Hello LV8R people!
Working backwards, it was a quiet weekend.
I felt like I was chained to my desk; even though it was a sunny, warm weekend, I was sitting in front of my computer – typing. We have four NASA proposals all due within the next three weeks. This is a very frustrating experience; but a necessary one. You see, NASA has not awarded research funds for any sort of Elevator work in several years. They allocated $2M to the Centennial Challenges program (of which only $900k was claimed) between 2003-2009. And there’s been limited funds available through various non-NASA sources for tether-related space research.
But now, all of a sudden, there are four proposals that we are reasonably qualified for. And all four are due around the same time… so I’m chained to my desk. Typing. Because we were out of business for so long, I have limited hope for these proposals. But we have to try.
Earlier in the week, it was a lot more interesting.
Friday, I spent ~2 hours (using a G+ Hangout) with students at Clark Community College. These are first and second year engineering, computer and robotics students (mostly). We talked about our current #RobotNeil, and the history, lessons learned and future of Space Elevator robotics. It was a lot of fun, and they asked good questions.
This is probably the 250th time I’ve done something like this. I try to go to campus as often as I can, but sometimes that just isn’t feasible. So if any of ya’ll have a school/university or community group you’d like me to chat with, let me know. The more people involved with this project, the more likely it is to succeed! I’ve always really liked talking to students; I think this is really important. And if typing is my least favorite part of this job, then talking to kids (8th graders) is my all-time favorite! During the LiftPort 1.0 days, this was our primary method of recruiting people to this project. For example, a student would want to write a paper about our Elevator, and they’d broach it to the professor… the professor would be skeptical… the student would turn in a great paper… then the professor would invite me to campus and present the project to the whole class. This is how the US. Air Force Academy became our first research partner, and this is how we currently have a Captain supporting (risking his career for!) our program.
Thursday was also a good day. We’re planning a public event once #RobotNeil climbs into the sky! We’d like folks to come out and share the victory/defeat with us. To do that, I took Thursday to scout locations in the Seattle area. I found one that I really like – with killer hamburgers! – but it was pretty small (50 people) so I am hoping we have a larger community. The place we picked seats 100-150 pretty easily; and they have a much wider (vegan/gluten-free) selection. We’ll be working with a local Seattle STEM outreach group to help coordinate this and that group will charge a $10 cover. I’ll bring a museums’ worth of robots, string, and other Space Elevator artifacts, video, images and many of our ‘Expert Advisors’ to chat with.
Show of hands: How many would come to an event like this? I’ll formalize this as the date gets closer. Look for a link to Eventbrite for tickets.
Weds/Tues/Mon were just about basic administration. (Except for one part… I’m working on something which I had to sign a NonDisclosure Agreement. If it ever comes to fruition, you’ll like it, and I’ll notify everyone.) We’re still working on the Friendship bracelets. The knot comes loose on the Fibonacci and the “earth” bead cracks on the Planetary. So we’ve got some minor upgrades to do. Thursday, we’ll be braiding a LOT of the Fibonacci’s. The survey came back as 74/26% Fibonacci to Planetary. Several of you asked for ‘blue’ to replace the ‘red’ threads on the Fibonacci, so, ya, we’ll do that.
Take care, Mjl
p.s. Here’s a picture from our Earth Elevator archives, from back in the LiftPort 1.0 days… Just about everything is wrong about this image – including the fact that the Elevator starts somewhere around New Jersey. The artist that did this, coincidentally, also lives in Jersey...
Tomorrow I’ll share some of our new technical drawings.