The official newsletter of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC)


Our mission statement:

"...ISEC promotes the development, construction and operation of a space elevator as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity..."

ISEC Newsletter
March 2016
In This Issue
The President's Corner
New ISEC Report released
Registration is NOW OPEN for the 2016 ISEC Space Elevator Conference
Space Elevator Architectures
Space Elevator Lexicon
Call for Conference Papers
Why Space Elevators?
Help Wanted
ISEC Affiliations
What is ISEC?
ISEC Corporate Sponsors
Visit ISEC on the Web
Follow ISEC!
Quick Links
Dear Friend,

Welcome to the March, 2016 edition of the ISEC Newsletter.

Another very full edition of this Newsletter can only mean one thing - ISEC continues to move forward with steps to help us increase our understanding of the space elevator and to hasten the day when it might be built.

In this issues monthly President's Corner, Dr. Peter Swan (President of ISEC) asks our readership to help determine what the 2017 ISEC Theme will be - this theme is the focus for many of ISEC's yearly activities.  ISEC is also very pleased to announce the latest in its series of ISEC reports - Design Characteristics of a Space Elevator Earth Port - the topic for the 2015 Theme.

We're also happy to announce that Registration is NOW OPEN for the 2016 Space Elevator Conference - see the article for details on how to get the "Early Bird Rate".  There is also an article discussing the official "Call for Papers" for the Conference.

This newsletter also has information about two new reports recently posted to the ISEC website; Space Elevator Architectures and the Space Elevator Lexicon.  Both articles help to advance the discussion about a space elevator.

Finally, this newsletter contains the latest installment in the series "Why Space Elevators" and also a "Help Wanted" notice for a new Publicity Director for ISEC.

If you want to help us make a space elevator happen, JOIN ISEC and get involved!  A space elevator would truly revolutionize life on earth and open up the solar system and beyond to all of us.

And please don't forget to LIKE US on Facebook, FOLLOW US on Twitter and enjoy the photos and videos that we've posted on Flickr and YouTube - all under our Social Identity of ISECdotORG.

Thank you! 

The President's Corner

Leading a volunteer organization is always a challenge; but, it's also a real pleasure.  The people who participate are all committed and excited about our topics and where we are taking our 501(c)(3) organization.  Thank you all for your help!

This month I am asking for some insight into our processes and suggestions for study topics.  ISEC annually selects a 'Theme' to focus its activities for that year; and additionally, it increases the Body of Knowledge [BoK] for the community. One of the yearly activities of ISEC is to commission a Report based on the annual study focusing on the ISEC Theme.  Each report is not intended to break new ground but is, instead, designed to provide a broad, definitive and current look at the topic in question.  Each ISEC Report is directed by a Report Team Lead. This person is selected by the ISEC Board of Directors and responsible for the year-long study, to include: assembling a team, researching the available literature, analyzing the information, and preparing the report.  Once the preliminary Report is completed, it is sent out to a broad list of people (including attendees at the International Space Elevator Conference) for comments.  These comments are then incorporated, as appropriate, into the report and then a more formal review process takes place.  During the past years, we have studied:
  • 2010 - Space Debris Mitigation - Space Elevator Survivability
  • 2012 - Space Elevator Concept of Operations
  • 2013 - Design Considerations on Space Elevator Tether Climber
  • 2014 - Space Elevator Architectures and Roadmaps
  • 2015 - Design Considerations for Space Elevator Marine Node
  • 2016 - Design Considerations for a GEO Node, Apex Anchor and Communications Architecture [on-going]
The challenge is to find a topic for 2017 that can challenge the participants, expand the BoK, stimulate creative brainstorming, and result in a report that represents the ISEC approach to space elevator development.  As president of ISEC, I am asking for your ideas of what we should study.  The criteria is relatively simple:  timely topic, doable task within 12 months, exciting enough to energize volunteers, applicable to space elevator development, and - most importantly - has someone who volunteers as lead for the study. Please send your topics [with short paragraph of explanation] to our Studies Lead, Dennis Wright ( 

Keep Climbing my Friends --  Pete Swan
New ISEC Report released

A new ISEC Report, Design Characteristics of a Space Elevator Earth Port, is now available in both print and electronic formats.  This report is the latest in a series of yearly ISEC publications - each one designed to explore a specific aspect of understanding, constructing and/or operating a space elevator.  This is the fifth report in this series.  Previous report topics included:
  • Space Debris Mitigation - Space Elevator Survivability
  • Concept of Operations
  • Design Considerations on Space Elevator Tether Climber
  • Space Elevator Architectures and Roadmaps
This current report, Design Characteristics of a Space Elevator Earth Port;

