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University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team Takes First Place in 2007 Space Elevator Games

October 25, 2007

University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team Takes First Place in 2007 Space Elevator Games

The University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team (USST) has received its third first-place finish in as many years in the prestigious Elevator:2010 competition, this year held October 19-21 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The competition provides a forum to showcase technologies that could one day transport people and payloads into space without the use of rockets.

The USST's technology focused on what the team describes as "the world's most powerful non-military beaming device" to send a robotic climber up a carbon-fibre tether that was anchored to the ground and suspended by a crane. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration restricted air-space over the competition site when the USST powered up their laser beam, capable of reaching targets 250 km away.

"This is a breakthrough," said Ben Sheles, CEO of the non-profit Spaceward Foundation, a competition sponsor, when speaking about the USST performance during an interview with the Deseret Morning News. "Nobody in the history of NASA ever transferred that much power using laser. I'm very happy with the level of technology demonstrated. This one is very, very impressive."

Although the results are not yet official, the USST climber appears to have been slightly short of the competition's time restriction and therefore not eligible for the $500,000 top prize. In total, 22 teams from around the globe were slated to participate in this year's space elevator competition, and the USST was one of only two teams whose climber reached the top of the tether.

The USST has been invited to speak about their technology at an upcoming European aerospace conference, and is already setting their sights on the 2008 space elevator competition.

Located in the heart of Saskatoon, the University of Saskatchewan is one of the leading medical doctoral universities in Canada. With 58 degrees, diplomas and certificates in over 100 areas of study, the University is uniquely positioned in the areas of human, animal and plant studies. World-class research facilities, renowned faculty and award winning students make the U of S a leader in post-secondary education.


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Patty Martin
Community and Media Relations Specialist
University Communications
University of Saskatchewan
Telephone (306) 966-6919

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