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Welcome to the

June 2021 Edition

of the ISEC Newsletter


In this Issue:

Editor’s Note

President’s Corner

Architecture Note

Tether Materials

NSS Space Forum

Upcoming Events

Contact Us/Support Us



President's Corner

by Pete Swan

Know our Customers


The future of space elevators will depend upon having viable and vocal customers. It turns out no one else can:

1) Claim massive movement to GEO and Beyond at the level of 30,000 tonnes per year (our initial operational loading for 3 Galactic Harbours – say 2040)

2) Provide a truly Green Road to Space, as a permanent space access infrastructure, by raising all our cargo with electricity and reusable components

3) Enable a huge delivery percentage of mass on the pad > 70% of liftoff mass reaches GEO

In addition, we can begin the engineering validation phase of development. We must start cultivating our customers of the future. The most prominent customer at this time is the Space Solar Power community. The concept of providing electricity from GEO enabling the closing of 1,000s of coal planets has been shown to “stop global warming.” (Mankins quote). As such, the Earth’s health needs a method to deliver 3,500,000 tonnes to GEO, initially, to satisfy the future needs around the globe for electricity (12% of need by 2060). The good news is that the environmental community is coming out strongly saying that we must meet the Paris Accords and must cut back on the demand for electricity. The SSP program has shown that they can achieve the needed electricity if it could raise 3,500,000 tonnes to GEO in a reasonable period of time. At 20 tonnes to GEO per launch, the timeframe seems undoable with rockets. Therefore, the development of space elevators is imperative for this mission to be successful and to help lower (and perhaps stop) the increase in temperature around the globe. See the latest ISEC study report Space Elevators are the Green Road to Space on our website: Studies — International Space Elevator Consortium (isec.org).

This is just one of many customers who need the massive movement of cargo to their desired locations to be successful. There are several out there today with dreams, visions, and action plans leading to customer demands of huge proportions. Our potential customers include:

  • SpaceX Mars Colony (1,000,000 tonnes to Mars surface)
  • Space Solar Power (3,500,000 tonnes to GEO)
  • NSS L-5 Colony (10,500,000 tonnes to L-5 orbital location)
  • Lunar Village (500,000 tonnes to surface of Moon – my estimate)

As such, we need to recognize their needs (massive cargo to high altitude), work with them, and then figure out how to provide support as we become operational. The ability to lift up and deliver 70% of the mass at liftoff will ensure that our customers support us. It is our responsibility to work with them and demonstrate to them that we are ready to proceed and that we will be there for them in the near future (2037). One of the first steps is to understand their needs and develop a relationship with them. As such, please review the below mentioned video on youtube to help you understand Space Solar Power’s impact on the future of our planet and its climate. I believe this mission will be one of the first to recognize the strengths of space elevators and perhaps even support our development (verbally as well as financially).

This video spot by the National Space Society (NSS) explains the benefit of clean and unlimited space-based solar power to our planet.

Dear Earth: We're Sorry for What We've Done to You... — full version - YouTube

It even won a “Telly” award in the category of “Best of Social Media.”

National Space Society Wins Silver Telly Award for “Dear Earth” Video Campaign on Space Solar Power|National Space Society

Keep Climbing--and Dreaming!



Architecture Note #38

by Michael A. Fitzgerald

Senior Exec VP and Co-Founder

Galactic Harbour Associates, Inc

Space Elevator Transportation & Enterprise Systems


The Galactic Harbour--Are We There, Yet?

It has been a long journey, and we have arrived


Personal Prolog

This is an Architecture Note. It is the opinion of the Chief Architect. It represents an effort to document ongoing science and engineering discussions. It is one of many to be published over time. Most importantly, it is a sincere effort to be the diary, or the chronicle, of the multitude of our technical considerations as we progress; along the pathway developing the Space Elevator.

Michael A. Fitzgerald


Is the Galactic Harbour ready for engineering development?

The notion of a Space Infrastructure has been getting some good illumination lately. Space in general is now fully recognized as the essential venue for economic, environmental, and diplomatic progress in the 21st Century. But it is no longer just an important initiative. It is mandatory, and even urgent. We, who know, are burdened by this; it is our unique version of “noblesse oblige” (look it up 😉). The burden is to build it, and protect it; and to do so now! It is not a Commercial Space thing, or Civil Space thing, or a Space Force thing. It is a Humankind thing.


