Welcome to the August 2018 Edition of the ISEC Newsletter


Dear Fellow Space Elevator enthusiast,

The conference is only 16 days away! If you are asking, "What conference?" then you have not been reading the latest newsletters, so, just in case you are new to the team or just haven't been keeping up, let me fill you in. The Space Elevator Conference will take place August 17-19th in Seattle at the Museum of Flight. Sign up here! Our Keynote Presentation will be by Adrian Nixor on Single Crystal Graphene, a new material process that should end up “long enough and strong enough" for space elevator tether production. The conference attendees will be right in the middle of a remarkable research success leading to production in the near future. Come learn about this new material and its potential for space elevators! If you want to learn more before the conference, you can listen to and read an interview of Adrian Nixor by AZoMaterials available online here.

And, if you think we are the only ones looking to space elevators for future access to space, check out this link on YouTube on what Disney has been dreaming up for Epcot Center!

Space Elevators are Closer than you Think!

All ISEC reports, Yearly Reports, CLIMB Journals and the Via Ad Astra Magazine, are available FOR FREE in electronic (pdf) format at ISEC.org.

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.

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 for reading and lending your support in the development of Space Elevators!

Sandee Schaeffer


President's Corner

Excitement for Conference

I am really looking forward to this year's ISEC conference [17-19 Aug Museum of Flight in Seattle] on many levels. The first reason is that I enjoy the type of people who come to our Space Elevator conference. They are usually curious, exciting, innovative, futuristic, and enthusiastic. The fun of being in an environment with similar types of personalities is rewarding and stimulating. Over the years, the feedback at the conferences has changed the course of development for space elevators with new and exciting ideas, vast experiential guidance, feedback from "been there done that," and just plain analyses from many viewpoints. The people make the conference!

The Keynote Presentation this year will be awesome, as the topic is "The Last Piece of the Puzzle? – Single Crystal Graphene" by Adrian Nixor (Nixor Ltd). Can you image a new material that is being developed to provide a continuous crystal that could be kilometers long? Our speaker is going to explain how this could indeed be the tether material of the future.

Now the last enticement - You can contribute! I have found that our audience is far more than just listeners. We have the opportunity, and we enthusiastically encourage participation, to provide feedback to the speakers [they normally stay for the full conference and sit with the audience], contribute to the discussions, and participate inside our mini-workshops, where all knowledge is valuable.

Please join us at the Museum of Flight for our conference, a social at the "Red Barn" and participation with students during their space elevator races and the Museum Science Day.

Come join us as: "The Space Elevator Transportation System is closer than you think!”

Keep Charging


ISEC Year-Long Studies and their Reports:

ISEC sponsors research into a focused topic each year to ensure progress in a discipline within the space elevator project. The yearly study process has been consistently investigating elements of the space elevator for the last nine years.  The ISEC has a process to pick topics and then conduct a year-long in-depth analysis on critical topics for Space Elevator development.  This focus enables the ISEC to prioritize activities and leverage volunteers with expertise in the chosen fields.  The single focus on a topic for a particular year enables the community to bring its strengths together and address the topic at the yearly conference.  Each study leads to through a proven process with a resulting report.  The topics chosen by the Board of Directors are shown below.  This expansion of the Body of Knowledge can be downloaded at www.isec.org, for free in pdf format or for a slight charge in paperback.

Table 1-1, ISEC Study Reports




Penny, 2011


Space Elevator Survivability and Space Debris

Penny, 2013


Space Elevator Concept of Operations

Swan, 2014


Design Considerations for Tether Climbers

Fitzgerald, 2015


Space Elevator Architecture and Roadmaps

Hall, 2016


Design Considerations for Earth Port

Fitzgerald, 2017


Design Considerations for Apex Anchor and GEO Node

Wright, 2017


Design Considerations for Modeling and Simulation

Knapman, 2018 *


Design Consideration for Multi-Stage Space Elevator

* in development

Architecture Note #19

Is the Space Elevator a Rope?

by Michael A. Fitzgerald

Personal Prologue

This is an Architecture Note. It is the opinion of ISEC’s Chief Architect. It represents an effort to document ISEC’s ongoing science and engineering discussions; and is one of many to be published over time. Most importantly, it is a sincere effort to be the diary, or the chronicle, of the multitude of our technical considerations as we progress; along the pathway developing the Space Elevator.

