November 04, 2009

Space Elevator Games Beaming Competition is Today and Goes Through Friday

Today is the first day of the 2009 Space Elevator Games - Climber / Power-Beaming competition

First climb was 4 minutes, 2 seconds - officially. Laser Motive qualified for the $900K prize. Live at

If neither the University of Saskatchewan or the Kansas City Space Pirates can beat that time over the next few days then Laser Motive will win the prize.

In 2009 there will be a winner of the laser beaming space elevator contest.

See the live updates for more runs tomorrow and Friday and to review todays competition

First up - Kansas City Space Pirates
Next up - Laser Motive
Last up - USST

Depending on the results of the first set of runs, then the order of second and subsequent runs will be set.

There should also be a Space Elevator Games Console with a message and video feed but that does not appear to be working either is now working. Video is showing the helicopter flying and lifting the one kilometer (0.6 mile long) cable track which will be climbed.

Latest Updates:
9:09 PST: We should be seeing a battery powered climb by USST shortly now. Live at
9:15 PST: Helicopter spooling up. Live at
9:22 PST: Heli doing wind check Live at
9:28 PST: Hooking up climb cable Live at
9:30 PST: Heli now lifting cable - battery powered climb coming up Live at
9:35 PST: If you have any questions, please put them on this chat - Brian & I will try to answer them Live at
9:47 PST: We're hoping for the first competition run to start around 10:15 - pacific ime Live at
11:26:05 PST:
Finally getting ready - hope for our first competition climb in 10-15 minutes... Live at
11:27:06 PST:
heli re-fueled and spooling up Live at
11:29:00 PST:
heli up Live at
11:42:43 PST:
Climber now being pulled up to starting position Live at
11:45:27 PST:
Cleared to lase Live at
11:51:18 PST:
There is some issue - they're bringing the climber down to look at it. Live at

12:54:38 PST:
KC Space Pirates done for the day - no "in the money" climb for them today unfortunately. Live at
12:55:28 PST:
Breaking for lunch - LaserMotive first up this afternoon. Stay tuned! Live at
13:39:54 PST:
Looks like the action will resume about 2:00pm, Pacific time, perhaps a bit earlier. Live at
14:14:17 PST:
KC Space Pirates done for the day - they'll try again tomorrow. Live at
14:15:13 PST:
LaserMotive next up. They have their climber on the tether and the helicopter should be lifting shortly. Live at
14:46:03 PST:
LaserMotive Climber failed to move despite repeated attempts. Climber now being brought down. Live at
14:51:05 PST:
LaserMotive people now looking at cimber Live at

Nextbigfuture has been tracking the space elevator games and development work towards space elevators.

This years competition is to see if competitors can surpass about 5% of the power density capability needed for the climber component of a space elevator.

The power density of the climber is directly proportional to its speed (mgv/m), and so a 5 m/s speed in 1 g gravity corresponds to 50 Watt/kg, or about 5% of a real Space Elevator climber.

Alan Boyle has coverage of the space elevator beaming competition

all three of the teams entered in the competition - the Kansas City Space Pirates, LaserMotive and the University of Saskatchewan's USST team - were technically capable of taking the prize. But the challenge could be complicated by other factors, ranging from dealing with the wind to keeping the copter in a stable postion, to making sure the cable "racetrack" is easily navigable.

Shelef is hoping that at least one of the teams will end up with some money by the time all is said and done. In order for the full $2 million to remain in NASA's kitty, "all three teams would have to strike out," Shelef said.

Spaceward Foundation site

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