January 18, 2008

2008 space elevator goals, 1 kilometer height

The Spaceward Foundation announces the goals for the 2008 Space Elevator Power Beaming Challenge. Building on the results of the 2007 Challenge, the goals for 2008 have been set at 1 km height, 5 m/s minimum speed, for a prize level of $2M. An intermediate prize level of $900k will be given for a speed of 2 m/s. Additionally, teams that can reach an altitude of 1 km at between 1 and 2 m/s will be awarded a prize of up to $50k. In the last two competitions in 2007 and 2006, teams have come close to winning the robotic climbing prize.

2008 Space elevator proposed 1 kilometer high test track graphic if over asteroid crater

The pyramid is as tall as it is wide, and with a 4-Ton lift balloon at its apex can withstand winds above 30 MPH. The cables are 1/2" diameter Spectra lines, similar in feel to Nylon rope. The central climb tether is between 3/8" and 1/2" in diameter, and will be tensioned to approximately 200kg.

Here is what the pyramid would look like over the 2007 test site (the orange circle).

The target date for the competition is early September 2008.

A world leader in disc laser technology, TRUMPF took a natural interest in the power beaming games, and is providing both hardware and expertise to enable the 1-km climb. TRUMPF is contributing a top-of-the-line TruDisk 8002 high power laser for use at the 2008 and 2009 games, as well as on-site operation and engineering support for participating teams.

Dilas supplied the two Laser Diode power sources in the 2007 games, and is offering this year an integrated light source designed specifically for power beaming application to the 1 km range.

2007 entrant in the climbing competition


gravity loss said...

Is it reasonable to expect that with the short development time ahead, the games organization will go ahead just fine and the competition will happen without major problems?

Seems like an ambitious goal to realize in such a short time - to go from a 100 m tether to 1 km. Even the 100 m tether had problems in the 2007 competition.

First of all, I'd really like to see the systems demoed well in advance of the actual competitions so that if there are any problems, solutions can be devised.

bw said...

I agree that the test track needs to be set up in advance to ensure a smoothly run event.

"Space Elevator Guy" - Michael Laine said...

while these are not "competition lifters" and are a little older versions, you can get a feel for some of this by looking at these videos:

LiftPort Group climbed as high as 1500 feet, but then we had problems with the ribbon, and had to scrub the mission (ribbon was coming apart, and winding on the tread of the bot, and then the bot jumped its gears). But the goal was 1 mile! see the notes on the videos.

HOWEVER, this was a small 'bot compared to the ones for competition, and we used battery power, not lasers, for these video tests.

But this should give you an idea of the sway and motion of the system.

I too have significant concerns about this years proposed test. But i wish Spaceward (I used to be on the board there) and the rest of the teams the very best of luck. I am hopeful, but concerned. This challenge is very difficult, and worthy of a large prize. It would not surprise me at all, if there were a crater or two, when it is all over...

Take care. mjl

"Space Elevator Guy" - Michael Laine said...


If you are interested, I just linked to your article, and added some additional comments on my blog, here:

Thanks for your interest in the project. We appreciate the support. Take care. mjl

bw said...


thanks for the details and articles on your experience.

There probably needs to be a competition and prize for setting up higher and higher test tracks. Those are non-trivial challenges.