It is time for stronger justifications and publicly offered. From a technical perspective, it is time to offer some “motivations” beyond that voiced so far.


  1. The main elements of the Space Elevator based Infrastructure can be built, beginning now. Testing and design efforts must start, now.
  2. The Space Elevator Transportation System, the core element of the Infrastructure, will deliver cargo to space based enterprises, AND provide for daily dispatch of cargo craft to operational locations across the solar system. 30,000 tonnes of cargo delivered yearly. Daily flights dispatched across the solar system.
  3. The Space Elevator based Infrastructure will logistically support every major space mission of the 21st Century.
  4. Space Based Solar Power - enabled!
  5. The Moon Colony - fully supported
  6. Enterprises along the GEO belt – fully supported, and more
  7. The Space Elevator based Infrastructure, will eliminate the planet’s major environmental issues.
  8. The Space Elevator Institute (SEI) will continue to provide studied guidance for further engineering enhancements to the Space Infrastructure: Studies to improve flight missions departing from the Space Elevator’s Apex, citations to enhance the overall environmental “greenness” of the Infrastructure, and “Imagineering” solutions for destinations and purposes not yet found.
  9. Amplifying the Infrastructure engineering development and the Space Elevator Institute research are the people involved. This adventure foresees a strong connection between success and the individuals that contribute. This connection must be actively strengthened. The individuals must be educated & trained beyond the current state. This workforce and educational development cannot be underplayed. Too much education and too may technical may not be enough.
  10. The immensity of this project is clear. The importance of the project is becoming clear. The United States Space Force must stand strong as the protector of the pathways of space. The first “bus schedules” along a variety of transpiration routes for the nearby solar system have already been calculated. These routes must be protected.
  11. Some worry about the ultimate cost of such protection because the envisioned infrastructure pathways will reach across the entire solar system. That cost argument is the wrong view! Rather, we should comprehend the value and importance of the 21st Century Space Infrastructure and how it enables so much. Protection must reach across the expanse of Black Space – beyond the Apex and across the solar system.


In Closing,

We, the people, should move forward now. NOW!



Tether Materials

by Adrian Nixon


What would the tether look like?

Part 3: More evidence from a graphene heat spreader

You’ll recall I have been attempting to predict what a tether made from multilayer graphene will look like. I thought it will be silvery and mirror-like (see previous ISEC newsletter entries).[1, 2].

There is a difference of opinion because many academics and industrialists say it will be black, based on their observations of very early multilayer sheet graphene samples.

In my role as editor of the Nixene Journal I get to speak with all sorts of interesting people working in the field of graphene. This month I got a closer view of some new graphene in a meeting with Sixth Element (Changzhou) Co. Ltd. Sixth Element makes heat spreaders from graphene that are used in Huawei smartphones. This is a thin film of graphene that takes heat from the processor and cools the computer chips. The system has no moving parts and doesn’t need power to operate. This means the smartphone battery has the potential to last much longer.

These heat spreaders are made from reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanoplates (essentially a black graphene powder). The rGO is pressed tightly and heated, probably with calendering. This creates a very thin film of multilayer graphene nanoplates.

Think of this film as highly ordered flat pieces of graphene nanoplates all squished together. This is very similar to polycrystalline sheet graphene, except the nanoplate pieces are not joined by chemical bonds, they just overlap.


I took this photograph of a sample of the multilayer graphene heat spreader on plastic film, about 30 microns thick. The sample is about six centimetres wide and has a metallic, silvery appearance.



Multilayer graphene smartphone heat spreader on plastic film: Image Credit Adrian Nixon


The graphene powder looks black because the nanoplate alignment and voids between them scatter the light. Each atomic layer of graphene absorbs 2.3% of the light that passes through it [3]. Internal reflections within the loose powder absorb more and more of the light and this gives the appearance of a black material.




The pressed graphene film is more ordered than the loose powder and there are more multilayer graphene surfaces aligned in the same direction that reflect the light back. The light is reflected across the visible spectrum and this gives the silvery metallic appearance.

