Tonight, we close out a 21 day Kickstarter campaign… You, our community, have pledged over $100,000 and we, the LiftPort Team, have committed to building robots that climb into the sky! During those 21 days, a hero of ours died.
Fifty years ago, today, the President of the United States, John Kennedy gave his famous “Moon speech” in front of 40000 students, professors, scientists, engineers and industry professionals.
He declared: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is the one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one which we intend to win…”
I’ve always admired Kennedy. Arguably, I believe he catalyzed two generations of spaceflight engineering; and through the technology pioneered through the Apollo programs (and beyond), he raised the global standard of living of every human being who has lived since.
I’ve always admired, too, Neil Armstrong. I wrote a bit about that, here.
So as we close out our campaign, I want to pay tribute to two amazing men that lived their values; whose legacy endures and inspires.
LiftPort Group – and all of its Kickstarter supporters – are going back to the Moon. We do this to honor our heroes. We do this because it brings out the best in us; in all of us.
Thanks to Our Community!
Words fail me.
I never dared to dream we’d get this level of support from you. Isn’t it funny? I have the self confidence to believe I and my team have the talent and ability to build an Elevator on the Moon; yet I was worried about an unsuccessful Kickstarter project!
I want to thank each and every one of you! LiftPort has risen from the ashes; and that only happened because each of you willed it into existence. Truly, words fail me. Actions speak louder, anyway… So let’s get to work!
There’s lots of talk these days about ‘crowdsourcing’; and I get it. But I’d like to alter that slightly and talk about ‘community sourcing’. Because you folks might have started out as an impersonal and disconnected and anonymous ‘crowd’, but over the past three weeks, I think you have connected into an amorphous community. I’m certain as we move to the next phase, that this connection will solidify!
So what have we achieved, as a community, already?
1) Well, the most obvious is that we hit the first threshold of $8000 in less than 72 hours! In the midst of the International Space Elevator Conference I got to announce that we’d hit our first goal!
2) When Neil Armstrong died, it was you folks that suggested that we name the experimental robot Neil, and the Moon-landing robot Armstrong!
3) In a mad-rush you tweeted, talked, messaged, phoned, wrote, passed notes in class and sent carrier-pigeons – and we raised ~$23,000 in the last 48 hours! We crushed our previous records in terms of pledges and new backers!
4) A mind-boggling 1049 of you pledged $8 each to become “Card Carrying Supporters”. Let that sink in a moment… This campaign’s original goal was to get just $8000… We could have hit our minimum target with just you folks! That amazes me. I secretly hoped for something like this – but I we doubtful. You proved me wrong; and I’m grateful for it.
5) Finally, the metric that the media cares about – money and backers. I’ve said all along that the number of supporters was the most important aspect of this campaign. I meant it then, and I mean it still. So through your efforts, we earned over $107,000 and over 3400 backers (and we’ve still got 2 hours to go, and Europe is waking up and checking their messages as I type this – so the numbers are still climbing!)
This is important.
We are announcing here, that every quarter until there is an Elevator climbing down to the Lunar surface, that LiftPort Group will host a conference! This will be open to the public and will cover the myriad of problems needed to build our beloved Lunar Space Elevator Infrastructure (LSEI or “Elsie”). It will be a gathering of our esteemed Board of Advisors as a technical conference. Expect lots of lively debate. As I’ve told my team countless times: “We don’t even have all the questions, yet, let alone have all the answers!”
1) January – San Francisco
2) April – Boston
3) July – Seattle
4) October – Europe (Considering Barcelona, Athens, Strasbourg or Reykjavik)
Since this is the last update on the active Kickstarter campaign, I just wanted you to know what to expect next. First, there will be a lot less updates clogging your inbox. We appreciate your tolerance over the past 3 weeks, but we just don’t need to continually bombard you anymore! So instead, we’ll take a more sedate path and send an update through Kickstarter about every 2-3 weeks. But don’t fret – if you want more frequent update, you’ll get them! You set the frequency and we’ll deliver. There will be activity happening every day, from all corners of the globe; we’ll have updates on the LiftPort blog, forum, photos, video channel, downloads and wikis! Please join us, and participate!
Let’s face it, with so many reward levels, I’d have to write a book here to update you on that. Instead, I’ll ask that you trust me a bit longer, and our team will send status reports to everyone, at every backer level. Expect that and the very-very important surveys by Monday the 17th.
So where do we go from here; and how can you stay involved with this community? First and foremost – if you haven’t already, please link to www.liftport.com and sign up as a member (the link is in the top right corner, a green button). Please participate in the forums – ask and answer questions. The moment the campaign ends, the website becomes a top priority. I’ll post hundreds of documents, and thousands of images. The website is the central repository for all things ‘Elevator’, so watch and help it grow!
Soon, in the late Fall or early Spring, we’ll launch the first stages of our video channel – watch for it. I think it will be terrific!
And finally, if you liked what we did with this campaign, and, once we’ve made some tangible progress; we’d like you to support other Kickstarter projects we’ve got in mind!
My final thanks go to my dedicated, talented, brilliant, amazing, tireless, enthusiastic, creative, cheerful (even when I’m yelling at them) team. Nothing – and I want to stress this – NOTHING would happen without the support of the folks behind me. I count myself lucky beyond measure.
Michael J. Laine
President, LiftPort Group
12 September 2012.
“LiftPort is a ‘…before this decade is out…’ Lunar Elevator Company!”