New Space and Tech

Spaceward Games Heads into the Home Stretch and Opens to the Public

By Marc Boucher
April 8, 2013
Filed under

Qualifying lasted until the early hours of the morning with Centaurus the last team trying to qualify but failing at 1:00 am. At this point four teams have qualified to compete for this years chance at NASA’s Centennial Challenge prize for power beaming which has a $500,000 prize. They are:

1. Kansas City Space Pirates (solar powered)
2. Technology Tycoons (solar powered)
3. University of British Columbia – Snowstar (solar powered)
4. University of Saskatchewan (laser powered)

Teams not qualifying but who will be given an opportunity to climb the 400 foot ribbon after competing teams have had the first opportunity are:

1. McGill University (microwave powered)
2. Team E-T-C (Earth Track Controllers) (spotlight powered)
3. Centaurus (microwave powered)
4. LaserMotive (laser powered)

Most disappointing was the fact that team LaserMotive was not able to qualify. An advanced design with lots of promise, the team experienced power issues that prevented them getting power to their laser. They will get another opportunity to test their system while here, but won’t be able to compete for the prize. Based on what I’ve seen this team will be back next year if no one wins the competition.

USST qualifies

[The University of Saskatchewan laser powered climber prepares for its attempt at climbing the ribbon. Click on image for larger version.]
McGill Attempts

[The McGill University team prepares for it’s climb by hoisting their climber up the ribbon. The image you see was taken at night and was a longer exposure making you see three climber rather than just the one. Click on image for larger version.]
USST qualifies

[The University of Saskatchewan laser powered climber prepares for its attempt at climbing the ribbon. Click on image for larger version.]

The weather today is good except for the increasing winds reaching 10-20 mph as the day goes on. Those winds are bringing in another system which will most likely mean that there will be no ribbon climbing tomorrow. Sunday, which was to be the last day of competition, looks like to be a good day. The organizers, the Spaceward Foundation, have stated that they will try to finish the competition at that time, but an extra day could be added with the competition ending on Monday.

As well as the power beaming ribbon climbing competition today there are other events ongoing. They include the Great Light-Racer Championship aimed at students to get them involved in science and engineering and the tether challenge. The teams compete in solving a real NASA lunar exploration problem: building a rover that can operate in a permanently shadowed area of the moon.

The tether challenge is another NASA sponsored Centennial Challenger and this year there are two entries. One from MIT and the other Astroaraneae. They are both competing for a $500,000 prize.

Also today the Spaceward Games will be open to the public for the first time. They will have an opportunity to view the competition, visit with the teams, learn about Space Elevators and compete in the Great Light-Racer Championship.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.