So, what does all this mean?

The pressed graphene heat spreader film is a good indicator for what a tether made from multilayer graphene would look like. A 30-micron thin film of pressed graphene will contain approximately 50,000 atomic layers of graphene as aligned nanoplates. A tether made from graphene will contain approximately 12,000 atomic layers of large-scale sheet single crystal graphene.

So, we can deduce that the graphene tether would have a similar silvery metallic appearance and because it is formed from flawless multilayer-single-crystal-large-scale-sheet-graphene (which I have modestly dubbed 'Nixene' in the absence of a better term) it would probably have a perfectly shiny mirror-like appearance.

The evidence is stacking up in favour of the hypothesis that the tether material, Nixene, would have a silvery mirror like appearance. We will keep a watch for the evidence both for and against this hypothesis and hopefully entertain you, dear reader in future articles.



[1] Nixon, A., 2021. ISEC Newsletter, January 2021 edition: What would a tether made from 2D materials look like?. [online] Isec.z2systems.com. Available at: https://isec.z2systems.com/np/clients/isec/viewOnlineEmail.jsp?emailId=430784fa4cb17313d31d969a651e9c804m718812430 > [Accessed 20 May 2021].

[2] Nixon, A., 2021. ISEC Newsletter, February 2021 edition: What Would the Tether Look Like? - Part 2: A Tale of Two Tethers. [online] Isec.z2systems.com. Available at: https://isec.z2systems.com/np/clients/isec/viewOnlineEmail.jsp?emailId=3abaaa0e9d10ee88977229c4df106c873m3288123ab  > [Accessed 20 May 2021].

[3] Bonaccorso, F., Sun, Z., Hasan, T. & Ferrari, A. C. 2010. Graphene photonics and optoelectronics. Nat. Photonics 4, 611–622.


Modern Day Space Elevator

at National Space Society’s Space Forum 20 May 2021


The National Space Society has a Thursday (every other one) Space Forum and they asked Dr. Pete Swan (our ISEC President) to speak. These Thursday night events cover a spectrum of space activities from the view of the National Space Society and its membership. The presentation by Pete Swan laid out the argument that:

1) Space Elevators are Achievable

2) Space Elevators will fulfill the dreams of many

3) They are the Green Road to Space

4) They will move massive amounts of cargo to GEO and beyond because they avoid the rocket equation

As the name implies, the “Modern Day Space Elevator 2021” has evolved from a dream to a scientific reality. We are now moving into the second phase of development (Engineering Testing). This change in maturity occurred as the limiting factor of the past has been overcome. The latest information on tether material is that Single Crystal Graphene (SCG), a new material with 2D characteristics, has been shown to be strong enough and can be manufactured long enough. SCG is in the early phase of segment development; but, it is very promising. Mr. Adrian Nixon, an ISEC Board member and a major player in the development of 2D materials, believes the material will “be ready in time for space elevator development.”

A key driver for Dr. Swan's interest in space elevators is his dream to enable the visions of Peter Glaser (space-based solar power) and Gerard O'Neill (CIS lunar space settlements) and further the NSS Vision of “People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.” His full presentation is on the following youtube location:

NSS Space Forum - A Modern Day Space Elevator - 2021 - With Dr. Peter Swan - YouTube


Upcoming Events


International Space Development Conference (ISDC)

Sponsored by The National Space Society

Thursday, June 24th through Sunday, June 27th

Latest:  24 thru 26 – short videos for all, free

27th, full day interactive with fee to attend



ISEC Webinar

Dual Space Access Architecture--Rockets and Space Elevators

Sponsored by the International Space Elevator Consortium

Presented by Dr. Pete Swan

Webinar : Dual Space Access Architecture--Rockets and Space Elevators — International Space Elevator Consortium (isec.org)

Saturday, July 17th


ISEC Members Only Webinar

Sponsored by the International Space Elevator Consortium

Topic: TBD

Presented by Dr. Dennis Wright

Saturday, August 14th

Member-only Webinar — International Space Elevator Consortium (isec.org)


72nd International Astronautical Congress

Sponsored by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF)


Monday, October 25th through Friday, October 29th, 2021

Dubai World Trade Center

Dubai, UAE


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