Welcome to the May 2019 Edition of the ISEC Newsletter
Space Elevator enthusiast,
The upcoming International Space
Development Conference, (ISDC) held by the National Space Society, will take
place this June, the 6th through the 9th, in Washington, D. C. Many of our
members will be guest speakers at this conference. They have a three-hour track
assigned to them on June 8th. I have posted the schedule in the body of the
newsletter, below. The four themes being emphasized at this event will be:
Space Elevators are Closer than you think!
The Galactic Harbour is a part of the Global and Interplanetary
The space elevator development has gone beyond a preliminary
technological assessment and is ready to enter the initial technological
testing leading to establishing needed capabilities.
The magnitude of the Space Elevator Architecture demands that it be
understood and supported by many.
The theme of this year’s ISDC is “Back
to the Moon to Stay.” I love the idea of going back to the moon, but cringe at
the cost, not just in dollars, but also in the volume of fossil fuels needed
for launching all that equipment and personnel using rockets! What if we could
gently “lift” all that material into space using electrical power provided by
the sun, wind, and sea currents and at less than one-tenth the cost of the
current methods of space transportation? ISEC's vision is to provide the world
with inexpensive, safe, routine, and efficient access to space for the benefit
of all mankind.
If you can get to this event, please
do, and tell us about your experience!
Or, come to the Space Elevator
Conference this August 16th through 18th in Seattle, Washington (the OTHER
Washington!) See details for both of these conferences in the “Upcoming Events”
section at the end of the newsletter.
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!
by Pete Swan
Innovation by Entrepreneurs
As we know from last month's
discussion on space debris mitigation for the space elevator, there are
engineering challenges that must be addressed:
materials for the tether, dynamics of a 100,000 km tether, tether
climber mechanism interfacing with the tether - and many more. Of course, we have answered all of these
items [at the preliminary technological assessment level]. The challenge today is to move forward while
involving industry to "show me" the test results for the various
In a related concept - innovation by
entrepreneurs -- we can learn a lot. Mr.
Mark Cuban is a successful businessman, investor, owner of a pro basketball
team and an entrepreneur. He shared his
philosophy on "how to" in a recent article. I thought I would bring it forward within
this newsletter to help understand where we are and how we should move forward
as entrepreneurs of a major developmental transportation system. He has ten rules of the road:
be afraid to take the first step – Luckily, we (ISEC) have taken Brad Edward's
first step much further with help from others [JSEA, Obayashi, and the IAA, as
well as many individuals]
is OK - We have failed to "kick-start" the funding so far, but we are
continuing to push for significant funding for ISEC and industry.
differently - we qualify there. Our
transportation infrastructure and business potential will change the world
while lowering the cost of access to space.
drink the Kool-Aid - Creativity and big ideas show up often in our global open
processes. Each year we have new
concepts and approaches presented at our ISEC conference as well as around the
world in places such as the yearly International Astronautical Congress.
obsessed - luckily, our informal leadership team [approximately 65 individuals
who contribute towards our project] keep coming through with ideas and
suggestions on how to improve our developmental approach.
your competition - The good news is we have great insight into the world of
space launchers. The price is coming
down, but not nearly low enough and without all the other benefits of a space
elevator -- such as no rock-and-roll, daily delivery to GEO, or minimal environment
Every Aspect, not just one - He pointed out that all innovations have multiple
levels of complexity. Indeed, we have
that in spades. The multi-system look at
architectures shows that there are multiple variables that must be addressed
simultaneously. Luckily, our leadership
has done that before.
Mind Matters - We all know that what we are doing has great potential to
improve the human condition. As such, we
wake up each morning and think about how we are contributing to the advancement
of so many aspects of the movement off-planet and improvement of the situation
counts - One of the first things ISEC accomplished when formed was to agree
upon a Vision: A world with inexpensive,
safe, routine, and efficient access to space for the benefit of all mankind.
Hit the books - and the internet - One of our main purposes is to inform and
education others around the globe about the space elevator. We need to ensure we keep contributing to
studies [ISEC yearly approach & IAA topics] while ensuring our webpage
becomes the "go-to" location for all things space elevators.
