Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Executive Director for X PRIZE Foundation

From RLV News comes the announcement that Bretton S. F. Axexander will become the Executive Directory, Space Prizes and Wirefly X PRIZE Cup, for the Foundation. Bretton is President of the Personal Spaceflight Federation and Senior Advisor to t/Space.

One interesting item to note in the press release is the following:

"The X PRIZE Foundation is building upon its resounding success in the space arena to develop several new space prizes. Working closely with agencies such as DARPA and NASA's Centennial Challenges program, a prize program created in direct response to the success of the Ansari X PRIZE, the Foundation has already secured $3 million in prizes to be offered at this year's Wirefly X PRIZE Cup and Holloman Air and Space Expo."

What are these "several new space prizes" that are mentioned? Are they being "actively" developed? Will there be a space prize surprise? I don't have any inside information, so I'll have to wait to find out like everyone else.

Also, what is the "$3 million in prizes"? Last year there were discussions of $3 million for the Lunar Lander Challenge, with DARPA contributing perhaps $1 million, but that didn't happen. Is it something like that this year? Prize money is a lot more effective if everyone knows it's available, and for what. The prize amounts for the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge are $2 million, broken into 1st and 2nd prizes in 2 levels of difficulty (for a total of 4 prizes). Could the extra $1 million be from the Space Elevator Games (which were held at the X PRIZE Cup in 2006)? The right amount - $1 million - is up for grabs in the Space Elevator Games, and they are expected to be held in October 2007, but the location of the event hasn't been announced here as far as I can tell. Could the $3M just be a typo?