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 e-Newsletter
January 2016
In This Issue
Membership Drive
The President's Corner
The Research Lab
Getting to Know your ISEC Leadership team
Call for Papers
Why Space Elevators?
New Space Press Release
ISEC Affiliations
What is ISEC?
ISEC Corporate Sponsors
Visit ISEC on the Web
Follow ISEC!
Quick Links
Dear Friend,

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

This edition reflects the very busy state of affairs at ISEC - lots going on!  First of all, we are happy to announce our 3rd annual MEMBERSHIP DRIVE!  For the month of February only, you can join or renew your membership in ISEC at a reduced price - details elsewhere in the Newsletter.

If you are wondering what the game of Golf and the Space Elevator have in common, this month's President's Corner will make it all clear.  This newsletter also features your monthly column from the Research Lab, the latest installment of Why Space Elevators and a new column devoted to familiarizing you with the ISEC Leadership team.

There is also a Call for Papers for the next editions of CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal and Via Ad Astra, the Space Elevator Magazine.  Finally, we present the Press Release from the New Space organization, highlighting a special issue they are creating focusing on the Space Elevator.

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! 

Membership Drive!
ISEC is very pleased to announce its third annual membership drive to be held during the month of February, 2016.  During this month new members may join and current members can renew at a reduced rate!

Those who join or renew  at the Professional level will only have to pay $58, a $10 discount from the normal $68 rate. Professional level members are entitled to receive the print version of any issue of CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal, or Via Ad Astra, the Space Elevator Magazine or any ISEC Report.

Those who join or renew at the Student level will only have to pay $20, a $5 discount from the normal $25 rate. Student level members are entitled to receive the electronic version of any issue of CLIMB or Via Ad Astra or any ISEC Report.

So, take advantage of the reduced rates, visit the ISEC member join/renew page and join or renew your membership in February!
The President's Corner

Recently I was reading Golf Magazine and ran across an interesting article about leadership.  Editor David M. Clarke talked about what it took to be a leader and how Jordan Spieth reflected these traits, even at 22 years old.  Mr. Clarke stated that he thought leaders had core attributes of curiosity, insight, resilience and engagement.  As I see it, these translate easily to the leadership team of ISEC.  Each of our seven very-active members has a deeply set curiosity of how things work and what the world will be like because of their involvement in the space elevator.  At meetings, we often wander off the topic because many of us are curious about some aspect of our future space elevator infrastructure.  And of course, each of us has some insight from their own expertise leveraging their previous activities.  In addition, insight means understanding of the issues and the special knowledge of a topic, also traits of our Board members.  In addition, resilience is important as this is a very difficult road to tread.  The up-hill path we have chosen has many people who say it cannot be done.  We as a core group need to believe and express positive beliefs toward the future with determination and style.

But of all the core attributes defined by Mr. Clarke, I most enjoy the one of engagement within our small group.  Each of our Board members has a special style of engagement.  David Horn has ensured his involvement in our yearly conference leads to a phenomenal experiences for all.  Skip Penny ensures that his years of experience in the space arena are leveraged when discussing the arena we are to build within.  Bryan Laubscher ensures that the students he influences are definitely engaged and producing remarkable results in the laboratory.  Dennis Wright is engaged with the dynamics community trying to ensure that a high fidelity model of the space elevator motion is produced.  John Knapman is trying to corral the efforts of many researchers to ensure that the space elevator investigations are going in proper directions.  In the meantime, Martin Lades is trying to bring the European players back to the table of discussions around space elevator and climber competitions.  Each of our team members are definitely curious, have tremendous insight, have bounce-back strengths, and excel at engagement with the public, local and global.

Keep Climbing my Friends --  Pete Swan
The Research Lab

Outline studies have already been initiated on the total picture of powering the tether climber.  One major discussion deals with the difficulties and feasibility of supporting seven tether climbers simultaneously on a single space elevator.  A basic proposal of Dr. Edwards was powering the tether climbers by transmission of power from Earth by lasers. We need to assess the risk to other spacecraft and calculate how often the laser would need to be switched off to avoid causing damage. This calculation includes the spread of the beam until it reaches a distance where the concentration of power is no longer a danger.

We need to calculate the actual power levels at all the stages of the laser projection:  power required at climber motor [4 MW], power to climber [with losses], energy lost in path [distance and atmospheric], power out of laser optics, power for total laser system, power out of power source [nuclear, diesel, wave], all times seven.  We need to follow several theoretical studies with actual trials with state-of-the-art working lasers. That way, we will get reliable answers that take us closer to building a working space elevator.
Getting to Know your ISEC Leadership team

Note: This new section of the ISEC Newsletter is to open up the understanding of who is participating actively within the space elevator community, especially ISEC.  Each month there will be another short summary of some of your active participants.  The first one will be about the President of ISEC, Dr. Peter Swan.

