Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Prize Update: June 28-30 (Part 2) - Interstellar Probe, Beam Team Tests, OSTP, GLXP Updates, NewSpace Business Plans, Masten Plans

This isn't about space prizes, but it's by someone involved with space prizes:

Interstellar Probe How-to
Interstellar Probe How-to Part 2 - Life in the Milky Way (Dave Masten)

@wikkit - We'll be flying with our second aluminum chamber this week. Some manufacturing mods, will be interesting to see how it goes.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE JURBAN Team A Diverse Journey into Space
- press release at SpaceRef

Students and Faculty Members Are Among Competitors for $30-Million Space Prize - The Chronicle of Higher Education

White House wants prizes for innovators - Federal Computer Week (link from X PRIZE Foundation news scroller)

Briefs: NewSpace Business Plan Competition finalists; Conference preview - RLV News - Note that one of the finalists is Next Giant Leap (a Google Lunar X PRIZE team) and another is Flagsuit, LLC (derived from an Astronaut Glove Challenge win).

@OmegaEnvoy -

RT @OE_Rover Made it to Resolute Bay, population 300. Waiting for the weather to clear up so I can finish my journey to Devon Island. #GLXP
FOX National News picks up our Devon Island story. Can you find the typo though?
http://bit.ly/xbFYs #GLXP
Central Florida Future has a feature on us today: http://bit.ly/J8fsd #GLXP

@glxp -

Cringely still aiming for Moon: "it’s a little harder to do, you see, when there isn’t a $20 million payday at the end" http://bit.ly/CAsTf
And the Winner of the $1 Million Netflix Prize (Probably) Is … - NYTimes.com http://bit.ly/lHNgn
Have you seen ChallengePost? Another clearinghouse for incentive prizes http://bit.ly/y4BJ2

This is from the linked Cringely post:

Team Cringely, on the other hand, still expects to reach the Moon by 2011 and will by fall have a number of announcements on that front including major technical alliances, major corporate sponsorships, and a global TV deal. And this is no stunt: we’re working with NASA’s Goddard Space Center to answer a long list of important scientific questions until we use-up our 24th and last rover.

Esther Dyson "needs help with ........ 2 challenges" at ChallengePost:

Genotyping the Astronauts
Terraforming Mars

Crazy Eddie at the Space Elevator Games has been blogging like, uh, crazy, after the week of testing. There's a bunch of recent team-specific posts and more. Here's a sample (and where you see a "part 4", you can be sure you can find the earlier parts if you look hard enough). There's a site navigation area on the right if you want to, for example, focus on the posts for a particular team.

The Space Elevator Blogger
Dynon Avionics High Altitude Station Keeping
Embedded Jester

LaserMotive - part 4
University of Michigan MClimber - part 2
Kansas City Space Pirates - part 4

Prize Update: June 28-30 (Part 1?) - Regolith Challenges, Singularity U, More Twitter, Human Space Flight Commission Advice

I've had some "Automotive Challenges" of my own recently, so I'm a bit behind. There's a lot more going on that I hope to post on soon ...

Regolith_Chal - Just posted the updated rules and team agreement to http://regolith.csewi.org/r... Check them out!

One regolith challenge deserves another:

KSC to Host Student Lunar Regolith Challenge - Parabolic Arc - The purpose of the Lunar Regolith Excavator Student Competition is to engage and retain students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in a competitive environment which may result in innovative ideas and solutions that could be applied to actual lunar excavation for NASA.

Lunar Regolith Competition - Excavator Project Support - NASA Kennedy Space Center Higher Education Programs ESMD Space Grant Project

Here are some more entries I'll add to the Twitter list when I get a chance. They have prize connections:

ac_charania - http://planetarydefense.blogspot.com/
SoldTheMoon - David Gump - http://www.astrobotictech.com/ - private-sector space exploration

CSF submits policy paper to Augustine panel - RLV News - The main focus is on commercial transportation for ISS including crew. Here are some excerpts related to prizes:

... Likewise, NASA’s successful Centennial Challenges program, which awards prizes for technology development, illustrates another innovative procurement strategy that leverages government dollars and focuses on results. ... With the upcoming retirement of the Space Shuttle, the visibility of NASA’s human spaceflight program and, therefore, public engagement is at risk of dropping significantly. The strong public visibility of commercial spaceflight efforts, such as the Ansari X PRIZE winning flights of the private spacecraft SpaceShipOne which garnered over 5 billion media impressions, suggests that NASA has a unique opportunity to leverage these private sector talents for public outreach.

