Saturday, August 11, 2012

Prize Roundup: New Nanosat Launch Challenge Approaches, Network Visualization, SLI, NRC Response, More

European Southern Observatory holding two public contests - Space for All

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #5 - MyMoon

Visualize This! NSA Network Visualization Contest - for the National Security Agency

NASA HEOMD Announcement of Cubesat Launch Initiative - SpaceRef

Weekly Update 8.6.2012 - Space Florida for the Nanosatellite Launch Challenge, with a brief note on rule changes and sponsors.  There isn't much activity on the forum, but there is now an effort to make an external forum for the competition: Nano Sat Launch Pad.  SpaceRef posted the following RFI from NASA on the challenge: NASA Request for Information: Centennial Challenges Nano Satellite Launch Challenge.  Here is an excerpt discussing possible big changes to the competition, which started as a $2M competition, and is currently for $3M: 

Several approaches to the NSL Challenge are being considered by NASA. In one approach an initial competition would require delivery of payloads to LEO twice within a one-week period using a launch system sized to deliver up to 10Kg to LEO. The competition would be for one year and a $3M prize purse would be divided between all successful competitors. Subsequently, a second competition would be held that would require successful competitors to deliver payloads to LEO at least ten times within a one-year period using a launch system sized to deliver up to 10Kg to LEO. A total prize purse of $6M would be offered for at least 10 successful payload deliveries: 1st Place receiving $3M for most deliveries; 2nd place, $2M for next most deliveries; and 3rd place, $1M for next most deliveries. ... An alternative approach to the NSL Challenge would be initially to focus on component and subsystem technology development. In particular the avionics for small launch vehicles is considered a significant cost item and novel approaches will be required to achieve a launch cost that is attractive to most nano-satellite developers. This phase would be followed by launch vehicle demonstration competitions along the lines of the approach described above.

Here is the NASA document, complete with RFI questionnaire for potential Nanosat Launch competitors and their potential customers: Request for Information - Centennial Challenges Nano Satellite Launch (NSL) Challenge (PDF)

An Open Letter to the National Research Council’s Committee on the Strategic Direction of NASA - Dennis Wingo includes a section on "Large Scale Prizes" in his answer to the NRC question on commercial space ventures.

2012-2013 NASA's University Student Launch Initiative - SpaceRef

Lockheed Martin Launches Innovation Contest - SpaceRef: 

The "Innovate the Future" contest creates a global forum for interested participants to share their ideas on how innovation can enable a more secure future for the planet. Participants are invited to submit their thoughts on a range of topics facing the world community, including the need for sustainable energy, cyber security, and healthcare. ...

There will be up to one $25,000 grand prize, one $10,000 second place prize, and three $5,000 third place prizes. The grand prize winner will also receive an incubation contract with the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute at the University of Maryland to help validate and develop the idea.

Here's a link to the site: Innovate the Future Challenge