After several years of intense work by many people, ISEC is proud to announce the publication of “Space Elevators – A History”!
The vision of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is to have a world with inexpensive, safe, routine, and efficient access to space for the benefit of all mankind. As its name suggests, one of the principle elements of the ISEC action plan is to promote the development, construction and operation of a space elevator infrastructure as a revolutionary and efficacious way of getting into space.
ISEC is made up of organizations and individuals from around the world who share this vision of mankind in space. In their desire to record the progress of space elevator thinking over time, a number of these individuals formed the ISEC History Committee under the chairmanship of Dr Peter Swan. Their ideas and discussions have culminated into two main activities: one, oral interviews with major players, past and present, in space elevator research and development; and two, this book which attempts to document the history of the space elevator concept. The initial idea for the book emanated from Nicholas Martin in May 2014 who proposed many of the chapters and topics to be covered and these were then augmented by others in the History Committee.
Under the general editorship of Dr David Raitt, the work is a combined effort of several individuals including Dr Peter Swan (5, 6, 7, 9, 10, B), Dr David Raitt (all), Mark Dodrill (5, C), Nicholas Martin (1, 2), Evan Smith (4), and Ted Semon (7). The numbers and letters in parentheses after the names indicate the chapters and appendices for which they were largely responsible or a significant contributor.
The book is laid out in chapters close to chronological. The major topics are separated out such that the reader can look at the history is stages. This means that there is some degree of overlap between the chapters, which are thus largely self-standing. The three phases of the space elevator fall into the following categories (with chapters identified for clarification): Dreamers and Creators (Chapters 1 and 2); Modern Era Initiation (Chapters 4-8); and the Move towards Development (Chapters 9 and 10). These chapters are briefly outlined in the Introduction. The book is completed with a number of Appendices covering brief contributor biographies, a space elevator chronology, and selected summaries from the oral interview transcripts. [Additional transcript summaries, as well as a bibliography of references to space elevators, can be found on the ISEC website (www.isec.org).]
History is, of course, usually considered ‘old’, but, in fact, history is really anything before today! Hence a number of rather more recent developments, publications and events are included in the various chapters in the book. Although parts of the text herein were contributed by some who were not so involved in the formative years of the space elevator, efforts have been made to expand the material in an attempt to make it as complete and accurate as possible. This book should be considered as essentially a first edition and it is anticipated to bring out further updated issues as additional material becomes available, information is augmented or corrected, and more people are forthcoming with their own involvement in the concept of space elevators which will add to this book’s historical richness. Please send insights and input to email@example.com.
David Raitt 1 March 2017
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