Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Space Elevator Operator

A couple of years ago there was a student in my Mechanics class named Ivan Miloslavov.  He was that one in a thousand kind of student who had
1.  a knack for math and science,
2.  an interest in math and science, and also
3.  some particular skills - in his case, computer programming. 
This trifecta can produce some amazing things, and I want to share one of them with you.

During his time at College, we collaborated on an app called "Space Elevator Operator" (click here to try it...the link will also have a permanent home on my space elevator page).  I am really proud to have been involved with its creation for several reasons, but one of them is that I got to witness a young brilliant student putting his skills to work to produce something tangible and useful in the real world.

The app allows users to simulate placing payloads into Earth's orbit with a space elevator.  It serves two main purposes: 
-The app allows one to quickly demonstrate how a space elevator could work. 
- It is an educational tool that is useful for introductory physics students to learn about orbital mechanics.

One other thing this app does is give all of my students an idea of what is possible if they put their minds and efforts towards something.  The Space Elevator Operator app was shared at the 2016 Space Elevator Conference in Seattle this past month.  It was also recognized by ISEC (the International Space Elevator Consortium).

I wish Miloslavov much luck in his academic and professional future, and sincerely hopes he looks back at his experience on our little project with pride.