Friday, March 07, 2008

Consolidated Lunar and Glove Prizes Post

For the Google Lunar X PRIZE:

The Space Fellowship has had a series of interviews and articles on the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams. Here's one on Team Italia.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams site has an update from Micro-Space that also has some Space Fellowship content.

For the Lunar Lander Challenge:

RLV News has the latest updates from Masten Space Systems on a new employee's job and igniter tests, and Unreasonable Rocket showing data from a test. Actually, RLV News already has an even newer post on available summer interships. I'm not sure if Masten is still going for the LLC prize this year.

For the Astronaut Glove Challenge:

RLV News links to another cool article from NASA ASK by 2007 Astronaut Glove Challenge winner Peter Homer where the "incremental failure" approach, applicable in many other design situations, leads to a win:

I decided to focus all my effort on just the finger element. If I couldn't come up with a more flexible finger, there was no point in spending time on the rest of the glove, I reasoned. So I devised a simple test fixture that allowed me to build and pressurize finger elements in about twenty minutes, and I spent the next few weeks designing and making glove fingers. A lot of fingers. Probably three dozen in all. Every one of those fingers (except the last) was a little failure, but every one taught me something about what did and didn't flex easily, or about how to streamline the fabrication process, or what materials and design elements were or were not important.

Here's another lesson that's might come in handy:

By remaining aware of the big picture, continuously asking myself, “Am I converging on a solution?” and “Am I converging fast enough?” I was able to see that my original design was not going to succeed, leading to the decision to start over.