Space Elevator Miscellany…

With the recent effort surrounding the Space Elevator Games and the EuroSpaceward Conference, I’ve neglected some Space Elevator related items which have been piling up in my RSS Reader.  And so…

A YouTube clip from a CNN-Chile newscast states that NASA wants to build a Space Elevator (at least that’s what it says when I plug in the caption into Yahoo Babel Fish).  Also, I clearly hear the announcer say “Microsoft” during her report.  I don’t know if she’s talking about the recent Space Elevator conference at the Microsoft Center or somehow she thinks that Microsoft is going to build a Space Elevator.

(See update at the bottom of this blog post)…



And in this clip (from the Science Channel no less), it says that “NASA is holding a contest to see who can come up with the best plans for building a “space elevator”.  I wish that were true.  The Space Elevator Games piggyback upon NASA’s desire for power-beaming and strong-tethers – they have no avowed interest in building a Space Elevator (though the NASA people who I talked to at Dryden during the recent Space Elevator Games thought it was a cool idea).  The clip also says that the trip to the top will take “3 months”.  I don’t know where they got that figure.  Even a ride to the end of the tether (100,000 km) would, at 200 mph (320 km/hour) take about 13 days.  Add some time in for slowing down during start-up and at the end and maybe a stop/transit at the GEO space station and you still have well less than 1 month to the top.  And, the story says that passengers could be “struck by meteroids”…  Oh my.  They finalize the clip by repeating the lame joke about “Elevator music”.  Oh well, at least it IS the Science Channel…



And then we have a new Space Elevator cartoon – this one from the strange mind of Andy Carolan.  Having LaserMotive win that $900K at the recent Space Elevator Games has given the whole effort a new burst of publicity…

I think it’s “Alien” that’s coming out of the Space Elevator, but I’m not sure… 🙂

I’ve yet to view the new Star Trek adventure, the one with the Space Elevator in it, but thanks to this Spanish language publication talking about Space Elevators in general and the recent Space Elevator Games in particular, now at least I have a ‘screen-shot’ of what it looked like in the movie.  I rented it today from redbox and will watch it tonight (I know, I’m so far behind).

All for now…

(Dec 14, 2009 Update – In the Comments, reader J.D. Muriel provides a translation of the Chilean broadcast.  It’s odd (‘surprising’ in J.D.’s terminology) to say the least…  Microsoft is not sponsoring a Space Elevator, but the Space Elevator conference.  And, as far as I’m aware of, there is no “Japanese-Russian alliance” that is working on this project.  I think they read this article and misinterpreted it.  Now don’t get me wrong – I’d love it if the Japanese and Russians decided to do this.  I’ve heard rumors that the Japanese are supposedly working on some sort of ‘secret’ carbon nanotube initiative and the Russians have as much (maybe more) experience working in space as does US-NASA.  But I just don’t think it’s happening.  Please prove me wrong 🙂

Thanks J.D. Muriel!)

2 thoughts on “Space Elevator Miscellany…

  1. AndyCarolan


    Just wanted to say thanks for including my cartoon on your blog.

    I think the whole idea about space elevators is fascinating and will hopefully someday make it easier, cheaper and safer to get people and equipment into orbit and beyond. Im sure we still have a long way to go to perfect the technologies but it will be worth it!


  2. J.D. Muriel

    This is the approximate translation to english of the Chilean video -although I do not find very much sense in it, it is certainly surprising:

    Not only the great aerospace corporations participate in the space race, now it could be a lucrative business for building enterprises.
    NASA throw out a 2 million dollar request for the development of a model of a space elevator.
    The idea is to minimize the risks and costs that a shuttle trip supposes for the tourists. One of the main sponsors of the project is
    Microsoft Corp., which announced that the idea intends to create a bridge between earth and space, that has potential unknown possibilites.
    Among the competitors that are designing
    its projects stand out a Japanese- Russian alliance that starts as favorite to carry out the initiative.

    In spanish:
    la carrera espacial no sólo involucra a las grandes agencias aeronáuticas del planeta,
    ahora podría ser un negocio atractivo también para las empresas constructoras
    la nasa lanzó una licitación de dos millones de dólares para el desarrollo de
    un modelo para la construcción de un ascensor espacial. La idea busca minimizar los riesgos y los costos
    y los costos que un viaje en transbordador tiene para los turistas. Uno de los principales auspiciadores del proyecto
    es la corporación Microsoft que anunció que la idea busca crear un puente entre la tierra y el espacio,
    que aún tiene ventajas potenciales desconocidas. De entre los competidores que están diseñando
    sus proyectos destaca una alianza ruso japonesa que figura como favorita para llevar a cabo la iniciativa.

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