■ FIGURE 13. We only had a minute to
see Team Zero-G Climber. If I understand
correctly, this climber will be powered by
solar thermal and use a Stirling
engine to drive itself up the ribbon.
three climbers run on Sunday —
Snowstar, Technology Tycoons, and
KCSP — before leaving for home.
The Technology Tycoons made
the first attempt on Sunday, too.
However, their climb was not as fast
as they desired (due to wind and
clouds). Their coach believes it took
between four and five minutes to
climb to the top of the ribbon (for a
speed of around 0.45 m/s).
The University of British
Columbia’s climber, Snowstar, made
the second attempt. Snowstar climbed
the 400 foot tall ribbon at a speed of
nearly 1 m/s. The reason for this slower
than expected speed was damage their
climber received on the trip to Utah.
■ FIGURE 15. Snowstar about half way
up the ribbon.
■ FIGURE 14. It was a beautiful
sight to see the Technology Tycoon
climber at the top of the ribbon.
Since UBC members had
midterms coming up, they couldn’t wait for Monday to try again.
KCSP made Sunday’s third
and final attempt. Their first climb
snagged one of the ribbon’s safety lines and had to be brought
back down. On their second
attempt, the climber made it to
the top of the ribbon. However,
by this time, winds had picked
up. The winds whipped the ribbon and
climber around and as a result, some of
the solar cells broke free of the climber.
The climber’s beating also seized its
brake, preventing it from returning to
the ground as quickly as possible.
Upon return to the ground, it looked
bad for the KCSP climber; however,
KCSP was able to make repairs and try
again on Monday.
Monday began with clear skies
and low winds. However, the good
conditions didn’t last; the winds
picked up later and twice snapped the
400 foot long ribbon. Fortunately, no
climbers were on the ribbon when it
KCSP made their second attempt
on Monday afternoon and had a great
climb. However, the climb was at a
speed of 1.25 m/s and not sufficient
to claim the prize money. I would
guess that if their climber had not
been damaged the day before, KCSP
would have maintained their 3. 5 m/s
climb and won the $500,000 prize.
After KCSP, it was USST from the
University of Saskatchewan’s turn.
USST shut down their laser power
system on their first attempt because
of rain. Still, they managed four later
trips up the ribbon in less than 40 minutes. Their average speed was 1.8 m/s
or six feet per second. That was the
best speed for the 2007 Spaceward
Games, but still shy of the 2 m/s ascent
rate needed to claim the prize purse.
Here’s what Ted Semon had to
say about the 2007 games. “I think the
games were a success. We saw multiple laser climbs and saw a carbon
nano-tube tether. These represent the
technology that the Space Elevator will
be built on.” I couldn’t agree more.