Welcome to the August 2019 Edition of the ISEC Newsletter

Dear Fellow Space Elevator enthusiast,

Eleven days! That’s all the time left to register for the Space Elevator Conference being held by ISEC this month! If you are thinking of coming and are wondering what we will be doing, scroll down to the conference schedule, later in this newsletter.

This article: https://spacenews.com/op-ed-the-next-space-age/ was forwarded to me since our last publication and I wanted to share it with you. It was originally published in 1994 in Space News and was reprinted for their Special Edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. It was written by Arthur C. Clarke, known chiefly as the author of the 2001: A Space Odyssey tetralogy. But what we at ISEC love him most for is his book, Fountains of Paradise, about the construction of a Space Elevator, called an Orbital Tower.

In this article, Clarke pulls the Orbital Tower out of science fiction/fantasy and drops it into the laps of the scientists at NASA, challenging them to move out of the jet-propulsion era and switch to a tether at the cost of “…about $100 of electricity per passenger…” in 1994 dollars, mind you, but our estimates have not risen much, since then.

If you would like to follow us on Twitter, use this link! Please like us on Facebook and watch more videos on our YouTube channel. And please visit the Space Elevator home page for all things regarding ISEC for the latest information.

Thank you for your continued support of the International Space Elevator Consortium!

Sandee Schaeffer

Newsletter Editor

President's Corner

by Pete Swan

Exciting Conference - For Sure!

After a remarkable few days in Washington, D.C. at the International Space Development Conference, the space elevator team is on a roll. Our themes from that conference will be addressed during our International Space Elevator Conference (see further info in newsletter) with exciting presentations on new ideas and progress on current concepts. There are two items I would like to emphasize in my President's Corner: (1) Keynote Speech and (2) the mini-workshops.

(1) Keynote Speech: We are very fortunate to have an experienced space architect as a working member of the team and on our Board -- Michael Fitzgerald. He joined the active part of ISEC several years ago and has contributed significantly during this early phase of development. He has brought structure and approach to our project using his experiences from his many space system developments. These have been illuminated within his "Architecture Notes" -- each placed on the ISEC website for easy reference. His Keynote Speech is entitled "From Fountains to Tech Ready." This talk, kicking off the 2019 conference, will have a unique perspective as it looks to the past, recognizes our achievements, and projects towards the future. This talk will be a parallel to the many talks being conducted around our nation celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Space elevators have a unique history with an equally exciting future. "Fitzer" will show how we are ready to proceed in parallel with so many other efforts discussed at the ISDC in Washington, D.C., just a month ago.

(2) Mini-workshops: ISEC, and the yearly space elevator conference, truly depend upon the work and ideas of many, many people. One of our strengths is that we have what we call "mini-workshops," which are team activities focused upon a single topic for two hours each. These are led by a "mentor" who gives a five-minute challenge to the conference participates who then break out into separate groups to discuss various aspects of each challenge. The summary of each group is then recorded and passed to the appropriate person who will include the ideas in ISEC's future work. This year, we have three mini-workshops for the conference:

  • 2019 ISEC Study summary and analysis - "ISEC Outreach and Workbook."
  • 2020 ISEC Study initiation - "Space Elevators Enable Interplanetary Mission Support." (see note in this newsletter)
  • 2019 ISEC Special Investigation - "The Greening of the Earth by Space Elevators."

Each of these mini-workshops encourages innovative thinking and the aggressive belief that space elevators will make a difference in the future. Please join us in Seattle for the conference and especially for the mini-workshops.

Keep Climbing my Friends,


Arizona State University Research Reveals Apex Anchor Fast Transit to Mars

Come to the 2019 International Space Elevator Conference to learn about
research carried out at Arizona State University, sponsored by Associate Professor Matthew Peet and supported by Dr. Peter Swan. Dr. Swan will talk about their conclusions that mission support from Galactic Harbours will be an enabling factor in humanity's expansion off-planet. As colonies form, the need for support will increase at a tremendous rate. The mission support mass per day required to be delivered to the Moon, Mars and other destinations will over stress any rocket architecture as well as being exorbitantly expensive. Space Elevators allow mission support growth to accelerate with three major improvements:

Inexpensive - routine (daily) massive movement of mission support equipment

Tremendous opening up of launch windows (daily to weekly towards Mars)

Reduced travel times (fast transits as short as 77 days)

With Mars as the destination of the study, the remarkable results show that a delivery time for supplies from the Earth becomes as short as 77 days! In addition, the concept of one launch window every two years is collapsed to multiple launches each week towards Mars. The essence of this change is the tripling of the energy at the Earth's sphere of influence compared to traditional rockets entering the Holman transfer ellipse at its perigee. This remarkable increase in energy is a result of release from the 100,000 km altitude Apex Anchor rotating with the Earth. This combination of potential and kinetic energy results in a hyperbolic orbit departing a space elevator. James Torla recently presented his team of 11 researchers' results at the International Space Development Conference. We are calling their research involving algorithmic development and processing of data, including numerical solution of Lambert’s problem, the "Peet-Torla Transit." This calculation was accomplished using a proposed 26-month period in the late 2030's showing daily releases and travel times. Dr. Swan will present their mathematical results within the context of humanity's movement off-planet and the demands for mission support equipment that this entails.

