Hawai'i State News

Makua Lani students on Big Island win international ‘space elevator’ academic challenge

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A member of Makua Lani Christian Academy’s aerospace team appears in the group’s winning space elevator presentation. Photo Courtesy: ISEC/YouTube

Four students belonging to the aerospace team at Makua Lani Christian Academy on the Big Island won first place in the International Space Elevator Consortium’s Academic Challenge.

High school students from around the world were challenged to design a mission incorporating either the ecological benefit or the use of AI in their space elevator mission. The four students – Anela Monell, Joshua Reid, Abigayle Byers and Alex Lim – received a $2,000 cash prize and were awarded a Certificate of Special Recognition by the governor of Hawai‘i.

Space elevators are a theoretical technology. They are space platforms that would exist in geostationary orbit. A space elevator platform is connected to Earth by a tether upon which an elevator could transport people and cargo to and from Earth. In order to remain in space, space elevators are often designed with counterweights to balance the downward gravitational pull of the tethers.


Another common solution is to place the platforms just beyond geostationary orbit for the same reason. The Makua Lani team, dubbed AeroSpace Meridian, presented a mission which argued that space elevators would do away with rockets and their fossil fuel pollution completely. The mission would include a test of mining technologies on near-Earth asteroids. The students envisioned the eventual mining of precious metals from main belt asteroids in the vicinity of Mars.

The International Space Elevator Consortium stated, “We are proud to announce the winners of the 2024 Academic Challenge with wonderful videos to explain their research and results.”

The Makua Lani team’s winning presentation may be viewed on YouTube here.


For more information about the International Space Elevator Consortium, which promotes space elevator technology “as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity,” visit isec.org.

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