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The Spaceward Foundation announces details for 2006 Space Elevator Challenge

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Nov 18, 2005 12:52 am
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Press release; Prize money to triple for 2006 Space Elevator competition.

Following the success of the recent 2005 Space Elevator competition held at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the Spaceward Foundation announced today the details for the 2006 event, to be held on August 4th in Mountain View California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

“The 2005 challenge was a great event for us” said Ben Shelef, founder of the Spaceward Foundation who is organizing the competitions, “and with 30 teams on the roster so far, and a first prize of $150,000 for each of two competitions, the 2006 event is looking to be even more exciting.”

The top contenders in the 2005 challenge were two Canadian university teams, from the University of British Columbia and the University of Saskatchewan. The 2006 event is attracting attention from many universities including MIT, MTU, and Virginia Tech which sent an entire team to observe the 2005 competition.

The Space Elevator challenge consists of two competitions – one focused on power beaming, and the second on tether strength. These two competitions target the development of lightweight yet strong tether materials and wireless power transmission technologies, two of the key technologies required for the creation of a Space Elevator.

The Tether Challenge centers on the creation of a material that combines light weight and incredible strength. Under this challenge, teams will develop high strength materials that will be stretched in a head-to-head competition to see which tether is strongest.

The Beam Power challenge focuses on the development of wireless power technologies for a wide range of exploration purposes, such as human lunar exploration and long-duration Mars reconnaissance. In this challenge, teams will develop wireless power transmission systems, including transmitters and receivers, to power robotic climbers to lift the greatest weight possible to the top of a 50 meter (165 feet) cable, moving at least 1 m/s (3 feet per second).

The prizes for the 2006 event will total $400,000, and are provided by NASA’s Centennial Challenges program. NASA’s Centennial Challenges program promotes technical innovation through a novel program of prize competitions. It is designed to tap the nation’s ingenuity to make revolutionary advances to support the Vision for Space Exploration and NASA goals.

The Space Elevator concept was first introduced in the 1960s and has only recently garnered serious attention due to advances in materials and power transfer technologies. If built, a Space Elevator would provide a safe, low cost, way to launch payloads such as satellites into orbit.

Interested teams are encouraged to sign up on the event website at http://www.elevator2010.org/site/competition.html. The deadline for this year’s registration is Jan 1st, 2006.

About Spaceward:
The Spaceward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to furthering the cause of space access in educational curriculums and the public. For more information on the Spaceward Foundation, visit http://www.spaceward.org

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