October 01, 2009

Space Elevator Games one Kilometer Tether Finally Ready

The 1000 meter helicopter supperted vertical raceway is now ready and waiting for the space elevator teams. More information on the upcoming schedule coming your way soon.

Full altitude integrated tests were performed this past weekend.

They performed a series of measurements in order to correlate helicopter positions and lasing angles. The trick is to have the climber within the allowed 15-degree lasing angle throughout the climb, while at the same time maintaining its separation from the helicopter. Not-too-steep, not-too-shallow, and actually, we need to drift the helicopter during the climb since there’s no single position that satisfied all conditions. Given the practice we’ve had, this was almost trivial to do, and what’s more important, since wind conditions will likely be different during the games, we know we can adjust in real time to different cable sags.

Finally, we did an end-to-end test with battery powered climbers. Only USST (University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team) and KCSP (Kansas City Space Pirates) had climbers ready to go, and KCSP suffered from control related issues and did not have their van full of spare parts with them, so to Brian’s endless misery, they were out of the game. USST (University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team) was the last climber standing, and on their second try, they put the pedal to the metal and completed the 1 km climb with no problems. Meanwhile, Lasermotive who were out with their beam director, confirmed that tracking was feasible within the 15-degree cone I mentioned.

Power Beaming Competition

The Power Beaming challenge will continue to influence public perception of the Space Elevator project by demonstrating progressively more accurate (and more impressive!) prototypes of the Space Elevator system. By participating, you get the opportunity to partner in writing this unique chapter of history. The total NASA provided prize purse is $2,000,000, highlighting its commitment to the development of power beaming technologies.

In this challenge, Spaceward provides the race track, in the form of a vertically-suspended tether, and the competing teams provide Space Elevator prototypes, featuring climbers that have to scale the tether using only power that is transferred to them from the ground using beamed power.

The climbers net weight is limited to 50 kg [110 lbs], and they must ascend the ribbon at a minimum speed of 2 m/s. [6.6 feet per second] carrying as much payload as possible. A high performance prize will be awarded to teams that can move at 5 m/s. [16.5 fps]

Climbers will be rated according to their speed multiplied by the amount of payload they carried, and divided by their net weight. For example, a 15 kg climber, carrying 10 kg of payload at 2.5 m/s will have a score of 10 · 2.5 · / 15 = 1.67

Power is unlimited. It is up to the competitors to build the most power dense machine that they can devise. For more comprehensive specifications, please download the formal specs below.

The USST climber was able to make the 1000 meter climb using batteries. They need to make the climb using beamed power and with sufficient speed to win.

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