Friday, July 04, 2008

Early History of Many Space Prizes?

A couple weeks ago I mentioned the Commercial Space Wiki. This isn't a resource you're likely to absorb quickly, since there's so much there. I just plan to pick and choose.

Today I'll talked about a document in the prizes folder's Prize-Related Reports subfolder. I've actually already read most of the items in this folder for my school paper on prizes, or in the course of writing for this blog. (The Prize Bookmarks subfolder is another story).

This is one of the new ones for me: NASA Space Architect Prize Study - Performed by the X PRIZE Foundation. This is a report of 20 different promising prize ideas that the X PRIZE Foundation did for NASA. You can see the formative ideas that I imagine eventually became some of the current NASA Centennial Challenges. For what they're worth, here are my guesses at heritage:

Laser Launch Competition - Beam Power Competition?
Lunar Processing Demonstration - MoonROx Challenge; maybe also the Regolith Excavation Challenge
Nanotube Tether - Strong Tether Competition
Gridlock-Escaping Vehicle - Personal Air Vehicle Challenge

NASA Centennial Challenges suggested a Micro-Reentry System for small payloads from space stations, and also a Solar Sail Competition. These ideas also appear in the list. The Habitat Construction Race with Teleoperated Robots seems like the Spaceward Foundation Mars Barn concept.

One of the biggest prizes in the list is a $20M prize for a Lunar Lander/Rover. It sounds like an early form of the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

There are more interesting ideas in the list, if a sponsor can be found ...