Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Space Prize News Roundup

There are a lot of great things in the prize world to post about, and a lot of them deserve separate posts, but I hurt my back dealing with, of all things, some cat litter, so I skipped yesterday and am making it quick today. I'll by lying down more than sitting at the computer.

The Space Elevator Blog tells us about a surprise team in the 2008 Climber Competition: The National Space Society. The specifics are a surprise, but I've been expecting space advocate societies to get into the prize business on the team side for a while (I think I even posted about it - ?). Actually I thought it would have happened a long time ago. It's a great activity for societies or chapters to get involved with, and makes a great story in magazines or other society communication media. The SE Blog gives details on the team and their approach.

RLV News and the Space Elevator Blog post on the Kansas City Space Pirates' agreement with TRUMPF to us an industrial laser during the 2008 Climber competition, which helps with one part of the competition but presents some other engineering challenges.

RLV News also posts on a Space Fellowship interveiew of Google Lunar X PRIZE team FREDNET. It's an open source project, so ITAR is an issue that is discussed. The team's progress so far, what parts of the job are they going to do in-house vs. buying off-the-shelf systems, what is their schedule, and what their plans are after the prize.

The X PRIZE Foundation has the latest update from Odyssey Moon. Will we see "One small step for Isle of Man"? The post covers some of the bigger reasons to go back to the Moon, and they aren't about "the human spirit of exploration" or anything impractical-sounding like that.

One of the commenters at this RLV News post about UK space plans notes that prizes are mentioned in the 2008-2012 and beyond UK Civil Space Strategy. It states:

The NSTP will be a national programme to support the development of common space technologies and new services. It will identify emerging technologies and opportunities, and use R&D grants and prizes to enable technology development and knowledge exchange between commercial, Government and academic organisations.

One of the 5 parts of the NSTP is:

competitions and prizes to stimulate innovation and wider interest in the benefits of space.