Space Elevator Competition

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 10, 2006 in Science |

To encourage folks to do space elevator research, several groups are funding a competition for people to build build the the strongest tether and the fastest moving vertical robot:

Space Elevator Games to Spur a New Generation of Space Travel

“The Spaceward Foundation recently announced the second annual Space Elevator Games to be held in partnership with NASA and the X PRIZE Foundation at the Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico, USA. Together, NASA, Spaceward, and X PRIZE are looking to jumpstart safe and efficient space exploration using prizes for private research; much like the Orteig Prize which was won by none other than Charles Lindbergh in his Spirit of St. Louis. The competitions have a total purse of $400,000 sponsored by NASA’s Centennial Challenges program, quadrupling the amount of prize money of last year’s event. Two prizes will be awarded to teams who can build the strongest tether, and the fastest moving vertical robot. Over twenty teams from different universities and research groups will be competing for a piece of space travel history.

The space elevator is a 62,000 mile tether made from carbon nanotubes. The tether is connected from space to an ocean based platform along the equator, and is capable of lifting large payloads to geosynchronous orbit. The tether and the earth rotate in unison, so the tether stays in place with respect to the earths surface. The tether is held taught by the spinning motion of the earth. As the earth and the tether rotate in unison, robotic vehicles climb the tether using power supplied by a strong beam of light projected from earth. Moving upwards at around 125 mph, the climbers will travel to space repeatedly, carrying cargo much more safely than traditional rocket ships.”

Related Links:

For more information on the Space Elevator Competition, visit:

For more information about NASA’s Centennial Challenges, visit:

For more information on the X PRIZE Cup, visit:

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