Steve Ty JonesThe New York Times article Like to Tinker? NASA’s Looking for You said
STEVE JONES doesn’t have a workshop, exactly, for his miniature space elevator; he is designing it in his dorm room and in four labs scattered across the University of British Columbia.
He doesn’t have a staff, either; a collection of friends and fellow space enthusiasts volunteer to help. And his budget, in the low five figures, comes mostly from the school activities fund, although Red Bull is donating some energy drinks.
But he might soon have a chance to join the ranks of the aerospace establishment by getting money from NASA and, in his own way, helping explore the solar system. To get ready, he is spending 60 hours a week on his elevator, which is meant to haul people and gear into orbit without a rocket. He has even put off graduation until the project is done.
Steve Ty Jones
is an avid competitor in the emerging field of
engineering competitions. He recognizes engineering competitions with
large monetary prizes as a format that will be responsible for many
innovations in areas that were previously thought too risky to approach
with private equity. By encouraging development in these areas through
competition the rate of progress can be much faster than in a research
environment. He is interested in how these competitions will evolve
to include technology development in the fields of cleantech and
in addition to the existing competitions that exist in the military and
Steve has participated in the DARPA Grand Challenge, the NASA Tether Strength Challenge, the NASA Beam Power Challenge and the NASA Regolith Excavation Challenge. He was named national champion in the long airtime category of the Red Bull Paper Wings challenge and represented Canada in the world championships in Austria. He led a team in the 2005 NASA Beam Power Challenge that was named “most Likely to Win in 2006” and then brought a team of eighteen people and the largest craft in the competition to the 2006 event. Working on the Beam Power Challenge for two years has given him a unique appreciation for the challenges that will have to be overcome to make a Space Elevator a reality. It also has allowed him to gain insight into some of the current assumptions such as the assumed requirement for wireless power beaming. His team has performed laser power beaming experiments and has also built a Space Elevator prototype vehicle that can climb using spotlights or the Sun.
He is active in entrepreneurship activities in the Vancouver, British Columbia both through university and the local community. He has a particular interest in early stage financing and in competition based models for technology development.
Steve has been on CNN, ABC, TechTV, CNET TV, CTV and Discovery Channel among many others. He has been quoted in New Scientist Magazine and featured in the New York Times. Media coverage of his work has included everything from documentary films to AP news stories and live TV interviews and he is very capable of expressing complex technical ideas to a broad range of audiences.
Listen to his interview on The Space Elevator Blog. Read UBC Space Elevator Team Unveils Latest Prototype.