Friday, October 29, 2010

Roundup: LaserMotive Record, GLXP Updates, Planetary Defense, Boston Moon Ball, More

Team Phoenicia has posted a number of pictures in recent days:
Competition waxes in the South End describes the lunar design awards ceremony of SHIFTboston's Moon Ball.

Here's more on LaserMotive:

What’s up with LaserMotive… - The Space Elevator Blog gets us up to date on LaserMotive activities, including the laser powered helicopter demonstration at the Future of Flight Aviation Center.  It also describes a special earlier demonstration of that capability.

Laser-powered 'quadrocopter' sets new record -, Eugene, Oregon covers the recent helicopter demonstration, including a video and picture.

LaserMotive Beams Power to “Quadrocopter” UAV, Breaks World Record for Electric Aircraft - XConomy Seattle - This one doesn't include a video, but it makes up for it with more details in the text.

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #34 - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration

New Google Lunar X PRIZE Team: Moon Express! - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration includes some discussion and speculation about the newly announced team.  Be sure to check the comments, too!

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #35 - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration

@SGAG: SGAC Supports the 2011 Planetary Defense Conference Student Competition – Enter Today!

Brain X Prize may spark big solutions - MSNBC

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Prize Roundup: Space Prize Jobs, LaserMotive Demo, Moon_Ex, SpaceX Awards, More

EuroSpaceward announces EuSEC - the first European Space Elevator Challenge! - The Space Elevator Blog

LaserMotive Plans Laser-Powered Free Flier Endurance Demo - LaserMotive - On twitter, @lasermotive has been posting a lot of updates and pictures of the demo.

Here are a couple space prize job opportunities:

@NASA_Technology: schingler we are hiring! @nasa_technology position to lead prizes at NASA #opengov #gov20

@glxp: SpaceWorks Engineering has commercial space job opps: (mentions "participation in competitive space prizes")

2011 University Rover Challenge sponsored by TASC - Space for All

@SpcPlcyOnline: Student Essay Competition Reminder: Win Over $700!
@spacecom: NASA Deputy Garver Receives WIA Award: Deputy NASA Administrator Lori GarverNASA PRESS RELEASEFour current NASA le...
@digitalart: Vote for Desire in the Artexpo Artist Challenge:
@yachachiq: The Economist-InnoCentive Disruptive Innovation Challenge:
@PeterDiamandis: Attending TEDMED. Focused on discussing AI Physician, Tricorder + Archon X Prize. Lots of SU family here.
@Lori_Garver: Judging the NASA HQ Halloween Costume Contest this morning. Can’t wait to see the creativity of NASA in action!
@SpaceXer: This week Elon Musk named 1 of Top 40 Business Leaders Under 40 by Fortune & 1 of the 49 Most Influential Men in 2010 by
More awards! Falcon9 makes C4ISR Journal “Big 25” 4 reducing costs of launching com&recon spacecraft -
@Moon_Ex: Our official media release is out: @Moon_Ex enters $30M @GLXP competition @XPRIZE

Friday, October 22, 2010

Prize Roundup: Mars Rover, Mars Prizes, Space Pirates, Nanosat Challenge Seats

@TheMarsSociety: #Poland's Magma rover for #Mars Society's University Rover Challenge 2010.

"Colonizing Mars" in the Journal of Cosmology - RLV News - The issue includes the article The Mars Prize and Private Missions to the Red Planet.

@Spaceport_NM Another successful #ispcs concluded, and my runway dedication is in a few hours... :D

The Kansas City Space Pirates throw in the towel… - The Space Elevator Blog - In addition to honoring this prominent Space Elevator Games team, this post gives some hints about the future:

I have had several conversations with Ben Shelef about the future of the Climber / Power-Beaming competition and, while it is much too early for me to spill any of the beans, I can safely say that some significant changes in the structure of the Games appear to be in the cards.

Team Phoenicia has a few new posts:

New Sponsor: Dragon Valves
New Sponsor: Micro/sys
Team Phoenicia/Techshop Nanosat Launcher Challenge Seminar Reservations Now Open

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aviation Prize Workshop, ISPCS, Art Contest, Pop! Tech, Much More

@NASAPrize: Brainstorming session for future aviation prizes in Hampton, VA was well attended with lots of good ideas and insights. Thanks to all.

The conference Aviation Unleashed included the Aviation Unleashed Centennial Challenge Prize Workshop that I'm sure was the brainstorming session mentioned above. The conference also included the Edison2 Progressive Automotive X PRIZE team.

@nss: Tell kids/teens 10-17 to enter NASA art-music contest on Human Space Flight: Deadline Dec. 3.

a CanSat that points to the sun. - CanSat DeSoto team on YouTube

Weekend Update - Unreasonable Rocket

Astrobotic gets NASA grant for prototype lunar mining robot - RLV News has more details about the phase II SBIR award I mentioned Monday.

