• Pete Swan and Alan Boyle at 2014 Space Elevator Conference

    ISEC President Dr. Peter Swan (L) talks to NBC columnist Alan Boyle about the future of the Space Elevator during the 2014 Space Elevator Conference

  • Climber Finalists at 2014 Space Elevator Conference

    Climbers on the ribbon, ready for the Robotics Competition Finals during the 2014 Space Elevator Conference

  • Shuichi Ohno at 2014 Space Elevator Conference

    Shuichi Ohno, president of the Japan Space Elevator Association, with a Climber they designed for the joint NASA-JAXA exhibition in Japan.  He brought this to display at the 2014 Space Elevator Conference.

  • Speech Contest Winners at 2014 Space Elevator Conference

    Elevator Speech contest winners Lana and Campbell Gorlinski standing in front of some of the attendees of the 2014 Space Elevator Conference

  • Skip Penny at 2014 Space Elevator Conference

    Robert "Skip" Penny, giving a status update of the Space Elevator Concept of Operations Report at the 2014 Space Elevator Conference

  • Climber contestants at 2014 Space Elevator Conference

    Contestants working on their Climbers at the Robotics Competition during the 2014 Space Elevator Conference

  • Leonard David at 2014 Space Elevator Conference

    Science Author Leonard David delivering the Keynote Address at the 2014 Space Elevator Conference

On-time Lift-off

When I teach space systems engineering, early in the class, I always ask:  Has any launch from America's spaceports ever launched on time?  If one were to say that the launch team scheduled a launch 4 months prior for 2 O'clock on Tuesday the xth day of month y, the answer is not only NO, but a resounding NO.  This is not bad as the principal purpose of a launch is SAFE delivery to orbit.  The American process is to Launch when Ready, not on-time.  Other countries have other launch practices, but America's approach is Launch when Ready.  Multiple launches have been delayed over six months - until ready. This lesson is one learned from years of difficulty.  Expensive satellite launches demand successful delivery to orbit.

When you go to a train station, what are your expectations?  Of course, on-time is the watchword for train schedules.  Most of the time, airlines make departures close to their expected times.  Bus schedules are almost always on time.  So why is access to space any different.  It is just a delivery system to a user location.

One of the underappreciated aspects of projected space elevator operations is the capability to launch on time.  The current concept of the Initial Operational Capability in the time frame of 2038 is one launch at dawn each day.  As this is just an elevator trip to space, launch on time is the watchword for this type of access.  One launch per day per space elevator each day.  This would be routine access to space as well as low cost.  These two traits tied with the concept of 14 metric tons of payload for each space elevator each day will change our understanding of space access.  This transportation infrastructure will change the world and open up our solar system for humanity.

Dr. Peter Swan, President - ISEC

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Site Search

ISEC Study Reports

Direct links to all ISEC generated Study Reports can be found below.

More detailed page is: ISEC Space Elevator Reports for Download

2016 - Design Considerations for the Space Elevator: GEO Node, Apex Anchor and a Communications Architecture

This report will be available from the ISEC web site, ISEC store, or directly from the publisher, Lulu.com [after publication in March 2017].

2015 ISEC Space Elevator Earth Port

2014 ISEC Space Elevator Architecture and Roadmap

2013 ISEC Design Considerations for Space Elevator Tether Climbers

2012 ISEC Space Elevator Concept of Operations

2010 ISEC Space Debris Final Report

CLIMB - The Space Elevator Journal

Download .pdf copies of the CLIMB, the Space Elevator Journal:









Via Ad Astra Magazine

Download .pdf copies of the Via Ad Astra magazine:









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Space Elevator Research

There is a lot of activity in Space Elevator Research:

Space Elevator Research Workshop

ISEC Research Committee

Updated Space Elevator Publications on NSS.org!

 Studies: Chair – Dennis Wright 

 2010    Space Debris: Skip Penny, Peter Swan, Cathy Swan

 2011    Search for 30 MYuri:  Bryan Laubscher

 2012    Ops Concept: Skip Penny, Peter Swan, Cathy Swan

 2013    Tether Climbers:  Peter Swan, Skip Penny, Peter Glaskowsky, John Knapman, Cathy Swan

 2014    Architectures:  Fitzer Fitzgerald, Skip Penny, Cathy Swan, Peter Swan

 2015    Earth Port:     Vern Hall, Skip Penny, Sandee Schaeffer, Peter Glaskowsky

 2016    GEO/AA/Comm’s:     Paul Phister, Fitzer Fitzgerald, Vern Hall, Skip Penny, Peter Swan, Peter Glaskowsky, Ron Cole, David Ackerman, Chris Malek

 2017    Design Considerations for Space Elevator Simulation


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