SESI2007 – Conference Wrapup

The Second International Conference and Exposition on Science, Engineering, and Habitation in Space, and the Second Biennial Space Elevator Workshop (heck of a title, yes?) wrapped up yesterday afternoon.  The afternoon session was dedicated to putting together a roadmap / plan / whatever you want to call it whereby about 20 or so of the conference participants vowed to work together to further the effort to build a space elevator.

Four teams were formed, each having a responsibility to explore one of four categories; Science & Technology Development, Political and Public Support, US and World Legal Considerations and Financial Funding and Market Drivers.  Four leaders were selected to lead the teams; from left to right, Brad Edwards, Peter Swan, Tom Nugent and Brad Neumann.  Some preliminary brainstorming was done and we’ll be hearing more from these teams in the not-too-distant future.

The final topic discussed was a conference analysis.  Many of the participants filled out a questionnaire that conference chair Phil Richter had distributed.  At this conference analysis, Phil led a discussion as to what could be done better in future conferences.  Many suggestions were given, but it came down to the fact that more volunteer help was needed, and will be needed at future conferences.  If you want to help get a Space Elevator built, but don’t have a PhD in Physics or deep pockets to sponsor someone, something you can do is to help out at a future conference.  All of these conferences have specific needs and tasks to be met and, when something isn’t picked up by a volunteer, a conference leader or chair inevitably has to pick it up.  This prevents them from concentrating on the major issues and will, sooner or later, cause things to get dropped.  You don’t have to be in close proximity to help.  When Ben Shelef was organizing the Space Elevator Games last year, many of the volunteers (yours truly included) would get together on a weekly phone call.  Tasks were assigned, discussed, analyzed and moved along by people who didn’t live anywhere near where the games were being held.

I’ll say it again; if you want to contribute to the effort to build a Space Elevator, volunteer to help out at one of the conferences – it will help us all.

The conference also hosted a Student Robotics competition.  Entrants constructed Climbers that were to climb a 20 foot tether.  The winner was declared based on calculations that included distance traveled, speed and payload as factors.  Three teams entered, two from Middle Tennessee State University and one from a (local, I think) High school.  The two teams from MTSU took first and second while the High school team finished third.  I would have posted more about this competition and posted it during the conference, but Patrick Boake’s Space Elevator Journal is supposed to keep the “official chronicle” of this event – he should be posting on this sometime soon (hint, hint).

In the meantime, here are 3 pictures from the Student Robotics Competition;

The tether, mounted from a scissors-lift.


The anchor

Simple is good!



Mounting the Climber




I think that wraps it up.  I truly enjoyed this conference, it was a very worthwhile experience.  As I had mentioned in an earlier post, there are things going on, exciting things that I’m not at liberty to divulge at this time.  But more news should be coming foward very soon, in the weeks to months time frame.

Stay tuned !

(As always, click on the thumbnails for a larger version of the picture)