Registration Open for NASA’s Great Moon Buggy Race - Parabolic Arc

Richards & Moon Express - RLV News

ISPCS 2010 update #2 - RLV News - I'm just picking 1 of many posts on the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. You'll find a lot of discussion involving past and present prize teams (e.g.: Armadillo, Masten, Rocket City Space Pioneers) and other related topics from these posts. This one in particular gives a twitter link that will keep you busy.

@sedsusa: SEDS Video Contest official contest end date is in two days. Get your submissions in!

@ad_astra2: Great #XPRIZE session at #poptech today, but secretly wish I could have helped w the weather balloon launch! #spacetweep

Using prizes and challenges to drive innovation - Pop! Tech blog

@NASA_Technology: The Weightlessness of Creativity @Etsy Blog featuring @NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg. Have you submitted your Space Craft?

@glxp: Please welcome our newest #glxp team to Twitter: @Moon_Ex!

NASA Awards Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) Contracts! - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration discusses the recent lunar engineering data news.

@ISS_NatLab: Discussion: Microelectronics & competitions like FIRST will blur lines between what students & traditional researchers can do on ISS.

Monday, October 18, 2010

White House Science Fair, Mythbusters, Conrad Awards, and TARC

Obama Takes Science Push to ‘Mythbusters’ - New York Times Dot Earth blog

@conradawards: Team AM Rocks awards winners are meeting President Obama at The White House today. Congratulations Mikayla and Shannon!

@lori_garver: On my way to the White House Science Fair, where President Obama is hosting student STEM competition winners.

President Obama to Host White House Science Fair - The White House:

Today, President Obama will host the White House Science Fair celebrating the winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions. ... DARPA will use prize-based competitions and social networks to encourage teams of students to design and manufacture go-carts, mobile robots, and small unmanned vehicles. ... Change the Equation, with a membership of over 100 CEOs including leading media companies, will launch a viral video contest where its companies will vie to create the best video for students on the rewarding jobs they can get if they excel in math and science. ...

Winners from STEM competitions that will be part of the events include FIRST robotics, the Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award, the Team America Rocketry Challenge, and many other science and technology competitions.

Background on the White House Science Fair - The White House - In addition to Obama, senior administration officials to attend the science fair include Lori Garver, John Holdren, and many others. The Planetary Society's Bill Nye and Norm Augustine are on the list of attendees. Student exhibits include TARC, FIRST competitions, and many others.

Robots, Solar Cars and Rockets at the White House Science Fair - White House blog

Pennsylvania Student Rocketeers Exhibit at White House Science Fair - PR Newswire

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup: SBIR Selections, Moon Express, Lunar Demo Data

@nasa_technology: NASA Selects 215 Small Business Research And Technology Projects. Read more at:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program - 2009 Phase 2 - Proposals Selected for Negotiation of Contracts - TOPIC LIST

Here's a selectee with connections to the prize world:

Lightweight Robotic Excavation - Astrobotic Technology, Inc.

There are many more that are of interest. For example:

Regeneratively-Cooled, Turbopump-Fed, Small-Scale Cryogenic Rocket Engines - Ventions, LLC

In other Google Lunar X PRIZE news:

@glxp: There is something new on Wonder who will spot it first...?

If you check the glxp tweet history, you'll see that someone did spot it: Moon Express. From the Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page:

Leader Name: Bob Richards
Craft Name: MoonEx-1
Nationality: USA

Note that Moon Express is one of the teams selected for Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD): NASA announces grants in lunar demo data purchase program - RLV News

Friday, October 15, 2010

NanoSat Seminar, LaserMotive Pitch, Mobile Treasure Hunt, CRuSR's blog, much more

Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference 2011 - CRuSR's blog - Ok, I admit it, I already posted about the conference; this is just an excuse to point out the CRuSR blog. Or is it just an excuse to keep promoting the conference?

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #33 - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration covers the many events from October 5th to October 12th.

Rocket City Space Pioneers at GLXP Summit - RLV News presents one item that was probably released a bit too recently to have made it into Roundup #33.

More hardware - Vog Rockets

Nanosat Launch Seminar - Vog Rockets:

I’ll be giving a short presentation about Vog and our plans and possibly seeking individuals wanting to join the team.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Launch Pad - Team Phoenicia describes their Google Lunar X PRIZE goal, and how the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, Nanosat Launch Challenge, and the Team Phoenicia/TechShop Nanosat Launcher Seminar on November 6 in Menlo Park, CA all fit together. They give a lot of details about how it all happened, but I think we all have a few more questions!

See their earlier post It's Wonderful for more details on the Nanosat Launcher Seminar. A commenter there asks if the seminar can be recorded ... not a bad idea for potential teams and spectators that can't make it to Menlo Park.