ISEC is chasing a dream … is it the right dream or are we pushing a rope?


It was in the movie Titanic. Leonardo de Caprio was on the bow of the ship, leaning forward, screaming for all to hear, dreaming of the exciting adventures to come to him when he got to America. We all know how that turned out, but it certainly was of no fault to Leonardo’s movie character. Other forces intervened. Most were simply less than competent, some were nefarious, some were misinformed. The outcome was at best … sad.

ISEC needs to understand that we are not alone. We are going to encounter other players; and they might be misinformed, or less than competent, or nefarious, or simply not dreamers. What shall we do?  We need to form our story and stick to it.

Recent wake up call

In a recent effort to develop some collaborative activities to help promote our dream, I encountered a fellow space enthusiast and, hoping for a joint meeting on the bow – leaning forward in tandem, I found that he was not burdened with any enthusiasm for space elevators. Now, you and I KNOW that our dream will come true eventually, but collaborating with him? Dream elsewhere.

There was no point to trying to change his stance by updating him on all the wonderful progress and all the recent exciting news. I simply said… “Thank you. We’ll proceed.” What he probably doesn’t realize is I meant the “Thank you” part more than the “We’ll proceed” part.  He made no disparaging comments.  He simply levied a much higher information standard than I was prepared to convey. THAT, was the wakeup call! He was a bit out touch regarding our recent progress -- but, heck, who isn’t!

Our story and let’s stick to it

ISEC is having a small conference in Seattle this month. Our theme is that the Space Elevator Transportation System development is closer than you think. That is our story. ISEC is going to review the seven positive statements of the preliminary Technology Readiness Assessment and make sure that development is ready for each of the segments of the Transportation System. ISEC is going to do that self-examination with thoroughness. That is our story and we are sticking to it.

Other stories and sticking to them

Another feature of our August conference is that ISEC is starting an Outreach effort over the next year or two (or whatever it takes). The key aspect of our outreach plan is to identify Outreach clients and make sure they have sufficient information about Space Elevators. In other words, find out how high the Outreach client has set the information standard, then assemble the information and get back to the Outreach client, immediately. We have started. That is our story and we are sticking to it.

Outreach topics / clients:
  • Strategic Technology
  • Space Traffic Management
  • International Jurisdictions
  • Legal Structures
  • Interplanetary Space Operations 

These several topics, and more, are associated with different clients who have relatively unique information needs. ISEC’s new job is to go beyond the technical Body of Knowledge that has driven us for years. It is time to gather knowledge so that we can join with others and collaborate.

More to come,


New ISEC Webmaster

First, I would like to thank Mark Dodrill for his dedication over the last few years. He has taken the website from one that was created early and simply evolve into one that is current in technological advances. The principal achievement was to gear it up for mobile devices and a current web-centered arena. Thanks Mark.

Now, I welcome Douglas Ahlquist. He has joined us and will be in full control during and after the August conference in Seattle [17-19 August Museum of Flight]. He has over twenty years experience in Software Engineering performing various roles from Architect to lead software engineer to quality assurance developer at locations like NASA, Google, Nvidia, JPMorgan Chase, and others. He will be taking us from where we are towards more involvement inside the Cloud and faster responses to our space elevator enthusiasts around the globe. Please welcome him to the team and come to our conference to talk about how the webmaster will improve our Cloud environment.


Upcoming Space Elevator Related Events:

International Space Elevator Consortium

Space Elevator Conference 2018

Seattle Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA, USA

August 17-19, 2018

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