I’m pleased to announce that DeltaX’s own Lauren Deflores has successfully defended her PhD!¬† Dr. Deflores is now off to JPL to work on the Mars exploration¬† program.

In addition to that we’ve got some exciting new materials under development and some new methods that look promising for the competition.

More to come!

A note on nanotube fiber strengths to set the record straight. There exist reports of high GPa nanotube fiber strengths floating around (we’ve spun out some high numbers before too), which is very exciting! These numbers, however, generally refer to gage length, which means the strength of a material over a distance which represents the average microfiber length in the macrofiber (short distances, < 1 mm). Not quite there with macroscopic fiber strengths yet (but we and others are working on it!).

But there’s hope! Nanotube fiber strengths in various research groups have been steadily doubling for a number of years–hopefully this trend will continue! Both our sponsor Nanocomp and Dr. Alan Windle’s group at the University of Cambridge are making some exciting materials by continuous-draw processes, and a number of other groups are working on some exciting other approaches such as spinning from nanotube forests grown on silicon wafers.

Hopefully this clears up any confusion generated by recent reports.

Ted Semon over at spaceelevatorblog.com tracked down a YouTube posting of the BBC “Visions of the Future” segment on the space elevator featuring DeltaX team members Stephen Steiner and John Hart.¬† Thanks Ted!

A few links from around the web mostly regarding Dr Windle’s work at the University of Cambridge:








news.bbc.co.uk (2)




2007 Strong Tether Challenge video courtesy of Marc Boucher at SpaceRef.com

Watch video

I have some other video clips and photos that I will post later.

The BBC has just posted a preview for an upcoming documentary to air on BBC4 called “Visions of the Future”, a three-part series hosted by string theorist and futurist Prof. Michio Kaku. The third episode in the series “The Quantum Revolution” will feature DeltaX’s very own John Hart and myself as we present the state of the art of carbon nanotube growth and prepare some prototype space elevator tethers for the camera. Will air Monday, November 19, 2007 9pm-10pm TBC in the UK. We’ll post links to the video when it becomes available.

Check out a preview on the BBC’s website.



A close-up picture of our competition tether from this year. To the touch it feels like Nylon rope and is quite slippery. Made of virtually 100% single-walled and double-walled Nanocomp carbon nanotubes (mostly single) .

An article appeared yesterday on the BBC’s website talking about Alan Windle’s group at the University of Cambridge, which is spinning nanotube yarns. A very interesting read–related to what we’re doing. Although the stuff we have in the works blows away Windle’s yarns (and polymer composites as well).


If you were at the Spaceward Games in Salt Lake City and saw our tether, we’d like to know what you think about it! From the look to the feel to the bloody knot that failed, we want to hear it! Write a comment to this entry and we’ll respond and reply to any questions.

Greetings Space Elevator Enthusiasts! This is the blog for the MIT-Nanocomp DeltaX team in pursuit of the NASA Centennial Challenges Strong Tether Challenge. As presented at the Spaceward Games this year, we are developing tethers made of nearly 100% single-walled carbon nanotubes. Our knot slipped at the competition this year and so the true strength of the material was never tested, but we did demonstrate the first two-gram, two-meter nanotube tether ever developed. We are in the process of assembling our next test tether, which will be significantly stronger and not have knot problems.

This blog will serve as a place for the public to keep up-to-date on as much as we can keep you up-to-date on, to comment on our project, and to ask questions.

Feel free to comment as much as you’d like, but keep it pithy, not snarky.

So fire away!

-Stevie (Team Captain)

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