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Teams From as Far As Europe to Compete in Space Elevator Games

Press Release From: Spaceward Foundation
Posted: Friday, September 22, 2006

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The final entries to the Space Elevator Games have been reviewed, and fifteen teams including five international teams will be participating in the tether strength and climber power-beaming competitions. The teams from independent research groups, universities, and corporations will be competing for $400,000 in prize money. The international teams hail from Canada, Spain, and Germany. Many independent teams have signed up, as well as one team from Westmont High School in Campbell, California.

Here is a snapshot of a few of the teams.

MClimber:
The sole US university entry comes from the University of Michigan. The MClimber is part of the Student Space Systems Fabrication Laboratory (S3FL) from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The team members are all students at the University of Michigan, almost all in Aerospace Engineering or Electrical Engineering. "The space elevator has great potential and could have very important impacts in our society." wrote Julie Bellerose, the team captain. "We want to contribute to its development. At the same time, we think the Elevator:2010 competition is a great opportunity to learn and apply engineering knowledge to a real-world project."

USST:
The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatchewan, Canada is coming back this year for a second try at the prize purse. They have started the U of S Space Design Team, also known as USST, which was founded "to give students with an interest in space the opportunity to apply their engineering and physics knowledge to real-world design problems relevant to the space industry. Such a team will allow students not only to foster their individual interest in space but also to enrich their university education experience." There are over 20 students in the USST and they hope to grow larger with more publicity.

Turbocrawler:
One of the two European entries, Max Born College from Ruhrarea, Germany has been testing their climber back home. Under the tutelage of Professor Joern Lutat, they have been making solid progress towards the competition. Their latest demonstration climb brought dozens of reporters and news cameras to watch their home team practice for a piece of space history. Pictures of the event and links to the articles (in german) can be found here: www.space-elevator.de.vu

Spaceminers:
The Spaceminers are a privately funded group from the Dallas Fort Worth area. Competing for their second year, they have two climbers under development that they plan to bring to New Mexico. "The SpaceMiner Project has been developed to raise funds and publicity for the Dallas Fort Worth Spaceport (www.dfwspaceport.com) by entering and winning multiple centennial challenges as well as other aerospace design contests. Said an enthusiastic Vince Lopresti, Founder of the Spaceminers. "Our ultimate goals are to score a contract with NASA, and build the REAL space elevator!"

The majority of the teams are raising money through sponsorships and donations. One team has found a clever way to raise money from the public. Entitled 300 Cells, the University of British Columbia in Canada is asking the public to purchase one of 300 photovoltaic cells (solar power cell) for only $10 each. Every name that donates will have their name hoisted up the tether along with the climber as a show of thanks. More information regarding specific team sponsorships and donations can be found at Spaceward.org.

Last year the University teams took top honors, however there will be serious competition from the private sector in 2006. Among the beam powered entries there are high powered microwave as well as laser beaming systems. "With the high powered systems being prepared for the Beam Power challenge this year, safety is an important factor" said Ben Shelef, Founder of the Spaceward Foundation. "The teams will be running a week of safety and qualification trials in preparation for the competition. We expect the competition to be hard fought."

More team profiles will be released in the coming weeks. Team photos and equipment pictures are available on request

About the Space Elevator Games:

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. 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 the Space Elevator:

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.

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:

For more information on the 2006 Space Elevator Games teams, visit: http://www.elevator2010.org/site/teams.html

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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