Heya #SpaceElevator Supporters
1) Colombia/Tacoma Robot Meeting – Unfortunately, the meeting scheduled for last week had to be postponed. Once I know when it’s rescheduled, I’ll let you know. Again, for those that would like to be involved with this, I’m grateful.
2) Sent Planetary Bracelets – Signed. Sealed. Delivered. For those of you that ordered JUST the $9 Friendship Bracelets, who specifically wanted the Planetary design: they shipped this afternoon. If you ordered the Necklace & Bracelet or the Complete Set, those bracelets will ship over the weekend. I appreciate your patience and hope that you enjoy wearing them. Please post a picture to your social media, with the hashtag #SpaceElevator and let us know what you think!
3) Documentaries Update – Skyline 's Kickstarter campaign closed a couple days ago; over the threshold. And Shoot the Moon closes in just 12 hours (at 94%, they could still use your help!). So it looks like there will be TWO Space Elevator documentaries at screenings next year. I think that’s pretty amazing! For all of you that supported these two projects, thanks! I think it is very important to the overall goal of humanity going amongst the stars that these stories be told.
4) University Research Partnership Update – Again, I've had two more meetings with this University this week, and I've got two more already on the books for next week. However, nothing of substance has actually happened. It’s a slow process, but one that is proceeding how I expect. As soon as this is official, and there is a legitimate partnership, I’ll let you know. Additionally, because of this conversation, another school has contacted me. I’ve a meeting with them (the first) on Friday.
5) #RobotNeil Development – Not much to report here. Still struggling with the balance between: motor power & speed, battery power & life, wheel size & traction surfaces & coefficient of friction for the string. It’s quite frustrating.
6) New Video – I am so impressed and happy with the Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland! Take a look at this video they developed for us. I’ll write a complete update about this tomorrow; it’s a long story. Special thanks to the professors, students and the folks on my team that orchestrated this! It’s not complete yet, there’s still some edits and tweaks to be made. But I love it, and wanted to share!
Take care, mjl
Michael Laine, President, LiftPort Group
Wow! It’s only Tuesday evening, and it already seems like a packed-full week! (with much more on the agenda for the rest of the week/weekend).
1) Documentaries KS Update – Again, there’s TWO KS campaigns running that are supporting the Space Elevator story! The first is Skyline – at 91% with just 42 hours to go! And the other is Shoot the Moon – at 52% and eight days left. Both of these are worthy projects; both teams have been to my offices, my home and interviewed members of my team and members of my technical advisory board. Yet, despite their similarities, each is telling a unique story. Skyline is focused on the long-term goal of building Earth’s Elevator to space, and Shoot the Moon is concentrating on LiftPort’s near-term Lunar Elevator. Please consider supporting them. I have backed both! (At the very least, watch their pitch videos; that will give you the flavor of what they want to accomplish. And Ben’s team recently updated their pitch – so it’s well worth watching again!)
2) Reddit AMA & Google Hangout -- At Ben, Mahad, and Alexis’s (from Shoot the Moon) request, I’m doing another Google Hangout with them on Thursday morning. And, for the first time ever, I’ll be doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything tomorrow morning! Details for both are linked. (And if anyone is sensing a bias here, there isn’t one. I’d have happily worked more with Skyline, but they marketed differently, and didn’t ask me to work with their media efforts. Remember – both these teams are 100% independent of LiftPort Group.)
3) ColOmbia Robotics Team -- Thank you! I really appreciate the support we’ve gotten from our friends in Latin America. Folks have contacted me from Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, and Panama. There’s about 15 of you, so far, and we’d eagerly be interested in more. There’s plenty to be done, and it’s not all ‘robotics’. Communications, marketing, ‘story telling’, operations and management would all be welcome. And as for my mistake in spelling, I apologize. I have lived near the Columbia River, in Washington State, for several years, and made the mistake of assuming they were spelled the same way. But in a strange way, this little error showcases exactly why this project has not had much success is crossing cultural and language barriers. Please excuse my error, and help me bring this program to the world by assisting our team. We'll meet with the local team on Thursday evening and begin working.
4) Major US School Meeting -- I can’t go into details, because nothing is finalized. But I wanted to share an important update that I hope will lead to many exciting developments in the future. As some of you know, when LiftPort 1.0 was active, we had about 60 universities participating in the project. When the company collapsed, those relationships were stagnant and eventually died. Well, I’ve had two meetings so far, and it looks like one of those programs is about to formally rise like a phoenix, and restart. This is very very important! Keep your fingers crossed. (Currently, we only have one school actively involved. I’ll highlight that schools accomplishments in a few days.) Adding a second program makes it MUCH easier for other schools, professors and students to get involved.
