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
May 2016
In This Issue
The President's Corner
Registration is NOW OPEN for the 2016 ISEC Space Elevator Conference
The Research Lab
EUSPEC - 2016
New ISEC History Committee Chair
New Editor-in-Chief for CLIMB
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 May, 2016 edition of the ISEC Newsletter.

Registration is NOW OPEN for the 2016 ISEC Space Elevator Conference to be held at Seattle's Museum of Flight in August of this year.  More information about this must-attend event is shown elsewhere in this Newsletter.  Early Bird rates are still in effect, but will be expiring soon - Be there or be square!

In this issue, ISEC is very pleased to announce two new additions to its leadership team, a new Chair for the History Committee and a new editor for CLIMB - the space elevator journal.

This issue also contains information about a space elevator competition that will be held in Germany later this year including details about you can join the competition if you would like to.

You will also find the latest installments of "The President's Corner" and "The Research Lab".

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

This month we will take a look at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight.  As we will fit inside this organization in the future, the parallel is obvious.  They had their yearly symposium the week of 10 May with a theme of "We will NOT Stop!"  Their words were to ensure that their constituents would not lose sight of the objective; personal, commercial spaceflight.  They used the terms "persistence, perseverance and patience."  

It seems to me that they are setting the stage for us. Several individuals have flown to the International Space Station, each for more than $20 million.  In addition, Virgin Galactic is on the edge of commercial flights to space (vertical to greater than 100 km leads to commercial astronaut wings).  There have been issues and problems; however, with "persistence, perseverance and patience" they are on the road to this major step for personal, commercial spaceflight.  This is not just an American phenomenon; but the British are licensing spaceports and the Russians still sell seats on the ISS.  These initial steps are just an embryonic stage for humanity's movement off planet.  In my mind, these steps encourage our efforts to change the approach to one of low cost, routine-safe access to space - i.e., space elevators.  Indeed our path to operations will parallel their embryonic steps and ...

"We will require persistence,
perseverance, and patience!"

Keep Climbing my Friends --  Pete Swan
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!
The Research Lab

A recent area of research progress for the space elevator is to cut down the maximum power needed by a tether climber when ascending the tether. An earlier approach was to assume that climbers ascend at constant speed. However, that consumes a lot of power at low altitudes where gravity is strongest. The alternative is to set the maximum amount of power that can be consumed, which can lead to a two-thirds reduction in the power needed. That means smaller, lighter motors and smaller solar panels or laser arrays.

The cost is that climbers spend longer at low altitudes. As they climb, gravity reduces, and they can increase speed with the same motors and power supplies. Eventually, they can go fast enough to make up for the lost time and still reach geosynchronous altitude (22,000 miles) in a week.

For best results, the tether needs a slightly different design from that originally envisaged, with extra tapering low down and a slightly increased thickness at high altitudes. The net effect is for the overall mass of the tether to be about 9% greater than previously thought, an acceptably modest price to pay for a very substantial saving in tether-climber mass and leaving more capacity for payload.
EUSPEC - 2016

There WILL be a space elevator competition in Europe this year.  From their website:

The next European Space Elevator Challenge takes place from September 12th to 16th 2016 at Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen in Germany. This year, we are doubling the drive height to 100 m and there will be a new category for highschool teams and beginners.

You can find a summary of the rules at Requirements. The detailed rules and regulations handbook can be found at Downloads.

We are looking forward to many entrants! You can find the application form at Application.

For any questions, send us an email to

Their entry deadline date is May 31st.  If you are serious about competing or at least finding out more about the competition, email them ASAP.

Congratulations to the competition organizers and here's hoping for another successful event from them!

( Click on the event poster thumbnail to see a full-size version)
Paula Smith, New Chair for ISEC History Committee

ISEC, the International Space Elevator Consortium, is pleased to announce that Paula Smith has been named to lead the history committee.

Paula Smith is a highly motivated, team-oriented individual with a successful background in Strategic Planning and Business Development for Space Systems and Software, Program Management, Systems and Software Engineering and I&T. Employed with large companies like General Dynamics, Exelis, Motorola and Honeywell for over 25 years Paula Smith performed systems engineering and management for large satellite communication and software systems programs, including work with NASA on the Space Shuttle. She has a proven track record as a strong contributor on the front end of the business in Strategic Business Development & Capture Management winning large contracts ($100M-$1B+).  Currently Paula captures new business for small companies with various product and service offerings, as well as owns and operates her own business, Gloryswitch, assisting high school and university students as well as experienced professionals with finding their career path.

The history committee has been active for over six years with the following goals: 1) research and record the history of the space elevator from 1895, and 2) present this history in a manner to ensure that the community does not forget that our history leads to our future.

Paula can be contacted at
Anders Jorgensen, New Editor-in-Chief for the CLIMB Journal

Dr. Jorgensen has a tremendous background in space physics and over ten years of research in space elevators.  He teaches at New Mexico Tech and conducts research in Astronomical Optical Interferometry methods.  His expertise is very applicable to space elevators and their complex environment beyond the Earth's atmosphere.  An example is his recent project to model the Earth's plasmasphere by using Kalman filtering techniques similar to those used in Earth weather predictions.
ISEC's Journal, named CLIMB, is the Journal of the International Space Elevator Consortium, a collection of peer-reviewed articles that pertain to the Space Elevator. CLIMB gathers together some of the best technical papers and is intended as an outlet for authors who wish to contribute to the growing body of knowledge about Space Elevators. CLIMB has a rigorous review process intended to insure that the papers are well-thought out, technically correct and logical.

Anders can be reached at
Why Space Elevators

Perpetual High Cost of Launch

Recently, in the National Space Society magazine, Ad Astra - summer 2016, Dan Ward wrote about viable and affordable launch costs.  He described how America has forced itself into a corner on cost to orbit.  As satellites continued improving, they ended up costing huge amounts of resources.  This resulted in billion dollar satellites with no backups and they were fragile to handle.  With these products, the launch industry had to improve significantly to ensure that none of these precious cargos were lost.  This led to the case where the launch vehicles MUST succeed which led to an extremely expensive launch industry ensuring that the very expensive satellites got to orbit - thus, becoming even more expensive.  The cycle was endless because as soon as you have expensive reliable rockets, you must use them for extremely expensive satellites.  This cycle was vigorous during the 80's, 90's and early 21st century as the industry fed upon itself.  As new industry players emerge, such as Space X, these concepts are being challenged.  Must we have huge satellites for expensive launch vehicles to have a space program?  Indeed, Mr. Musk is lowering the cost of launch; but, will the whole industry follow suit and then provide more redundant and less capable satellites - costing less.  Can we break out of this cycle?  Mr. Ward claims that there is a method of recalibrating the cycle of high cost elements - lower cost launchers for lower cost satellites filling the missions with redundant less capable satellites.  This could lead to a world where the cost to space would be lowered and the cost to operate in space would also be lowered.  However, with the significant national missions leading most funding, can this change in strategy really occur?  

The interesting insight to this paper is that if you were to replace the inexpensive launch step with a space elevator, his thesis becomes very real - in spades.  He just did not take his paper far enough.  As we all know:

Inexpensive, routine, safe space access by space elevators will enable the human race to move off-planet robustly.

Dr. Peter Swan, President - ISEC

We invite anyone to contribute to the newsletter by answering this question.
Please send your inputs to:
[note: your submission is permission to print.]
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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