Japanese Space Elevator Group to Hold Competition in August

The new Japanese Space Elevator Association will be holding a competition on August 8-9, according to the Space Elevator Blog:

This competition is focused especially on climber mechanism, a mechanism for faster climbing speeds.  We will use 12V battery for power, making it easier to join than the Power Beaming competition in USA.  Entry fee will be $100 (and insurance fee) for 1 team.

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Space Elevator Will Require Lots and Lots of Thread

Climbing into space by the rope
RIA Novosti

Making wire ropes was the only problem, but it seems British experts have resolved it. Nanotechnologists from Cambridge have developed a flexible and very durable light carbonic thread. For the time being, they can only make one gram of this material per day, which is enough to spread the thread for 29 km.

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Carbon Nanotube Breakthrough to Enable Space Elevators, Skyhooks

Via RLV and Space Transport News:

Industrial Scale Production of Cambridge Carbon Nanotube Tethers Will Enable Hypersonic Skyhooks and Better Moon and Mars Space Elevators
Next Big Future

There was a NASA study of hypersonic skyhooks that determined the best designs and the strength of materials needed. No show-stoppers were uncovered. However, the elements of the concept require further development and refinement and then actual implementation programs. They have to build and test hardware to make the engineering work reliably.

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Did Cambridge Researchers Make a Breakthrough in Space Elevators?

Going up … and the next floor is outer space
The Times

Spurred on by a $4m (£2.7m) research prize from Nasa, a team at Cambridge University has created the world’s strongest ribbon: a cylindrical strand of carbon that combines lightweight flexibility with incredible strength and has the potential to stretch vast distances. The development has been seized upon by the space scientists, who believe the technology could allow astronauts to travel into space via a cable thousands of miles long — a space elevator.

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New Space Elevator Coalition Formed

PRESS RELEASE

New Independent Group to Foster Global Research, Develop International Standards and Serve as a Worldwide Information Exchange on the Space Elevator

A coalition of leaders in the Space Elevator movement announced the formation of The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), a new independent group designed to promote standards and foster research relating to the construction of an Elevator to Space at the global level.

Founding members of ISEC include the Spaceward Foundation, the Space Elevator Reference, the Space Elevator Blog, EuroSpaceward and the Japan Space Elevator Association. Heading the new organization is Ted Semon of the Space Elevator Blog, who will serve as president.

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Space-Based Solar Power Needs Only One Small Thing: A Space Elevator

Space elevators needed for space solar power?
New Scientist

It might sound like the piling of one unlikely science fiction idea on top of another – but the small band of enthusiasts who believe machines called space elevators could one day become a reality say their technology could one day save the planet.

The reason? They say a space elevator – which would theoretically ride between Earth and geostationary orbit on a 1-metre-wide ultratough ribbon – is the only affordable way to place the vast solar arrays of a space-based solar power (SBSP) system in Earth orbit…

There’s another slight problem: the elevator doesn’t exist. And neither do the supermaterials that could make it a reality.

New Study Casts Doubt on Viability of Space Elevators

Space elevator trips could be agonisingly slow
New Scientist

“The simple act of climbing could throw space elevators off track and potentially into harm’s way, a new study suggests. Fixing the problem could require agonisingly slow trips lasting nearly a month or the careful choreography of multiple climbers….

“But the concept has been stuck on the ground floor for decades, not least because current materials are not strong enough to handle the strain on the tether….Even with adequate materials, space elevators might be highly unstable. Gravitational tugs from the Moon and Sun, as well as pressure from gusts of solar wind, could shake the tether, potentially causing the elevator to crash into nearby satellites or space junk. Thrusters might be needed to keep the tether in line.”