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Space Elevator Games to Spur a New Generation of Space Travel

Press Release From: Spaceward Foundation
Posted: Friday, September 8, 2006

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The Spaceward Foundation recently announced the second annual Space Elevator Games to be held in partnership with NASA and the X PRIZE Foundation at the Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico, USA.

Together, NASA, Spaceward, and X PRIZE are looking to jumpstart safe and efficient space exploration using prizes for private research; much like the Orteig Prize which was won by none other than Charles Lindbergh in his Spirit of St. Louis. The competitions have a total purse of $400,000 sponsored by NASA's Centennial Challenges program, quadrupling the amount of prize money of last year's event. Two prizes will be awarded to teams who can build the strongest tether, and the fastest moving vertical robot. Over twenty teams from different universities and research groups will be competing for a piece of space travel history.

The Space Elevator is a 62,000 mile tether made from carbon nanotubes. The tether is connected from space to an ocean based platform along the equator, and is capable of lifting large payloads to geosynchronous orbit. . The tether and the earth rotate in unison, so the tether stays in place with respect to the earths surface. The tether is held taught by the spinning motion of the earth. As the earth and the tether rotate in unison, robotic vehicles climb the tether using power supplied by a strong beam of light projected from earth. Moving upwards at around 125 mph, the climbers will travel to space repeatedly, carrying cargo much more safely than traditional rocket ships.

The space elevator will reduce the costs of reaching orbit from $20,000/lb to well below $100/lb. Advancements in science have recently brought forth technologies that make the space elevator a serious possibility; carbon nanotubes, which form the tether of the space elevator, are 100 times stronger than steel and a fifth the weight - more than twice as strong as is necessary for a space elevator. Dr. Bradley Edwards, the modern father of the space elevator put it in perspective; “Future generations will look back on this as they now do to the electric light, powered flight, nuclear energy and the computer chip” Edwards said.

The Space Elevator Games will be held in conjunction with the X PRIZE Cup, in Las Cruces New Mexico on October 20th and 21st. Organized by the X PRIZE Foundation, the X Prize Cup is the world’s premier space technology event for general audiences.

The event will have special attractions in addition to the competitions. T-38 astronaut trainer fly-overs, live high-powered rocket launches, rocket trucks, rocket bikes, flying jet-packs, and a debut exhibition race of the Rocket Racing League. The Rocket Racing League, which was founded by the X PRIZE founder Peter Diamandis, is like NASCAR in the sky, and uses high powered jets flying over 320 MPH in the sky

There will be a live webcast during the entire event. Tickets are available for the Space Elevator Games and the X PRIZE Cup at http://www.xprizecup.com. The general public is encouraged to attend.

About Spaceward:

The Spaceward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the cause of space access in educational curriculums and the public mindshare. For more information on Spaceward, please visit: http://www.spaceward.org

For more information on the Space Elevator Competition, visit: http://www.elevator2010.org

For more information about NASA's Centennial Challenges, visit: http://centennialchallenges.nasa.gov

For more information on the X PRIZE Cup, visit: http://www.xprizecup.com

Press contacts:
Spaceward Contact: Marc Schwager
707.299.9940 - marc < AT > spaceward.org

X PRIZE Contact: Ian Murphy
310.689.6397 - press < AT > xprize.org

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