space elevator 2.jpgIn last week’s Tech Notebook (scroll down), we mentioned that there would be an early demonstration of a so-called Space Elevator on Oct. 21 at Moffett Field.

Here we make a clarification.

In fact, it is a Space Elevator “competition” run by the Spaceward Foundation, a non-profit group with prize money furnished by NASA.

Competitors must build the best possible elevator prototype for the Space Elevator. The race track, or the tether along which the elevator must go up, is a crane-suspended vertical ribbon. The climbers are rated on the basis of speed and amount of payload they take with them in the elevator. More information can be found at www.Spaceward.org.

Teams from universities and industry around the country are entered in the competition.

It is not closed to the public, but they are not advertising it broadly because they have limited facilities. So show up early.

Anyway, this is a bit different from the secretive demonstration of a Space Elevator project we’d been told about by the Foresight Nanotech Institute, also mentioned here. That project apparently is still happening, Foresight tells us. It is on the same day (bizarre coincidence, we agree) but its location is still secret, they say. That project is the one led by Liftport and the Federal Aviation Administration. Nothing against Foresight, but this is so quiet and strange that we will be cautious and categorize it as a rumor for now, as we haven’t confirmed it with anyone else.