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B.E.S.T. Kickoff!!!

On September 15, at 8:30 A.M., twenty robotics teams filed into the Raspet Flight Center for the official kickoff of the B.E.S.T. competition. After registering, we sat down in the airplane hangar, waiting to discover the theme and task of this year’s contest. Following a short presentation of the ins and outs of B.E.S.T., all was revealed. The focus of the competition is the space elevator. A space elevator is a theoretical means of exiting earth’s orbit without the use of expensive and environmentally detrimental rockets. Its basic structure consists of a launch station in the ocean, a 100,000-kilometer long cable of carbon nanotubes kept in geostationary orbit by centrifugal force, a carrier powered by smart robots, and a counterweight at the top of the cable. Its creation would revolutionize space travel as we know it, and we are close to realizing that goal. Our robot’s main task is to transport cargo up and down a “space elevator” to a midway station. The cargo includes fuel bottles to be replaced, along with solar panels and a habitation module to be brought to the midway station. The robot will have three minutes to perform as many of the assigned tasks as possible; another challenge the arena brings forth is that it will have to be ambidextrous, as there is no guarantee which side of the arena the robot will be competing on. After being informed as to the particulars of the contest, we moved on to receive our kit for this year. We quickly catalogued each piece of equipment and inspected them for damage while awaiting our turn to look at the arena. Once there, we listened to a short presentation on the nature of the field. When it ended, those on the photography and building teams further surveyed the arena while the rest of us gathered to discuss this year’s theme and booth. The photography finished, our whole team assembled to hear some reminders and officially adjourn. This year’s challenge is like none we have ever faced before. Nevertheless, we are determined to meet it head on with teamwork and dedication in keeping with our tradition of excellence. As always, we are prepared to give it our very B.E.S.T!