Day 3 of this years SESI conference has come and gone, and I’m sorry it’s over. I’ve learned several interesting new things, none of which, unfortunately, I’m free to publish. But news on these items should be coming out soon, hopefully on this blog. Sorry for the tease, but there are some good and interesting things in the works.
Several Space-Elevator themed presentations were given today. Tom Nugent of LiftPort started it off with a talk on the “Rationale behind LiftPort’s Beta Roadmap.” Tom gave a persuasive case of why this was important to do; that it was important to try and get a “real” date out there and to show the justification behind it. One can argue with the details all they want (in fact this is encouraged), but the roadmap (Project Plan, if you will) is a necessary step.
Bryan Laubscher, of Black Line Ascension (and other things too, I think – I’ll have to check) then gave a talk on “Space Elevator and Rocket Cost Comparison.” Bryan ran through the numbers on the best efficiency that can be expected from chemical rockets and showed why the Space Elevator was just a better way to get things out of our gravity well.
After a break, Bryan then gave a talk on “The Space Elevator and Planetary Defense”. Bryan talked about the very real threat that comets and asteroids present to our planet and the role that the Space Elevator can play in mitigating this threat.
Brad Edwards then gave a presentation on a new organization, the “European Spaceward Association”. This organization is so new, they don’t even have a website up. (Correction – yes they do. As noted in a comment, their new site is at www.eurospaceward.org) They’ve been organized to help foster interest in Europe towards developing a Space Elevator. My readers may recall an article I posted a few weeks ago on the German Space Elevator games, scheduled for next year. One of European Spaceward Association’s activities is going to be working with the Germans on organizing these games. I think I have a very good reason to visit Germany next year !
A talk was then given on “Some Aspects of Space Elevator Ribbon Elastic Stress and Length Reduction.” Unfortunately the authors, Armenian by nationality, were unable to attend (visa problems, perhaps). so one of the other attendees, Paul Edelman, had to fill in. He did a noble job on a very difficult assignment.
The next talk was on “The Space Elevator: What’s in it for me” and was presnted by Brad Neumann. Brad’s talk was really interesting and, IMHO, very timely. Brad told us that if we wanted to get people excited about building a Space Elevator, we had to demonstrate the urgency ourselves and to engage other people in this by asking them what benefit THEY think they could get out of it and then LISTENING to the answers.
Next up was Tom Nugent, combining his presentation of the “Space Elevator Questions Database” and Michael Laine’s presentation of the “Four Pillars of Infrastructure Development to the Space Elevator” into one extended talk (Michael was unable to attend the conference – the rumor is that he fell down the stairs and injured himself – Tom denies any involvement in this 🙂 ) Tom talked about what the Questions database is and why it could be an important resource if properly used. He then discussed the “Four Pillars” necessary to get something like the Space Elevator (or any large infrastructure project) built; Technology, Finance & Business, Legal and Social/Political support. Without all these players on board, LiftPort contends that the Space Elevator won’t happen. It’s a good argument.
Finally, Bryan Laubscher wound up the day’s presentations with “The Space Elevator and its Role in Mitigating Threats to Earth.” Bryan talked about some really far out possible threats to earth (black holes, Novas, neutron stars, etc.). He contends that, once we have put into place adequate defenses to guard the earth against the more imminent threats of comets and asteroids, we should then use the Space Elevator’s capabilities to begin to think about how we deal with these longer-term issues.
A full day and a truly enjoyable one. If you believe in the concept of a Space Elevator, like I do, the stuff presented today was truly “red meat”. Tomorrow’s presentations promise to be just as stimulating.
More tomorrow – but probably very late as I’ll be traveling back home after the conference.
As always, click on the thumbnails for a larger version.