conference. And the LM Ben refers to is LaserMotive, one of the Climber / Power-Beaming entrants. They, too, are located in Washington and some of their team members attended the test to watch and to help out. Over at the LaserMotive blog, they’ve posted their own summary and some pictures. Make sure you check it out…