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October 15, 2009

Alan Brown
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

2009 Space Elevator Power Beaming Contest Reset for Nov. 4

The Spaceward Foundation has rescheduled 2009 Space Elevator Power-Beaming Challenge Games for Nov. 4 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California.

Previously planned for July 14, the Space Elevator Challenge was postponed due to technical issues that were encountered during advance testing of the suspended cable system for the robotic climbers. Those problems have now been resolved by the Spaceward Foundation, allowing the new date for the competition to be set.

The competition will see up to four teams use laser-powered robots they designed and built to climb a 1-kilometer-long cable suspended vertically from a hovering helicopter.

The Space Elevator is a proposed space-access system that could transform access to space, replacing rockets with electrical vehicles that scale a stationary cable from Earth to space. Now in its fourth year, the Space Elevator Games competition has grown more sophisticated each year, although competitors have yet to win any prize money. This year, to be eligible for the $2 million prize, competitors will be required to race their laser-powered vehicles up the vertical steel cable at an average speed of five meters per second.

The Spaceward Foundation sponsors the Space Elevator Challenge with financial support from NASA's Centennial Challenges program, which promotes technical innovation through a novel program of prize competitions.

"Centennial Challenges explores high-risk, high-payoff ideas using technology prize competitions to encourage and reward innovation," said Andrew Petro, manager of NASA's Centennial Challenges program. "We're happy to see that the Power-Beaming Challenge has matured to its current level, and anticipate technology innovations in power beaming that may be useful for NASA's exploration missions and in other applications".

For more information about the Power Beaming Challenge, please visit:

For more information about Centennial Challenges, please visit:


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