And Day 3 begins. The conference began with ISEC President, Dr. Peter Swan, giving a special award of recognition to Ben Shelef. Anyone who has followed the space elevator “arena” or this blog knows who he is, but for those of you who may not, Ben and his Spaceward Foundation partnered with NASA to create the Space Elevator Games. This multi-year effort, targeted towards advancing the state of the art in power-beaming and strong tether development, culminated in the award of $900,000 to LaserMotive for their successful efforts in the 2009 Power Beaming competition. These events were the first of these competitions and were the precursors of Climber competitions in both Japan and Europe. They also generated a lot of publicity and put the space elevator “on the map” for a lot of people. Ben also created the Space Elevator Feasibility Condition, a paper that quantifies tether strength and Climber power requirements in a rigorous manner, giving others a baseline to work for. He’s also given multiple talks on the Space Elevator, provided a sanity check to space elevator development efforts and, I’m sure, other space-elevator related activities that I’m forgetting at the moment.
This award is well deserved – congratulations Ben and all of us in the space elevator community are much better off because of your involvement.