A Space Elevator Solstice

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A Space Elevator Solstice was the SolSeed Winter Solstice celebration for 2016, held on December 19th, mainly at Ben's apartment in Redmond, WA. It was Ben's idea for an alternative to Eric's tradition of launching rockets on the Winter Solstice, and was inspired by the space elevator climber contests for kids at Seattle's annual Space Elevator Conference.

Attendees

  • SolSeed members and friends
    • Ben, Brandon, Shelley, Sequoia, and Ren, in person.
    • Eric and Patrick, via Skype from their new home in Gatineau, Quebec, where they worked on their own LEGO climber but didn't finish it.
    • Lion, who stopped by for about an hour, mainly for some philosophical discussion.
  • Members of the Redmond Sci-Fi & Fantasy Book Club
    • Augusto, an engineer who works with quadcopters and Field Programmable Gate Array chips, whose input on the climber design and construction was pivotal.
    • Dozie (short for Chidozie), who helped with food preparation as well as building and testing the climber.
    • Rodrigo, who also played a major role in building the climber.
  • Members of the Seattle-area space elevator community
    • Bryan Laubscher, whose company, Odysseus Techonogies, works on developing carbon-nanotube fibers that could one day provide the necessary tensile strength to build an Earth-based space elevator.
    • Michael Laine, founder and CEO of Liftport Group, which aims to build a Moon-based elevator, and his girlfriend Gwen, who organizes a seminar series and coaches artists on how to commercialize their work. They arrived as we were eating dinner and stayed after everyone else had left.

What happened

3:00 - Food preparation as guests trickled in, including spiral-sliced apples representing the Upward Spiral of Life.

SESolsticeApple1.jpg SESolsticeApple2.jpg

3:30 - Introduction, including a series of short videos explaining and celebrating the Space Elevator concept.

4:00 - Started building our climbers in Redmond and Gatineau. Shelley, Sequoia, and Ren provided the passenger compartment, while the rest of us worked on how to set up the motor, battery pack, and wheels clamped to the ribbon. Lion's contribution was a brief attempt at building a base station for the climber to lift off from, but he had to leave early.

BuildingTheClimber.jpg

5:30 - Climber complete, first indoor test.

IndoorClimberTest.jpg

5:45 - Outdoor test, climbing 5 meters from the ground to a railing on the landing of a stairway between the second and third floors.

OutdoorClimbSetup.jpg

The climber had a brief jam the first time we turned on the motor, but the second attempt was a complete success!

6:15 - We took some group photos, including this one taken by Rodrigo using Shelley's camera. Top row: Bryan, Augusto, Ben, Brandon, Dozie; bottom row: Shelley, Sequoia, Ren.

SESolsticeGroupPhoto.jpg

6:30 - Ben performed the Viventibus Galaxia service.

SESolsticeGalaxyPlate.jpg

6:45 - The book-club people headed out; the rest of us walked to Flying Saucer Pizza for dinner.

8:00 - After Michael and Gwen joined us for dinner, we headed back to Ben's place for another demonstration of our climber.

8:30 - Ben performed the service again for Michael and Gwen, then chatted with them about Liftport and SolSeed's outreach strategy.

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