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Climbing The Sky
The dream of a Space Elevator is a monumental one. A vision that will not only further space exploration and knowledge, but has the potential to shape the existential future of the human race for centuries to come.
For the first time since it was initially conceived, this dream is now within our reach.
With the Elevator:2010 challenge, the Spaceward Foundation has joined the on-going construction effort, adding energy, resources and new initiatives to the ever-growing number of organizations, companies, websites and enthusiasts focused on the technical, political and economic development of the Space Elevator.
Our goal is to generate enough interest in the project, so that within five years the Space Elevator basic building blocks can be demonstrated as feasible, and full-scale design and construction can begin.
And hence our name. Elevator:2010. we promise to get an answer for you by then.
Elevator:2010 is designed to address the "social engineering" of the Space Elevator. Taking our cue from the X-prize, solar car races, and various other competitive ventures, we use engineering competitions as a tool to capture mindshare in academia, space enthusiast community, and the general public. If we can have even 10 universities and 100 engineering students involved with the Space Elevator project each year, we'd have left our mark on the aerospace community.
In the days of airships, the advocates of planes devised a new way to promote their (obviously impractical...) inventions. It was called an "air show", and it had a dual purpose: First, these pioneers knew that they could explain airplanes all they wanted using equations and diagrams - it was not until they showed them flying that they really got their message across. Second, they recognized the power of competition - by bringing together airplane enthusiasts in a competitive environment, they were able to accelerate the rate of development beyond what was likely in the isolated confines of their shops.
Our goal is to infect the engineering and science community with our passion for building the Space Elevator, thus making them ambassadors to our cause. As the fruits of their efforts take to the sky every year, we will have demonstrated the feasibility and sheer simplicity of the Space Elevator concept, and will have brought it closer to reality.
Our prize money is provided by NASA's Centennial Challenges program - a total of $4,000,000 over the next 5 years! To maximize our return and reduce our risk, we distribute the money in slowly increasing increments, as we ratchet up the difficulty level of the challenges.
Power Beaming (Climber) Competition
Our most visible competition event, the power beaming / climber competition challenges universities, enthusiasts and private industry teams to design and build the best possible Space Elevator climber prototype.
We provide the race track, in the form of a vertically-suspended ribbon (and other support hardware), and the teams provide the climbers that carry payload up that ribbon, along with the power beaming systems that power them.
The climbers are rated on the basis of speed and amount of payload.• Read all about it...
Tether Strength Competition
The Space Elevator design will live or die on our ability to produce a material that is sufficiently light and strong enough to bear its own weight against the force of Earth's gravity.
The tether competition is a perpetual dare for any group to present a tether that is at least 50% better than last year's best offering.
Tethers are ranked according to strength and weight.• Read all about it...