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Broadcast 1943 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on February 4th, 2013
Guest: Michael Laine
Guest: Michael Laine. Topics: Lunar space elevator updates. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. We welcomed back Michael Laine for LiftPort Group updates regarding the lunar space elevator. For more information, visit Michael started our two hour discussion talking about his very successful Kickstarter campaign last year. LiftPort started the campaign asking for $8,000 but raised $110,000! During this first segment, Michael talked about the plans to use the $110K, the experiments LiftPort would do and why additional funding was needed to advance the lunar space elevator project. I asked Michael lots of questions about the lunar space elevator market, his time table for transitioning away from being a Power Point project, & the LiftPort labor force. LiftPort is mostly volunteer labor. For now it is working on tether and balloon experiments. We talked extensively about using Kickstarter and even talked about the tax consequences for Kickstarter revenue. Michael did say that he thought the project would be a private project in that government would not be a major supporter, if at all. Michael then talked about his fact finding global missing seeking new financing and partners after the Kickstarter campaign. He had much to say about his visit to Iceland and the company CCI Games. When pressed, Michael suggested 8 years from last August to completion. Listen to the details supporting this timeline. Michael also outlined four areas needing resolve to move the lunar elevator project forward. In our second segment, Michael described more of the elevator project, including the use of EML1 and why & how the elevator ribbon would work, including its logistics from EML1 to the lunar surface and EML1 back toward Earth. He also talked about their lunar surface elevator contact point on Sinus Medii. A listener asked him about the Google Lunar XPrize & Michael told us how a GLXP mission could benefit the LiftPort project. Also in this segment, we talked about costs. Michael estimated about $800 million for a robotic mission and maybe up to $1.2 billion for three astronauts roughly every three weeks. He compared these costs to the cost of shuttle launches and flights to the ISS. When asked about lunar markets that might economically justify the lunar elevator, he talked about the potential of HE3 mining and new uses for the material here on Earth, plus lunar SSP and solar panel manufacturing. Alex asked Michael to be specific about the transitional steps from Power Point to the beginning of a systems engineering project to develop the elevator. Emory emailed in more questions about tether use, Tim called (sorry for phone line issues on Tim's call) regarding tethers and more. David Ben wanted to know about the Falcon Heavy and I expanded that to include SLS. A question came up about LiftPort's interest in a Mars space elevator. Our discussion concluded with Michael suggesting that Kickstarter & similar crowd source funding organizations will play a bigger & more important role in funding space ventures in the future. Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog. Michael can be reached at You can also subscribe to the LiftPort free newsletter from their website.

About our guest...

Michael Laine
Michael Laine, MBA, (Expected ‘13) – President, LiftPort Group Laine has been involved with Space Elevator research since the 2001 NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts study. Laine manages a talented and diverse team from academia, government, commercial and military communities. Laine helped in the creation of the NASA Centennial Challenges related to this idea, and years later, it was his former team-members (at LaserMotive) who won the competition. Laine’s team at LiftPort has created carbon nanotubes in a small lab, discovered and tested a new CNT+metal alloy, and built robots that have climbed a mile into the sky on Ribbons held aloft by large helium balloons. Laine’s business acumen and management, coupled with his media, marketing and outreach skills have transformed this project from an obscure NIAC paper study to a real world program with tangible results. Laine’s company, LiftPort Group, is experiencing a renaissance. It recently shifted gears to focus on a Lunar Space Elevator Infrastructure. Laine’s mandate to his team has three elements: 1) “Sputnik-like” simplicity – the minimum workable system possible. 2) Purchase Order Technology – if you can’t order the components, you can’t use it in the design specification. 3) Single Launch Solution – recognition that we are only going to get one shot at this. Echoing President Kennedy’s commitment, Laine and LiftPort believe we can create an Elevator on the Moon “…before this decade is out.” Laine is the President of the US Alumni Association for the International Space University, and on the boards of both the Leeward Space Foundation and Space Literacy Foundation.

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