5) Business of the LiftPort Group -- As has always been the case, the business of LiftPort Group is the development of other businesses; companies that use the intellectual property we create on our mission to build #SpaceElevators. We’ve been having a lot of success on that front lately, and we have TWO spin-off corporations that will take flight in the spring. Watch for updates on our new alloy, and on our robotics technology. This week was a very good week for both new companies.
6) Friendship (Planetary) Bracelets -- Finally, the Planetary Bracelets are done. All the beads are complete, all the labels and other goodies are finished, and this level of the KS rewards will be finished this weekend. Thank you for your patience over the fiasco that was my life, last year. Now that my family is healthy again, things are getting done!
7) Toastmasters Win -- It’s minor, but tonight I won a speaking completion with my local toastmasters club. Because of my position as the spokesman for this project, I’ve decided that I needed to be a better public speaker. So a few weeks ago I joined, and tonight, I won. That was nice validation that I’m on the right path. (And another small victory in my decision to move my home and office.)
8) Let’s Play Café Opening -- Last but not least, my best friend, David – whom I have known since Fall 1982 – is opening a video game arcade! If you’re in the Seattle region, or want game supplies, come to his shop or visit his site. Why am I promoting this to the Kickstarter community? Because he has built 19 of the 20 LiftPort robots, and this project would not be where it is, without his loyal and faithful effort. He – single-handedly – kept this project afloat during the dark-days when LiftPort 1.0 was out of business. More soon!
Take care, Michael Laine, President, LiftPort Group
Something really different, really helpful, and potentially important was started Tuesday evening.
Several months ago, I moved. My mom, and my step-father were as healthy as they were going to get, and I finally felt like I could leave them on their own, again. I set up shop in Tacoma, WA. I felt it was reasonably close to both of my folks, and to Seattle, Vancouver and Portland – where my team is.
Naturally, my landlord looked into me, my background, and our project, before renting to me. Turns out, her brother is very interested in what we’re doing. Over time, he’s become more and more curious, and Tuesday, he decide to get involved. Normally, this is no big deal, folks join the team all the time. But this was different.
1) He’s Columbian. His English is terrible – he only moved to this country three months ago – and my Spanish was worse. He brought his daughter to the meeting, to translate for us. Turns out, he’s a mechanical engineer, interested in robotics, with a background in mining and large-scale food (ice cream!) manufacturing. He’s semi-retired after selling his business, and was looking for something interesting to do.
2) This project has been primarily an “English-language” project. By that, I mean that it is run by Americans, Canadians, Australians and folks from Great Britain. Of course, there are lots and lots and lots of folks from different locations (Japan, Europe, India etc.,) – but the core that links us is that we all use English.
3) What made this different was Jorge’s interest in taking this project – specifically the Lunar rovers – back to Columbia, and to the rest of Latin America. He wants to begin working with universities and government programs to develop the specialty skills needed to design, build, and test Lunar rovers that can scan, dig, transport and cooperate with each other.
I have no idea where this might lead… nowhere… or somewhere vitally important?
But I figured I’d turn to you, and ask if any of you have an interest in helping? Are you a native Spanish (or Portuguese!) speaker? Are you willing to help translate documents? Brainstorm? Open doors?
The rovers, anchor station, spike and other equipment that will operate on the lunar surface is a very poorly understood element of this project. In a very real sense, this is a brand-new sub-element of the overall program. These rovers that my friends from Columbia will begin developing will be extraordinarily challenging. If you’d like to help, send me a message, and I will forward it along to Jorge.
This new team is in its infancy, so let’s incubate it, and help it to grow.
I’m personally very excited by this. I have been ranting for several years about how our team is “old white guys”; that we needed to diversity if we were going to succeed in moving humanity to the stars.
This is, perhaps, the smallest first step.
Take care, mjl
Unexpectedly, the folks running the “Shoot the Moon” #SpaceElevator documentary have asked me to do a Google Hangout with them in about an hour, 5pm Pacific. I’d love to have you participate. If you can’t make it, I am pretty sure it will be recorded so you can watch it later.
Here’s the link: https://plus.google.com/events/cb9bb5qluce05fetvnmbd6beq54?enfplm
Take care, mjl
p.s. After getting this set-up today, I now feel pretty confident with the Hangout tool. I'm going to use this with all our backers. I'll post details on how that will work tomorrow.