"Getting to Know your ISEC Enthusiasts"

Dr. Swan has a diverse background that focused upon space and how to build spacecraft.  He tested spacecraft, designed spacecraft, built spacecraft, operated space systems and then has taught "how to build a spacecraft" for 18 years.  However, his interest in science fiction and space travel has always left him in the position of knowing that there are better ways to reach our goal of a space faring civilization in the near future.  During his Ph.D. dissertation time, he created space tether dynamics models that controlled stability of these asymmetric satellites in highly elliptical orbits.  After the majority of his work was accomplished leading to his final thesis, he took an adventure of growing his model to include lunar space elevators.  This 1983 work was never published, but stuck with him over the years until Dr. David Raitt mentioned that he had gone to the first Space Elevator Conference in Seattle.  Dr. Swan did not miss one after that.  He has been a true convert to this radical space transportation infrastructure early on and has continued to support this development.

He has had two focuses during his tenure within ISEC, both based upon his management style of engagement and curiosity.  He has ensured that, as president, many people were encouraged to "do their thing" and follow their line of thought.  His other major trait is that he started the idea of ISEC studies being completed within one year and becoming the focus for multiple activities such as conference workshops and published study reports.  However, his biggest achievement is his enthusiastic support of all the other leaders inside ISEC.  He has actively supported the history working group, the research team, each of the year-long study groups, the board of directors, the conference implementation team, and the interface with the outside community.  Pete loves the idea of space elevators because of the remarkable changes that are going to occur when they are operations, but also because they will take us to the future envisioned in science fiction.
Call for Papers 

ISEC is now accepting papers for Volume 3 of CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal and Volume 2 of Via Ad Astra, the Space Elevator Magazine.

CLIMB is a peer-reviewed Journal containing articles of a scientific or engineering nature that are related to the space elevator or to technologies that will be needed to develop and/or operate a space elevator.  A Technical Review committee will work with the authors to ensure that the rigorous standards set in Volumes 1 and 2 of CLIMB are maintained.

Via Ad Astra is a magazine devoted to any and all types of articles which relate to a space elevator.  Such articles can be technical in nature, but can also be historical information, interviews, fiction, artwork, poetry and anything else that the Editorial review team for Via Ad Astra believes would appeal to a more general audience.

Please visit the ISEC website for more details on submission guidelines for CLIMB and Via Ad Astra.


Contact:  Kathryn Ryan
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers
Going Up! Are Space Elevators from Earth to the Moon and Beyond Feasible?

New Rochelle, NY, January 15, 2016 - Space elevators that could routinely transport cargo between the Earth, our planet's moon and asteroids, and even Mars at an affordable cost of less than $100/kg could stimulate a gold rush into space, revolutionizing opportunities for commercialization, space exploration, and space colonization. The technology, vision, and infrastructure development driving this movement are examined in the thought-provoking article "The Future: Space Elevators Seem Feasible," published in New Spacea peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free to download on the New Space website until February 15, 2016.

The article is part of a special issue of New Space entitled "Space Elevators: Opening up the Earth-Moon Ecosphere." Co-authors Cathy Swan, PhD, SouthWest Analytic Network, Peter Swan, PhD and John Knapman, PhD, International Space Elevator Consortium, and David Raitt, European Space Agency (retired), discuss the potential for future growth if the materials needed to construct the 100,000 kilometer rope (likely made of carbon nanotubes) that would make operation of a space elevator feasible were available before 2030. Inexpensive commercial access to space could provide low-cost energy from solar-powered satellites, enable mining of space mineral resources and construction on the surface of the Moon and asteroids, and eventually allow for people to migrate off-planet with expanding colonies of people and commerce supporting an Earth-Moon-Mars ecosystem.

"The space elevator concept has a long history as speculative science or even science fiction.  However, recent advances in materials such as nanotechnology have stimulated a renewed interest," says Editor-in-Chief G. Scott Hubbard, Stanford University (CA). "Serious professional organizations like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers have begun holding sessions devoted to the space elevator. In this issue we provided some of the current thought leaders with an opportunity to explain the current state of the technology. The tantalizing promise of the capability is enormous."

About the Journal

New Space facilitates and supports the efforts of researchers, engineers, analysts, investors, business leaders, and policymakers to capitalize on the opportunities of commercial space ventures. Spanning a broad array of topics including technological advancements, global policies, and innovative applications, the journal brings the new space community together to address the challenges and discover new breakthroughs and trends in this epoch of private and public/private space discovery. The Journal is published quarterly online with Open Access options and in print. Complete table of contents are available on the New Space website.

ISEC Affiliations

National Space Society Update - " The annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) is the keynote event of the National Space Society (NSS), bringing together leading managers, engineers, scientists, educators, and business people from civilian, military, commercial, entrepreneurial, and grassroots advocacy space sectors. ISDC has been held in various locations throughout North America since 1982, featuring renowned speakers such as Buzz Aldrin, Eric Anderson, Charles Bolden, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Peter Diamandis, Lori Garver, Richard Garriott, Bill Nye, Elon Musk, Seth Shostak, Simon 'Pete' Worden, and many others. ISDC also features plenary talks, keynote speakers, multi-disciplinary tracks, exhibit hall, design contests, book signing, and more.
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.

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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