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Seattle team wins $900,000 for Space Elevator concept

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A Seattle team has won a $900,000 prize in a NASA-supported competition to develop the concept of a space elevator.

The winning team's robotic machine charged up nearly 3,000 feet of cable dangling from a helicopter.

Powered by a ground-based laser pointed up at the machine’s photo voltaic cells, which convert the light into electricity, the LaserMotive completed one of its ascents in just three minutes and 48 seconds – fast enough to secure the second place prize.

Despite the likelihood that commercial space flight (via Virgin Galactic, X-Cor, and Space-X) will become cheap, safe, and practical long before a 90,000-ft elevator could achieve the same, I still found this story interesting from an engineering standpoint. 3000 feet in 48 seconds is nuts. Any person who would wish to ride would need to train in a centrifuge unless we can train the liftman to administer Vulcan neck-pinches. Still, pretty impressive achievement.

Edited by Alexandros
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