Wired reports LaserMotive has won a prize in The Space Elevator Games. The company developed a laser-powered robot that managed to climb a kilometer long wire dangling from a helicopter in just over four minutes. With an average climbing rate of just over 2 meters per second the new climber from the LaserMotive group is twice as fast as the previous record holder.
The competition, part of The Space Elevator Games seeks to award prizes that are funded by NASA, as part of the Centennial Challenges, and The Spaceward Foundation, for the development of technologies needed to build a Space Elevator. The competition taking place this week is pitting prototype climber elements. Yesterday, the group LaserMotive, successfully ran a climber up 1 kilometer of test cable at an average rate of just over 2 meters per second, qualifying for the 2nd place prize of $900,000. The craft is powered by a stationary laser beaming the power to operate to the climber. There are two other teams competing, The Kansas City Space Pirates and The University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team, and there is still a first prize of $1.1 million out there for climbing the kilometer at an average rate of 5 meters per second.