One Million Tons to Mars to Support my Colony!

Elon Musk, 21 July 2019, CBS Sunday Morning Interview

Is it a coincidence that Mr. Musk asked for delivery of a million tons of support infrastructure for his colony on Mars? I think not! It is obvious to anyone studying the recent commercial movement off-planet there is a crying need for routine, daily, inexpensive, environmentally friendly, safe, and massive payload capable access to space. It just so happens that space elevators and Galactic Harbours epitomize those strengths. As such, the ISEC has established its 2020 year-long study topic as:

Space Elevators Enable Interplanetary Mission Support.

We will kick off the study at the 2019 International Space Elevator Conference with a brainstorming session looking at the mission support for humanity's movement off-planet: to the Moon & Mars; colonies floating at L-5; and, even to Asteroids. This kick-off will lead to a year long process where we will look at the requirements for mission support and then show how the strengths of space elevators enable movement off-planet. We invite you to participate by responding to this newsletter through info@isec.org or coming to our conference and participating in these initial stages of this study.

by Pete Swan

The 2019 ISEC Space Elevator Conference is this month in Seattle, WA. Registration is open until August 11, 2019. Here is the 3-day agenda for the conference:

Day 1--Friday, August 16, 2019

9:00am Conference Opening and Welcome--David Horn

9:15am ISEC President’s Welcome--Dr. Pete Swan

9:30am Space Elevator Baseline System Overview--Dr. Bryan Laubscher

10:30am Keynote Presentation--Space Elevator Pathway to Technology Maturity…and Beyond, From Fountains to Tech Ready--Michael Fitzgerald

11:15am Apex Anchor Fast Transit to Mars--Dr. Pete Swan

1:00pm A Scalable Carbon Nanotube Cable Strengthening Method--Peter Renteln

1:45pm Update on Graphene as a Tether Material--Adrian Nixon

2:30pm Space Elevator Climber: Tether Interface, Reliability and Other Considerations--Peter Robinson

3:15pm Mini Workshop--ISEC Outreach and Reference--led by Dr. Pete Swan

Day 2 – Saturday, August 17, 2019

9:00am ISEC Intern Presentations

9:30am The Gamification of Space Elevator Technology--Dr. Erland Wittkotter

10:30am The Dionysus Program: 99942 Apophis: Trans-Mars Injection and Space Lift Construction (AT-MIASLC)--Winston Sanks

11:15am Pathway Chronicles--Some Anecdotes, Architecture Notes as a Diary--Michael Fitzgerald

1:00pm Mini Workshop--Interplanetary Mission Support--led by Dr. Pete Swan

3:00pm Explore Museum of Flight and watch the RoboClimb competition finals at 4pm

Day 3--Sunday, August 18, 2019

9:00am The Multi-Stage Elevator: 2019 Update--John Knapman

9:30am Mini Workshop--Greening of the Earth via Space Elevators--led by TBD

10:45am Update on Project Atlantis--Phil Swan

11:15am The Space Conveyor Could Revolutionize Space Travel--Stanley Korn

1:00pm Topic Analysis Breakouts

2:45pm Shotgun Science Session (open to all to present a Space Elevator-related idea or concept in 5 minutes or less)

3:45pm Conference Wrap Up and 2020 Conference Plans--David Horn

David Horn

Conference Chair

ISEC Summer Interns for 2019

Each year ISEC sponsors summer interns to conduct research and interview a space related professional. These two requirements try to encourage young college students to continue in science and engineering as well as actually give them experience conducting research into an innovative arena. The interns work from their homes with a mentor from ISEC on a schedule for a research paper to be completed by the end of the summer. There is a small grant and a letter of recommendation at the conclusion of the summer for each student. This year, they will be presenting their preliminary research to the 2019 International Space Elevator Conference through electronic means. The two interns for this year are:

Joshua Bernard Cooper hails from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is in his second year studying Physics and Philosophy. He is part of the St. Andrews Engineering Group. His research paper will be: “An Instrumented, Balloon-supported Tether for Early Space Elevator Research and Revenue”

Sophia Lee Roberts is a first-year student at King’s College in London and is studying Physics and Philosophy. She is also active in UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS.) Her paper is entitled, “Methodologies for Mitigating Risk to the Lower Reaches of Future Space Elevators.”

Upcoming Space Elevator Related Events

International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC)

Space Elevator Conference (SEC)

August 16-18, 2019

Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA, USA


International Astronautic Congress

October 21-25, 2019

Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D. C., USA


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