Space Elevator: October 2005

Space Elevator Competition Results Announced by NASA

From the reports I've read the event was a great success and everyone is looking forward to next year's competition with this years prizes being carried over.

NASA and the Spaceward Foundation announced the results of the 2005 Beam Power Challenge and Tether Challenge. Eleven teams competed in the two competitions over the weekend at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Although no team claimed this year's prizes, historic firsts were achieved.

"What happened this weekend is akin to the Wright brothers' first powered flight," said Spaceward Foundation founder, Metzada Shelef. 'We hope these short climbs will be the first in a series of much longer climbs toward future space elevator concepts. The ingredients are there to make some great future achievements.'

Space Elavtor 2010

Well tomorrow the long anticipated day will be at hand. NASA's first centennial challenge, called the "Space Elevator Games" by the Spaceward Foundation is set to start at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

The first two competitions are focused on the development of lightweight yet strong tether materials (Tether Challenge) and wireless power transmission technologies (Beam Power Challenge).

Today the Spaceward Foundation sent me the schedule of events including a map of of the venues, and as you can see they have a full weekend of events planned.

It all starts Friday morning with a photo opportunity starting at 5 am!! And closes Sunday with the awards presentation at 3 pm.

In between there's the power beanming and ribbon pull competitions, a VIP reception and a dinner party and auction.

I wish I was going but unfortunately there was a schedule conflict so I won't be able to attend. If anyone reads this and wants to send in reports and pictures I'll post them.

On September 26th I posted an entry about Liftport and their recent successes but queried why they were not going to be at the first Space Elevator competition. Brian Dunbar of the Liftport Group was kind enough to offer the following reply.

We're not competing in this competion for several reasons;

* Michael (Laine) is on the board. There wouldn't be a conflict of interest, but
we want to avoid the appearance of one.

* We're putting our resources into a commercial application using a
tethered aerostat and lifter. We could enter the contest and at the end
we've got a device that meets the narrow criteria for competition, but
isn't what we need for revenue. We think we can produce a device that
will bring in captial, let us learn a great deal about devices that must
go up/down reliably and so on.

Which isn't to say the competition is is a bad idea - it clearly is a good
one. It's just not right for us, where we're at now.

Brian Dunbar

Keith Curtis sent me this link of an interview he recently did with Dr. Brad Edwards.

Here's an excerpt:

Topic: NASA Versus Private Industry

Did you see Michael Griffin’s interview in USA Today last week?

No, but I know the general gist. It’s not a surprise. In my mind the Space Shuttle and Space Station are not valuable efforts. It’s not what NASA should be doing. NASA is using technology from commercial enterprises, or very old technology from the 70’s to try and do space exploration. If they are going to be a real premier space agency, they need to be pushing it.