"...provides the International Space Elevator Consortium's (ISEC) view of the Earth Port (formerly known as the Marine Node) of a Space Elevator system. The Earth Port: Serves as a mechanical and dynamical termination of the space elevator tether; Serves as a port for receiving and sending Ocean Going Vessels (OGVs); Provides landing pads for helicopters from the OGVs; Serves as a facility for attaching and detaching payloads to and from tether climbers and attaching and detaching climbers to and from the tether; Provides tether climber power for the 40 km above the Floating Operations Platform (FOP); and, Provides food and accommodation for crew members as well as power, desalinization, waste management and other such support."

It is available in print format for $9.00 or electronic (pdf) format for $2.15 from the ISEC Store.
Registration is now open for the 2016 ISEC Space Elevator Conference!

ISEC is very pleased to announce that Registration for the 2016 ISEC Space Elevator Conference, once again to be held at Seattle, Washington's Museum of Flight is now open!

From the official announcement of the Conference:

"The International Space Elevator Consortium presents the 2016 Space Elevator Conference to be held August 19th through August 21st, 2016 at the Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington with the Family Science Fest on Saturday, August 20th.
The theme of this year's conference is the "Apex Anchor, Geo Node, and Communication Architecture."  The three-day technical conference will engage an international audience of scientists, engineers, educators, managers, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and students in discussions of space elevator development including Technology, Business and Operations, Outreach, and Legal topics.  More details of this year's technical conference program will be posted on the conference website ( with registration opening March 2016.
The Family Science Fest portion of the conference will be held Saturday, August 20th. This event is in tandem with the technical conference and is included in the Museum of Flight admission price. The Family Science Fest includes a youth robotics competition, public Space Elevator 101 and 201 presentations, exhibits from universities, science organizations, and science clubs, and much more.  This is a great event for the whole family while you explore the Museum of Flight.
Many thanks to our annual "GEO" level sponsors, the Museum of Flight and Microsoft Corporation, for their ongoing support for this conference."

Early Bird rates are now in effect so now is a great time to Register - click here to be taken to the Conference Registration Page.

See you there!
Space Elevator Architectures

A new document has been posted on the ISEC website summarizing the major architectural designs of the space elevator which have been proposed over the years.  From the introduction:

Space Elevator Architectures have matured since their introduction in the last decade of the 19th century, shown in the 20th century with science fiction expanding many concepts, and finally with modern day designs during the first two decades of the 21st century...

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian rocket scientist, pioneered astronautics' theory in general and specifically conceptualized a building growing to GEO orbit, in 1895 [Tsiolkovski, 1959]. This particular concept focused on aspects of the Geosynchronous orbit. This led to a series of five space elevator architectures over the last 75 years. The first two were significant leaps in understanding, while the last three have lead to the current breadth of concepts:
  • In 1960, Yuri Artsutanov presented a real approach visualizing how it could be achieved - a big leap from Tsiolkovsky's concept.
  • Then, in 1974, Jerome Pearson resolved many issues with engineering calculations of the required tether strengths and various approaches for deployment. This was, once again, a leap beyond Tsiolkovsky's work and set the stage for the "modern design" for space elevators.
  • Dr. Edwards established the current baseline for designing space elevator infrastructures at the turn of the century with his book: "Space Elevators" [Edwards, 2002]. He established that the engineering could be accomplished in a reasonable time with reasonable resources. His baseline is solid; and, it was leveraged for the next two refinements of this transportation infrastructure concept.
  • The International Academy of Astronautics used Dr. Edwards' design and the intervening ten years of excellent development work from around the globe. Forty-one authors combined to improve the concept and establish new approaches, expanding the Edwards' baseline (To order a copy call (713) 861-3600 or visit:
  • The most recent version of space elevator architectures is the recently released view by the Obayashi Corporation. Their set of assumptions of the study established stricter requirements and resulted in a longer developmental period with increased payload capacity (To view their proposal, please visit
This document can be found on the ISEC website; click on the Resources Tab in the Main Menu or you can click here.
Space Elevator Lexicon

Another new document has been posted to the ISEC website - the Space Elevator Lexicon.  From the document:

"Terminology is an important area that should be focused upon.  The following summary of a lexicon of space elevator terms should help all of us communicate via common usage.  Recently, the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the ISEC have agreed to develop a common lexicon.  This ISEC presentation has three components to its proposed Lexicon.  The first is an image of a space elevator as seen in both the ISEC and the current IAA study.  The second is a table of those major terms.  The third is a preliminary list of additional terms that should be considered as part of the overall Space Elevator Lexicon.  Please provide your feedback with new terms or enhancements describing the space elevator infrastructure to"

This document can be found on the ISEC website; click on the Resources Tab or you can click here.
Call for Conference Papers !

