Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Space Prize Hints on X PRIZE Foundation Web Site

Well, it's a bit earlier than expected, but the X PRIZE Foundation has posted a press release on the new space prize. Actually, all I can see is the title of the press release, not the contents, but maybe the contents will appear there later. The title reveals a lot about the sponsor and the nature of the prize. Check out their page at X PRIZE Foundation and on the left side you'll see, if they haven't moved it, the press release title. The location is here.

If you were following my earlier speculation posts on the prize, I thought I could guess who the prize sponsor was. As it turns out, I was right ... more on that later (just in case they pull the press release title, I'm not going to actually name them). As I said earlier, my guess was based on an earlier grad school paper on one of this company's products I wrote before I got into prizes. There was enough in that paper to make me guess it would be them already, and their interactions with the X PRIZE Foundation after I wrote the paper just made it seem even more likely it was them.

I think the fact that it's them will make an even bigger media stir than might be expected, since the general public doesn't think of them as a "space" company. However, my paper was on them, and it was all about space ... it IS an entrepreneurial space company folks, and a quite smashingly successful one! I think many of the most successful entrepreneurial space companies will be integrated and symbiotic mixtures of "space" and "Earth" applications ...

More later as details are revealed ... after I get back! Until then check RLV News, NASA Watch, etc...

Update (post annoucement): Yes, the company is Google. What was that paper I wrote about? Well, it was on Google Earth, of course. Yes, I speculated that they would make a "Google Moon", "Google Mars", "Google Astronomer", and "Google Video Games" based on Google Earth, as well as other obvious moves to integrate Google Earth into their other business lines. During the research I also noticed that the 2 Google founders had all sorts of other interests and relationships related to space and NASA, and they obviously have the entrepreneurial spirit. They have the money, too, of course, and they don't spend on traditional adversising. They like "word of mouth" advertising, and what else is a big space prize?? It seemed a natural fit even back then before I got into space prizes for them to sponsor one. Then next semester I did a paper on space prizes, and started this blog. They continued their interest in the X PRIZE Foundation (SpaceShipOne replica, being on the X PRIZE Foundation board of directors, fundrasing event at Google Headquarters for the X PRIZE Foundation, etc) so it seemed even more likely that it was them. I'm surprised that I don't see a Lunar Rover on the main page letters right now!