Tuesday, June 03, 2008

SS1 Book, Diamandis and Breed on Prizes, XPC/LLC

RLV News has a number of recent prize-related posts of interest. Here are some of them:

Briefs: SS1 book; Diamandis on prizes; NASA's good week - I saw the SpaceShipOne book at the ISDC and also at the Air and Space museum not far from the actual craft. I was actually given a space book as a gift on the trip, but it wasn't that one. Cosmic Log reviews the book. See the RLV News post for the link to the book on amazon.

The other prize article, a Business Week article on Incentive Prizes, is mainly an interview of Peter Diamandis on the subject.

Briefs: Personal Spaceflight study; Better prizes; Low carbon suborbital space - This one includes a post at Unreasonable Rocket about the GLXP and his preference for prizes directly related to space access, like one for a reusable orbital vehicle.

I also like the idea of space access prizes, and think the original Ansari X PRIZE victory should be considered more like a battle won rather than a war won. I could see an orbital prize like the one Paul advocates. I could also see suborbital space access prizes for any (or all) of the following:
- take the Ansari X PRIZE to the next level (eg: considerably greater altitude or payload than the suborbital ships now under development)
- give the current set of manned suborbital ships under development more business (eg: demonstration of difficult suborbital science or engineering measurements using the vehicles integrated with payloads)
- encourage reusable unmanned suborbital launches to even greater altitudes than the manned vehicle(s) from my first bullet
- encourage smallsat launch from reusable suborbital vehicles

Still, although I see space access as the #1 problem to tackle, I have no problem with encouraging cheap robotic missions/smallsats, which I consider perhaps problem #2 or #3 to solve.

Briefs: LLC and XPC update; Astrium crew capsule picts; Space VidVision Contest - This covers the contest I first heard about in Greg Zsidisin's recent Space Show interview, and a Leonard David article on the X PRIZE Cup and LLC. The LLC article mentions a number of possible venues for the XPC that are circulating. My (outsider) understanding is that the XPF would like to continue the association of the XPC with the ISPCS, which makes any scenario that is too different from that one in time or space seem a little less likely. At any rate, we should know one way or the other pretty soon according to the note on the XPC web site.