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) invites you to join us in Seattle, Washington, USA and contribute to the latest research, knowledge, stimulating discussions, and exchange of ideas on space elevators at the 2016 Space Elevator Conference - August 19-21, 2016.  The theme of this year's conference is " Apex Anchor, Geo Node, and Communication Architecture."  

Carbon nanotube and strong materials research is also a very important topic that we continue to emphasize and we encourage participation by materials science researchers on this exciting subject.  Authors are invited to submit titles and abstracts of proposed papers for the conference before May 1, 2016.

Topics for papers should fall into these categories.
  • Space elevator Apex Anchor, Geo Node, or Communication Architecture
  • Carbon nanotube tensile strength research progress and other strong material research relating to space elevators
  • Science, engineering, and technology topics relating to space elevators
  • Operations, maintenance, ROI, and other business topics relating to space elevators
  • Space elevator impact on the future and public outreach to societal institutions; government, media, unions, the educational system, etc.
  • Treaties, laws, insurability, and other legal issues and topics relating to space elevators

Read all of the details, including how to submit an Abstract for a proposed paper / talk at the Conference in the official Call for Papers announcement

Help Wanted - Publicity Director

ISEC is looking for a new Publicity Director - are you interested?  Responsibilities for this position include:
  • Update web content at
  • Creation of the monthly ISEC Newsletter
  • Update of ISEC's Facebook Page, Twitter Feeds and Flickr and Vimeo accounts
  • Sending out Publicity Announcements as appropriate
  • Whatever else you can think of to get the word out!
  • Creation of a Publicity 'status report' to be presented to at the monthly Board of Directors meetings
This person will report to the President of ISEC and will be required to attend (via Conference call) the monthly ISEC Board meetings.

If you want to help in the effort to build a space elevator but may not have the 'technical chops' to contribute on the science or engineering side, this position could be perfect for you.  If you are interested, please contact
ISEC Affiliations

The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, educational, grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization.  Founded as the National Space Institute (1974) and L5 Society (1975), which merged to form NSS in 1987 (see merger proclamation), NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space.  NSS has over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world.  The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space.
  • NSS Vision: "People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity."
  • NSS Mission: "to promote social, economic, technological, and political change in order to expand civilization beyond Earth, to settle space and to use the resulting resources to build a hopeful and prosperous future for humanity."
What is ISEC?

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is the result of a coming-together of many leading figures and organizations who have worked long and hard over many years to promote the concept of a Space Elevator.  With organizational members in the United States, Europe and Japan and individual members from around the world, ISEC's goal is nothing less than to get a Space Elevator built.

Our Mission Statement says it all:

"ISEC promotes the development, construction and operation of a space elevator as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity"

Each year we adopt a theme which we use to focus our activities for that year.  For 2009-2010, our theme was Space Debris Mitigation - Space Elevator Survivability.  For 2010-2011 our theme was Research and thought targeted towards the goal of a 30 MYuri tether.  For 2011-2012, our theme was Operating and Maintaining a Space Elevator.  For 2012-2013, our theme was Tether Climbers and for 2013-2014, our theme is Architecture & Roadmaps. For 2014-2015, ISEC has two themes; The Marine Node and a Materials Review and for 2016, the ISEC Theme is Design Considerations for a GEO Node, Apex Anchor and Communications Architecture.

If you agree that building a Space Elevator should be a priority for all of us and you want to help make this happen, please Join Us!  Benefits include eNewsletters (such as this one), the ISEC Journal CLIMB and other items listed on our Join page.

Come and join us and help make the future happen!

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is a registered 501c3 charitable organization
(EIN 80-0302896)

Thank you, Corporate Sponsors !

The lifeblood of any organization such as ours is the support we receive from our members - and we thank them all.  We especially want to thank our Corporate Sponsors who have contributed funds and resources to ISEC at a higher level.

Visit ISEC on the Web
Visit our website at  There you can join and learn more about what is happening in the Space Elevator community and what is being done to advance the concept of a Space Elevator.  Please consider joining ISEC - we foster research and sponsor Space Elevator-related causes, but to do so takes money.  Your contributions are crucial to our success.  Thank you!

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