I have said often: Think Big! Act
Aggressively! and Work with Others..
Keep Climbing my Friends
Plan to Attend the 2019 ISEC Space Elevator Conference
The International Space Elevator Consortium presents the 2019 Space Elevator Conference to be held August 16th through August 18th, 2019 at the Museum of Flight, Seattle, Washington with the Family Science Fest on
Saturday, August 17th.
This year’s conference theme is “Outreach and Early
Experimentation Support." The
three-day technical conference will engage an international audience of scientists,
engineers, educators, managers, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and students in
discussions of space elevator development including Technology, Business and
Operations, Outreach, and Legal topics.
More details of this year’s technical conference program will be posted
on the conference website (http://isec.org/sec) with registration opening later this month.
The Family Science Fest portion of the conference will be
held Saturday, August 17th. This event is in tandem with the technical
conference and is included in the Museum of Flight admission price. The Family
Science Fest includes a youth robotics competition, public Space Elevator 101
and 201 presentations, exhibits from universities, science organizations, and
science clubs, and much more. This is a
great event for the whole family while you explore the Museum of Flight.
Many thanks to our annual “GEO” level sponsor,
the Museum of Flight, for their generous ongoing support for this
2019 ISEC Space Elevator Conference Call for Papers!
The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) invites
you to join us in Seattle, Washington, USA and contribute to the latest
research, knowledge, stimulating discussions, and exchange of ideas on space
elevators at the 2019 ISEC Space Elevator Conference - August 16-18, 2019. The theme of this year's conference is “Outreach and Early Experimentation Support." Carbon nanotube, graphene, and strong
materials research is also a very important topic that we continue to
emphasize, and we encourage participation by materials science researchers on
this exciting subject. Authors are
invited to submit titles and abstracts of proposed papers for the conference by
May 19, 2019.
Topics for papers should fall into these categories.
elevator impact on the future and public outreach to societal institutions;
government, media, unions, the educational system, etc.
nanotube, graphene, and other tensile strength research progress and other strong materials research relating to space elevators
engineering, and technology topics relating to space elevators
maintenance, ROI, and other business and financial topics relating to space
laws, insurability, and other legal issues and topics relating to space
Submit your abstracts and papers to the Conference
Management Tool (CMT) at https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/ISECSEC2019/.
Authors are invited to submit titles and abstracts by 19-May-2019. Abstracts must be in English, no more than 5000 words, should
state the purpose, result, and conclusion of the proposed paper with supporting
figures where appropriate. Authors will be notified of acceptance to submit a
corresponding paper within 10 days of abstract submission. For all submittals,
please include the title, authors and affiliations, mail address, e-mail, and
phone number of the corresponding author.
Please use the ISEC Conference Papers Template for your
paper. Papers must be in English with the first full draft for review due by
30-Jun-2019. This is an informal
checkpoint to make sure you are on track to have the paper ready for the conference.
Final papers and presentations are due 09-Aug-2019 so that we can make them
ready for conference attendees. PowerPoint or PDF formats are preferred for
Submission of Abstracts by May 19, 2019
Draft Papers Due: June 30, 2019
Final Papers and Presentations Due: August 09, 2019
Send your abstract, paper, and technical program inquiries
Conference Chair: David Horn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
ISEC President Dr Pete Swan saw an
intriguing newsletter from Peter Diamandis on April 21st in which he talked
about AI breakthroughs in the near future. Here’s the link… https://www.diamandis.com/blog/convergence-catalyzer-2-ai
In particular, Diamandis describes how
AI design systems drive breakthroughs in atomically precise manufacturing and
would assist in new material development ... and of course this is precisely
what we need for the Space Elevator. Pete circulated the newsletter to Adrian
Nixon, a single crystal graphene expert (see www.nixor.co.uk/about) and 2018
ISEC conference Keynote Speaker, and others, here’s a synopsis of the email
Adrian, can you leverage such a system?
