June 1, 2009

NASA plans 2009 Power-Beaming Challenge

The U.S. space agency says it is making the final preparations for its 2009 Power Beaming Challenge, part of the fourth annual Space Elevator Games.

The event, part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Centennial Challenges Program, will be held at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., July 14.

The first competition required teams to ascend a 50-meter tether at an average speed of 1 meter per second with power provided by ordinary spotlights. This year, to be eligible for the $2 million prize, competitors will be required to race their laser-powered vehicles up a 1-kilometer vertical steel cable at an average speed of 5 meters per second.

The space elevator is a proposed fixed structure extending from the surface of the Earth at or near the equator into a geostationary orbit, Wikipedia said.

NASA said its Centennial Challenges promote technical innovation through a program of prize competitions, all designed to tap the nation's ingenuity to make revolutionary advances in technology of value to NASA and the nation.

The Spaceward Foundation, which sponsors the Elevator Games, is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering space science and technology in education.

More information about the challenge is available at http://www.spaceelevatorgames.org.