Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Space Access '07 - X Prize Cup Operations Panel

X Prize Cup Operations Panel – Russell Blink, Randall Clague, Nicole Jordan, Dave Masten, Will Pomerantz

(Note: Select "Space Access '07" for all posts on that conference).

Advice for contestants: You need to work with the X PRIZE officials. You also need to practice and practice more.

“Be flexible”. This year there will be even more going on. There will be more teams, possibly an air show, etc. That’s why you need even more to practice your flights. The X PRIZE folks will ask you again and again when you’ll be ready.

Question: Will we have hangars this time? Answer: (Will) Probably yes, if it’s at Holloman Air Force Base. Holloman has lots of hangars.

The date for the event is tentatively the last weekend of October.

Question: What is the amount of various propellants that will be available? Answer: Unknown. There are lots of variables: how many teams show up, etc. Advice: Get your propellant and similar needs to the X PRIZE Cup officials as soon as possible. They may use the same propellant supplier as they did last year.
Meet with them earlier. Teams should com onsite ahead of time to do a dress rehearsal. One month ahead of time is planned. There will be the same provider at that time as during the event, so you will be able to work out any problems then.

Question: Will the X PRIZE Cup organize an insurance pool? Answer: (Will) We know it’s a big cost driver. We will look at group policies, but don’t know what the rates will be. IT would be nice if the teams could organize themselves.

They had an issue with the local police and fire groups in ’06.

They can’t say how many teams are registered. The maximum number of vehicles at the actual cup is 5 per level (or 10 total). The first 5 to get an AST permit will be the ones to get in if that becomes an issue. Also you need to have a test flight to have been done. The actual rules are a bit more complicated but that’s the bottom line roughly.

What about media? Will: There may be even more media coverage in ’07 than in ’06. There are 2 levels, 1st and 2nd place in both levels.

Question: What about the “Gold Box”? Answer: (Will) The gold box … it’s neither gold nor a box … (laughter). It gets telemetry. He encourages the teams to find their own gold box.

Question: Can vehicles share a gold box? Answer (Will): Need to check with the judges.

Randall: He’s impressed with the judges. Don’t be worried about the judges. And they’re unpaid … what more could you ask for?

For more on this talk see For more see RLV News.

I'll post on a few more of the talks (the prize-related ones) as I get a chance over the next few days.

The Space Access web site has more interesting information about the issues with cheap access to space over the years, up to this year's conference. Mark your calendars for next year's highly recommended conference.

The X PRIZE Cup site has more information about the 2006 X PRIZE Cup event.

The X PRIZE site has more information about the X PRIZE Cup rules and other background information. Here's where to go to donate to or get involved with the X PRIZE Foundation to help them run the LLC and other incentive prizes.