2009 EuroSpaceward Conference – Day 1 (3)

And, some pictures from the conference.  I’m not going to be posting pictures of everyone who spoke – that will be for later on the Space Elevator Blog photo album.  But there were a couple of note that I want to post now.

The first picture is of Dr. Jordin Kare, co-founder of the LaserMotive team that just won a cool $900K at the recently held Space Elevator Games at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.  He spoke about his team’s experiences in getting ready for the Games and their experience at the Games.  It’s always a pleasure to listen to an expert speak in his/her area of expertise and Jordin is a good guy.

One of the Games anecdotes he related was that, at the end of the first day and their team had just completed two successful climbs, one of the team members (Steve Beland) asked “Test” (Mike Kapitzke at the NASA Control group) if it was “OK to breathe”.  “Test” was in charge of all activities (and did a fantastic job) and so the request to “breathe” was jokingly asked, of course.  Without missing a beat, “Test” responded “Yes, but shallow breaths only”…

And, one other anecdote I want to relate about Jordin (and his wife Mary Kay – aka “Team mom”).  At Domingo’s restaurant where we all gathered Friday night to celebrate (I blogged about this here), I sat across the table from Jordin and Mary Kay.  Mary Kay had a drink waiting for Jordin when he arrived and Jordin looked at her and said “Dear, you are the light of my life“.  I then heard him mutter “Actually, the light of my life is 808 nanometers” (the wavelength of the LaserMotive laser)…

This next picture is of Dr. Martin Lades, team member (albeit long distance as he is now living in his native Germany) of the Kansas City Space Pirates.  Martin gave his perspective on the good and the bad of the KCSP performance and made the interesting comment that the only reason they didn’t climb the full kilometer is that they were not able to fully collimate (dial-in) their beam to that distance because they didn’t have sufficient time to do so (the Laser Clearing House had called a halt to testing the previous day).  If that’s true (and I have no reason to doubt that it is), then KCSP should have even more reason to be optimistic for the next Games – they were pretty close as it was.

This last picture in this post is of Andreas Hein, from the WARR Space Elevator team; out of the Technical University of Munich, Germany.  Andreas has been a regular at the conferences and he’s a typical Engineering guy.  Wednesday evening, several of us were at the bar discussing things in general and I happened to mention reading Michel van Pelt’s new book (I blogged about it here) and the concept of the Aerovator.  Andreas had not heard of this before and, after asking me a couple of questions about it, went silent.  When I looked at him a few minutes later, he was filling up a napkin with equations and “what ifs”, trying to understand how it worked.  I took pity on him and went back to my room and got the book for him.  I just hope he returns it before he leaves 🙂

The WARR team was the winning climber at the recently completed JSETEC games in Japan – they totally blew away the competition having a time which was nearly three times as fast as their nearest competitor.  I blogged about this before – including linking to a YouTube video of one of their climbs.

Andreas talked about this, which was very interesting, but later gave a second presentation which was, to me, even more interesting.  He made a brief financial case of how a Space Elevator could take over the satellite-to-GEO market.  This is exactly the kind of thing I have been looking for and I’m going to put Andreas together with the ISEC Business consultant (Ed Gray – are you listening?) and see if we can turn this into a formal proposal.

Good stuff all around…

(As always, you can click on any of the picture thumbnails to see a full-size version)