Feeds

NASA hands over $900K for Laser propulsion system

$1.1m still unclaimed

High performance access to file storage

LaserMotive has scooped a $900,000 prize from NASA for demonstration of an elevator powered from a ground-based laser.

LaserMotive's climber crawled up 1km of rope held in place by helicopter, achieving an average speed of four metres per second and powered by a laser focused onto solar panels on the back of the climber. That gained the company $900,000 from the Power Beaming Challenge being run by the Spacewards Foundation for NASA.

Three teams entered the competition, with the Kansas City Space Pirates coming second having nearly gained the top of the vertical track. The Pirates were let down by their lightweight climber which lacked rigidity, but the official coverage at Space Elevator Games reports the design is sound, and could deliver more power than LaserMotive's if they can get it working.

The third team, from the University of Saskatchewan, had technical problems and didn't get to compete on the day.

No one managed the five metres per second necessary to win the remaining prize fund of $1.1m this time, but the games will continue.

All this is intended to discover whether or not a space elevator is possible: not having to carry fuel would reduce the weight of such an elevator considerably, even if batteries had to be used for part of the journey, but practical applications are still a very long way off and for the moment it's just a matter of seeing what can be done. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.