Saturday, January 17, 2009

Space Infrastructure Prize Recommendations

In December, Jon Goff at Selenian Boondocks posted on propellant depots. I linked to his post because of a recommendation there to fund a proposed Centennial Challenge related to fuel depots. Now, in the second of two Daily Kos posts and entries to the Obama space transition team, Jon and Ferris Valyn expand on the propellant depot discussion to include other needed space infrastructure like tugs and RLVs. The discussion includes several recommendations, and here's one of them:

Prizes: One proposed prize delayed due to lack of funding for the NASA Centennial Challenges program was the Propellant Depot Challenge. This challenge was to demonstrate long-duration storage of cryogenic propellants on-orbit. Full funding should be restored to the Centennial Challenges program (as well as equivalent DOD-run prize programs) to provide money for prizes like this to incentivize demonstration of key propellant depot capabilities. Such prizes can also be used for demonstrating different space tug capabilities (such as deorbiting of space debris, relocating of space assets, etc), and for flight demonstration of robust and highly reusable thermal protection systems for reusable space transports.