New Sponsor: ASCO Valve - Team Phoenicia

Guests: Josh Neubert, Hung-Jen Wu. Aired on October 10th, 2010 - The Space Show - The topic was the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Awards Program.

2010 Reach for the Stars Rocket Contest - Space for All

Space treasure hunt sponsored by NASA & Gowalla - Space for All

Briefs: Grand Challenges at NASA; GLXP scorecard - RLV News

Composite Compatability tests. - Unreasonable Rocket

LaserMotive Is 2nd Place Winner at NWEN First Look Forum! - LaserMotive gives more details about their NWEN First Look Forum pitch than I included in my last post.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Prize Twitter Roundup: Space Craft and Art, NASA Tournament Lab, Better Gloves, ZeroG, NSRC, New GLXP Teams?

Don't be fooled by the first tweet below; it's from yesterday:

@lasermotive: Tom will be presenting at the First Look Forum this afternoon:

LaserMotive not only made the first cut to the final 5, but was chosen as Runner-Up (2nd place) at the First Look Forum. #NWEN

@peterdiamandis: Just landed after an awesome ZeroG flight. Everyone did great! Cameron loved the experience. We raised a bit over $200K to support X PRIZE.

I edited this next tweet to include the whole message rather than let Twitter's character limit cut it off with a link to the rest of the message near the end:

@teamprometheus: Working on new propellant for NSE-6 we will be doing some test rockoon launches this month! NSE-5.1 will be the first rockoon launch. We need to gather data for our flight controller programing. Working on a special coating to get the rocket to fire at 100kft.

Finished Rotor

@nasa_technology: NASA Establishes Tournament Lab For Software Developers

From the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) site:

NASA and Harvard University have established the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), which will enable software developers to compete with each other to create the best computer code for NASA systems.

The NTL provides an online virtual facility for NASA researchers with a computational or complex data processing challenge to "order" a solution, just like they would order laboratory tests or supplies.

@nasa_technology: Lending a hand MIT research look into why spacesuit gloves hurt astros’ hands. w/ @NASA glove challenge winner @pkhomer

From the MIT News article Lending a hand: MIT researchers may be closer to understanding why spacesuit gloves hurt astronauts’ hands.:

“The study points to a different cause [of delamination] and a different way to deal with it,” said Peter Homer, founder of spacesuit-design company Flagsuit LLC, who is working with NASA and commercial companies to develop gloves for the next-generation spacesuit. “We need to look more closely at what is going on with the MCP joint,” he said, noting that the sizing and fit of the gloves around the MCP joint should be considered more closely in future designs.

Here's a note about the Space Craft Contest for making original art with a NASA theme:

@lori_garver: Crafty? NASA and Etsy team up: Rules and how to enter:

@Newspacenews: National Geographic documentary on Virgin Galactic debuts next week. #space #newspace

Here's some information about possible new Google Lunar X PRIZE teams:

@pomerantz: RT @Rocketeer_UK: UK Lunar X-Prize team: Call for Interest

@csete @mrdoornbos Puli is not yet fully registered, but we do have a fully registered "Mystery" / unannounced Team - so 23 is right.

Finally, I have a couple more twitter accounts to follow, including 1 for the team Will mentioned:

@PuliSpace: Twitter Bio: Puli Space Technologies is a Hungary based team aiming to land a self-made rover on the Moon. Follow us and get to know how the Puli rockets into space.

@NSRC2011: Hi there-- I'm the Twitter page for the Next Gen Suborbital Researchers Conference to be held 28 Feb to 2 March next year in Orlando!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Colorado School of Mines at the Regolith Excavation and Lunabotics Competitions

Briefs: SBSP economics; ISRU conference papers - RLV News - The Eleventh Space Resources Roundtable and Planetary & Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium site includes presentations from the June 2010 symposium and pictures from an ISRU demonstration session. Some of the presentations and demonstrations feature prizes in one way or another. For example:

Lunar and Planetary Excavation Systems: Lessons Learned at the Colorado School of Mines - (PDF, zipped) - P.J. van Susante, C.B. Dreyer - This describes lessons learned in the Regolith Excavation Challenge and the 2010 Lunabotics competition.

2010 Lunabotics Mining Competition (PDF, zipped) - R. Mueller, G. Murphy - This includes an overview of the 2010 Lunabotics competition, a look ahead to the 2011 competition, and the perspective of Colorado School of Mines team.

The following links are for pictures from the ISRU demonstrations:

Colorado School of Mines Excavators. - From left to right: Backhoe, Lunabotics Bucket Ladder, and NASA Regolith Centennial Challenge Bucket Ladder (Chris Dreyer and CSM students).

