Saturday, July 19, 2008

Space Elevator Conference News

The Space Elevator blog has been posting a lot for the Space Elevator Conference. I already see 5 posts, so I won't try to keep up with links for all of them, as that gets a bit unwieldly. Here's a link to get you going in later months; if you're checking around July 19 you should just be able to go to the SE Blog home page.

Here are some news snippets on Space Elevator Games extracted from the posts. There's a lot more information in the actual posts, so check them out. You can expect more to come as the conference continues and Ted gets a chance to catch up on posting.

First, the team from TXL has dropped out of this year’s Space Elevator Games. ... Second, the support mechanism for the competition tether this year has been changed from a balloon to a helicopter. ... During the lunch break today, Ben Shelef of the Spaceward Foundation talked to the crowd about the Space Elevator Games, both Power-Beaming / Climber and Tether competitions. ...

The Japan Space Elevator Association (JSEA) was created last year. According to Akira Tsuchida, one of the directors of JSEA (and the team leader of the Earth-Track-Controllers (E-T-C), an entrant in last year’s (and hopefully) this year’s Space Elevator Games), JSEA now has over 40 members and is growing. ... JSEA also plans on creating the first annual JSEA Space Elevator games in 2009 and is working on hosting an International Space Elevator Conference in the Sultanate of Brunei, also in 2009.

This isn't "the" Space Elevator Games, but it could almost be "a" Space Elevator Game: There is now a study being done by Sotheby’s International to see if a Space Elevator ‘ride’ might be viable. People who have visited DisneyWorld or MGM and have been on their various theme rides (riding through asteroids or whatever) know that something like this can be made very realistic.

As Ted mentions in one of the posts, Alan Boyle from Cosmic Log is there. Here's the Cosmic Log post on the Space Elevator conference. Some of the SE Games teams are featured. The post discusses near-term benefits that efforts like beamed power and strong tethers can go after, whether or not the Space Elevator itself happens. On the Games, Shelef said the tentative plan is to conduct the games at Arizona's Meteor Crater in mid-October, but the timing and the venue are still subject to change.

There's no stairway to heavens? Take the elevator - - This article gives a broad overview of the conference.

Space Elevator Conference Underway - The Space Elevator Reference - There are links to some more conference news sources in this post. One of the links I got from the SE Reference, from Network World, has more to say about the Space Elevator simulated ride idea in a 3-page article on the conference:

... Edwards announced that he is investigating the feasibility of a combined entertainment and research center, to be called Space Orlando, designed to help fund the building of a space elevator. The cluster of buildings would comprise 2 million square feet (929,030 square meters) and a 10-story-high structure that visitors could enter as if they were walking into a terminal for a real space elevator. They'd buy a ticket, enter the climber vehicle and feel like they're ascending into space, thanks to virtual reality technologies.

They'd step off the climber into space -- or really, a massive room lined with plasma screens displaying what it would look like to be on a space station, looking out into the solar system.

The entertainment facility would also be a working research center. "Wrapped into it are real research labs with glass walls, unfortunately for the researchers," Edwards joked. Visitors would be able to observe the technology the researchers are working on, such as a habitat for people in space.

Edwards estimates the facility would cost US$500 million to $1 billion to build and would attract 8 million visitors a year. Their entrance tickets would help fund the research and development of a space elevator.