Adrian: Yes, we’ve been thinking about
leveraging AI in our manufacturing process for some time. We have a staged approach to the
manufacturing development. There will be
two time-consuming stages:
1. Adjusting the growth conditions to
form single crystal graphene in our proof of concept machine
2. Doing the process optimisation at
the pilot production plant stage - speeding up the production of high-quality,
On my advisory board you will see
Chris Bentley. You’ll recall Chris was
the chap who made me aware of the space elevator in the first place - Pete and
John kindly signed the book for him when I was in Seattle. He and I have been mulling over the use of AI
in our work. A couple of years ago Chris
built his own AI from scratch - from code, to figure out how it works. His AI
could recognise any handwritten numbers with a success rate of 97%. Having seen how he did it, I have an improved
understanding of how AI actually works - It is essentially a system for doing
very complicated pattern matching. I
have attached a graphic that summarises how the AI works using the neural
network pathway metaphor.
Chris writes a fascinating blog, well
worth a read if you get time http://www.thestrategyexchange.co.uk/2017/07/open-the-pod-bay-doors-please-hal/
The key to making the AI useful is to
manage the inputs carefully so that the neural network reinforces success and
weakens failure pathways in a way that defines success in terms of clear links
to defined outcomes. This means AI is
best when dealing with ‘closed’ systems (by this I mean well defined / bounded
However, AI works less well when the
system is ‘open’ (less well defined / bounded systems with unclear
outcomes). General medical practise is
one of these https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/28/3/231. If you like
McKinsey’s stuff, then you can read more here: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-analytics/our-insights/what-ai-can-and-cant-do-yet-for-your-business
Summary: (Apologies for the long
response to a short question.)
I think AI can help us with the
process optimisation piece (for single-crystal graphene) because we’ll have
understood the system by then. It might
help us with the proof of concept stage but as we’ll be developing the growth
conditions and also developing the sensor technology we may not have the
control we think we have on the inputs. So, we may find we automate failure
more than we expect - and because AI is a 'black box' it’ll be hard to find out
why. Oh, and we'll have the UK’s
National Physical Laboratory (NPL - Similar to NIST in the USA) working with us
Robinson: Yes, AI could help in material development...but I believe the
greatest use of AI in the Space Elevator will be as part of the tether control
system. It will take a smart AI,
probably using machine learning, to predict the best dynamic control inputs
needed to minimise the risk of impact from the thousands of pieces of orbital
hardware, whilst also taking into account the background motion induced by
tidal, solar wind, Coriolis and many other forces, and autonomously enacting the
best avoidance strategy in real time...and doing it for many years without
a single error. The predictive models
we’re designing today will be embedded in that system, but the AI will revise
those models to match observed behaviour. Computers of course will support almost every aspect of the system
design (design analysis, virtual product development, etc.), but I’m not sure
those systems can be described as ‘AI’.
Save the date and time for the first
ISEC webinar on space elevator topics!
Featured speakers include Jerome
Pearson, co-inventor of the modern space elevator concept, Adrian Nixon, editor
of the Nixene Journal on graphene development and applications, Pete Swan,
president of ISEC and Michael Fitzgerald, chief architect for ISEC. The webinar will also feature a Q&A
session for participants.
The webinar will be live beginning:
Friday, June 14th from16:00-20:00 Los Angeles (PDT)
Saturday, June 15th 00:00-04:00
Saturday, June 15th 08:00-12:00
We'll do it again on:
Saturday, June 15th from 09:00-13:00 Los Angeles time
Saturday, June 15th
Registration for the webinar is
free. Look for sign-up details at
www.isec.org in the coming weeks.
Any questions? Please send to: Info@isec.org
Here is the schedule for Space Elevator events at ISDC (International Space Development Conference) held by the NSS (National Space Society) June 6-9, 2019 in Arlington, VA.
Upcoming Space Elevator Related Events
National Space Societey (NSS)
International Space Development Conference (ISDC)
June 6-9, 2019
Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel, Arlington, VA, USA
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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