Colorado School of Mines NASA Regolith Centennial Challenge Bucket Ladder Excavator - (Mark Gefreh and CSM students)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Student Competitions: Suborbital Researchers Competition, CanSat-France, SEDS Video Ad, Lunabotics, TARC Internship; Plus Altius, Unreasonable, more

@Suborbi_Science: NSRC-2011 registration is now open !!

The 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference includes a student contest sponsored by Masten Space Systems. Here's the contest flyer (PDF). The contest site includes lots more details, but here's a brief summary from that site:

The competition is divided into two categories, i) a proposed experiment to fly in the microgravity environment of a suborbital flight, open to teams and individuals; ii) an essay on the benefits of suborbital spaceflight...

@sedsusa: Good at editing videos? Check out the SEDS Video Ad Contest! Now with flier ,

@b0yle: Great to hear "Case for Pluto" is a finalist for AAAS prize. But @RebeccaSkloot will be hard to beat. #honor2bnominated

@NASA_Lunar: University students: compete to design a rover for NASA! Lunabotics is on for the spring:

@teamprometheus: The humble new home of Team Prometheus! Lot's of work to do! Nice high ceiling and very long!

First test part in the bag - Unreasonable Rocket

Altius Space Machines new blog and first contract - RLV News

The CanSat 2011 competition is underway - Enjoy Space - Just so there is no confusion, since there are a lot of CanSat competitions, this is about the CanSat-France Competition.

Intern: Team America Rocketry Challenge (Rosslyn, VA) - Washington, DC craigslist internship listing

Use contests effectively! - Advice Unlimited

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

CanSat 2011 Guide, Google Lunar X PRIZE Summit, More

2011 Student CanSat Competition will be held June 10-12 in Abilene, Texas. - American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Penn State chapter:

The mission for 2011 will be to launch an autonomous CanSat with a deployable lander containing one large raw hen's egg. ... The official web site has been updated with a revised Competition Guide, application forms, photos from previous competitions and names of the 2010 winning teams.

Cansat Competition Guide 2011

Here's a good place to start if you want to know what's happening at the Google Lunar X PRIZE summit and you're not there:

GLXP Summit this week
GLXP Summit updates
GLXP Summit updates (not a repeat of the previous link) - RLV News

That's a lot, but if even that isn't enough, since not everyone is using the hashtag, you could also try some Google Lunar X PRIZE twitter accounts to supplement this. You'll have to figure out which Google Lunar X PRIZE tweets are from the summit, of course.

Tanks the other hard part - Unreasonable Rocket

Supporting Commercial Space at NASA - LaserMotive

Here are a few non-space prize updates:

SolSource Wins! ~ Scot Frank's 500K Euro Check - Maximizing Progress - From the Green Challenge site:

Scot Frank has won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2010 for the affordable portable solar concentrator SolSource.

Grand Forks lands international UAS competition - Grand Forks Herald

GE's Open Innovation Ecomagination Challenge involving $200M in investments finished its first phase on September 30. From their blog:

We’ve pledged to announce the idea that received the most votes by October 7th, and to announce the innovation award winners by early November. Given the large number of entries, we need time to properly evaluate business plans and determine those for investment, commercialization or other potential partnerships.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Nanosat Launch Challenge and Vog, Unreasonable, and Phoenicia, AirshipZ, WP OpEd, TrueRC

@pomerantz: An OpEd in the Washington Post suggests Mark Zuckerberg should have used his $ to start an X PRIZE:

@teamprometheus: TrueRC Canada Just agreed to sponsor us with help for the long range transmitter we need for the nearspace...

I've mentioned this potential prize from @AirshipZ before, but it's good to check back:

@hobbyspacer: Sci-Tech: Z-Prize for green airship winner: There is also a new airship prize competition in development: The Air...

From Team Phoenicia:

Team Phoenicia and TechShop are proud to announce that on November 6th, 2010 at TechShop - Menlo Park at 1 PM will host the Nanosatellite Launcher Challenge Seminar.

The agenda is firming up, but organizations that will be presenting are NASA Centennial Challenge Office, the To Be Announced allied organization running the challenge, FAA, California Space Authority, New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Team Phoenicia and some of the SF Bay Area teams. ...

Check out the packed draft agenda at the top post for more details (the posts are in reverse chronological order):

It's Wonderful.
The whole thing.
Making the Purty (a video explanation) (a second interlude)
A Brief Interlude - This one points to an article "Building Lunar Landers" by the Menlo Park Patch.
You see, it's all very clear to me now.
I understand how you feel.
...yet [we] have the knowledge to make the trip work.

One of the presenters is Vog Rockets:

Pressure tank - Vog Rockets

A few ideas and loose ends - Unreasonable Rocket has some ideas about the Nano-satellite Launch Challenge, and ends with a request for access to a vacuum oven.