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Posted: January 18, 2008

Spaceward 2008 $2 million power challenge goals announced

(Nanowerk News) The Spaceward Foundation announces the goals for the 2008 Space Elevator Power Beaming Challenge.
Building on the results of the 2007 Challenge, the goals for 2008 have been set at 1 km height, 5 m/s minimum speed, for a prize level of $2M.
An intermediate prize level of $900k will be given for a speed of 2 m/s. Additionally, teams that can reach an altitude of 1 km at between 1 and 2 m/s will be awarded a prize of up to $50k.
The 1-km climb will be supported by a unique pyramid-anchored balloon system, providing the teams with a stable tether to climb on. Illustrations of the challenge over two potential sites are shown at, showing the challenge as it would look if held over Meteor Crater in Arizona, and if held over the 2007 venue.
balloon anchor for the 2008 Space Elevator Power Beaming Challenge
Team registration is open, and the latest revision of the competition handbook is available at the above web page as well. The venue has not been selected yet, and the tentative date for the competition is the week of September 8th, 2008.
Starting this year, TRUMPF Laser Inc. has joined the games and will be supporting teams with Laser hardware and know-how. More details will be made available at the upcoming Photonics West tradeshow in San Jose, January 22-24.
"The 1 km challenge really takes us to next level" says Ben Shelef, CEO of the Spaceward Foundation. "The point of power beaming is that it can work over any distance, and this challenge will illustrate the promise of this technology."
"Personally I'm looking forward to 2008 to be the year Space Elevator research and development really takes off" says Brad Edwards, who developed what is known as the modern Space Elevator design. "with recent results in the fields of Carbon Nanotubes and Lasers, and with progress like we've been seeing in the Space Elevator challenge, we expect the perception that the Space Elevator is a near-term project to become more prevalent".
The Space Elevator games concentrate on two far-reaching technology concepts that will enable NASA to enhance its space program - power beaming for wireless power transfer, and Nano-materials such as Carbon Nanotubes for strong structures. Total prize money provided by NASA for the games is $4,000,000.
Ken Davidian, program manager for Centennial Challenges: "I am excited and impressed with the evolution and level of technical maturity demonstrated by the teams in both the Tether and Beam Power Challenges. Over the past 24 months, individual teams started from scratch, have grown continually, have coalesced into communities, and are on the verge of accomplishing substantial achievements worthy of a Centennial Challenges prize."
Dr. Bradley C Edwards, the leading Space Elevator researcher and science advisor to the games: "The Space Elevator games, with their emphasis on strong tethers and power beaming, represent the road to building the Space Elevator. We hope their cumulative effect on the engineering community will enable further effort in this direction."
The Space Elevator is a revolutionary Earth-to-Space transportation system proposed in 1960 by Yuri Artsutanov and enhanced in 2000 by Dr. Bradley Edwards, then at Los Alamos National Labs. The system is comprised of a stationary cable rotating in unison with the Earth, with one end anchored to the surface of the planet and the other end in space. Electric cars then travel up and down the cable, carrying cargo and people.
For more information on the competitions, visit:, email, or call (630) 240-4797. Press resources are located at
The Spaceward Foundation is a public-funds non-profit organization dedicated to furthering space science and technology in the public mindshare and in educational curriculums. We believe that expanding mankind's habitat is essential to its survival, and that the most effective way to induce long-term change is through education.
Source: Spaceward Foundation
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