Technion aims high with ‘Space Elevator’ contest

Yuri Artsutanov, the Leningrad engineer behind the idea, coming to judge Technobrain competition in Israel.

Space Elevator illustration. (

Space Elevator illustration. (

This year’s challenge at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology’s 12th annual Technobrain competition is to build a “space elevator” — a device capable of climbing in a nearly vertical manner (at an 80 degree angle to the ground), to a height of 25 meters.

Yuri Artsutanov, the Russian engineer who developed the concept of the “space elevator,” will be the guest of honor and one of the judges in the June 18 contest.

The challenge requires contestants to also slide down from this height while lifting a “space elevator” carrying practical cargo from the other side of the pulley (the position of the pulley will signify the location of the Space Station in space, while the mission course will emulate the movement of the space elevator).

Contestants will not be allowed to use energy sources of combustion or open flame of any kind.

Among the competitors this year are three father-and-son teams of Technion graduates (fathers) and students (sons).

Winners will be awarded $1,440 and $865 cash prizes.

The concept of the “space elevator” first appeared in 1895 when a Russian scientist by the name of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky thought of a tower that could reach all the way into space. In 1957, Artsutanov drew up a more feasible plan for building such a space tower. He proposed using a geostationary satellite as a base from which to build it. He suggested lowering a cable toward Earth while a counterweight was extended from Earth, keeping the cable’s center of gravity at the geosynchronous point. Artsutanov published his ideas in 1960.

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.
  • Paul_S_1

    This is so cool!!

  • Calvin Brown

    For one space elevator would have to have a platform that would match the speed of the earth at the top. The drag would have negative results on the earths rotation. the tether has to be retractable. Plus the weather (wind rain snow tornadoes hurricanes earth quakes). That is a project! You could use a tether that uses electromagnetics like the trains us in Disney World that would propel the bus to the station but with a flat flexable cabel that can be rolled up on the top platform that is interlocking to make the tether rigid enough.have mini solar engines on the tether to guide the blasted thing down. the main power could come from the electrical grid once connected to the ground. The top platform could use solar-hydrogen engine for power.

    just a quick thought.

  • Calvin Brown

    Space elevator. Have a platform 100 miles or so in the sky that has a geocentrical orbit with earth. An elctromagnetic drive system with a flat spool that can be unspooled from the top platform to earth that has interlocking pannels that will make a more rigid tether. The tether would be of good size but in space mass matters not weight. So the tether would have to be made from a graphite compound. To guide the tether from space use solar electrical thursters on the sides. The tether could use gravity to help come down but a lot of power to retract would have to be possible. Then have a bus that is on the ground station and main power and have 2 types of speeds. One for cargo very fast and one for personal that goes a bit slower. The station on the top can recharge from the base system when connected if the hybrid solar-hydrogen-thorium system needs to be replenished. Just a thought.