The paper is on behalf of organizations in the entrepreneurial space field. Several of them have a history of prize participation, such as Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, and the X PRIZE Foundation.

A number of people with prize connections are involved with launching Singularity University.

@PeterDiamandis -

Singularity University is launched along with 22nd session of ISU! Governor Arnold have a great speech.
Ray and I are having fun taking photos with SU students on NASA lawn. singulsrityI
hearing the stories of the 40 Singularity University students, they are truely brilliant and inspirational.
BBQ with SU students, staff, Pete Worden, Harry Kloor and many new friends...
amazing day! welcoming 40 SU and 130 ISU students from 30 countries. very fun!
Students & faculty converging on Mountain View for launch of #singularityu (Singularity University) for the next 9 weeks. I arrive tomorrow!

@Doug_Comstock -

ISU and Singularity Univ. opening was great - especially Bella Gaia performance by Kenji Williams. Check it out at www.bellagaia.com.
I am at the opening for Int'l Space Univ. and Singularity Univ. in Mtn View, CA. Great students and lots of excitement!

This is from the Moon Twibe:

Bob_Richards: We've launched the ISU SSP'09 & Singularity Univ GSP-09 (#singularityU) programs! A microcosm of humanity at it's best.

Bob_Richards: Picking up @PeterDiamandis at SJC then straight 2 NASA Ames 2 meet our amazing ISU & Singularity U students. A great day!

Bob_Richards: Enjoying a tranquil Mountain View retreat working on Odyssey Moon plans while ISU&SU students arrive NASA Ames. T-2 days!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Unreasonable Propellant Recipe

Propellant Progress.. - Unreasonable Rocket

Space Twibes

I just added a section for twibes towards the end of the twitter links post.

I've also been updating the original twitter list from time to time.

Prize Roundup - June 26-27 - MoonROx and Sandbox, Nanotech, EurekaFest, Astronaut Glove, Space Map, Pirate Show, Green Racing for Green $, Lego Team

This post features the June picture (and Orbital category winner) from the 2009 Space Settlement Calendar resulting from the 2009 National Space Society calendar contest.

In my previous post, I gave a quick link to the announcement, but here's more on what's happening with NASA Ames and the Regolith Excavation Challenge, and what the implications are: Best. Sandbox. Ever. - The Launch Pad

From the Foresight Institute:
2009 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Theoretical and Experimental Molecular Nanotechnology - Submissions/nominations are due June 30, 2009
2009 Foresight Institute Prize in Communication - Submissions/nominations are due June 30, 2009
Foresight Institute Distinguished Student Award - Submissions/nominations are due August 22, 2009

In other nanotechnology prize news:

WORLD-RENOWNED NANOTECHNOLOGY EXPERT PROVES THERE IS BIG POTENTIAL IN THE SMALLEST OF MATTER - Lemelson-MIT Program - Professor Chad Mirkin Awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for Revolutionary Advancements in Nanotechnology - (link from Cosmic Log):

A prolific inventor and entrepreneur, his innovations have the potential to transform the future of medical diagnostics and patient point-of-care and to ignite change across many industries from semi-conductors to healthcare. ... Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University (NU), will accept the prize and present his accomplishments to the public at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during the Lemelson-MIT Program’s third-annual EurekaFest, a multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit, June 25-27.

EurekaFest has a lot of other activities, too. Here are some more pointers:

2009 winner of the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability
2009 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize Winner
Joel Selanikio ~ Lemelson-MIT Sustainability Hero - Maximizing Progress

Here's something from the MoonROx Challenge Team Agreement:

The CHALLENGE, and the opportunity to win the prize purse, expires on June 1, 2009. ...
CHALLENGE will be conducted through June 1, 2009, unless extended at CSEWI's discretion.

So, what happens next? Is it extended, are the rules changed, does the money go to another prize, or does the Treasury keep it? I don't know.

Celebration for "Reach for the Stars Rocket Contest" winners - Space for All

KC Space Pirates to appear on the Science Channel - Space Elevator Blog
Testing Results - Space Elevator Blog - This gives pointers to some of the recent posts on the Space Elevator Games site.

This may or not be news, but it's the first I noticed it. The Centennial Challenges site shows where the 2009 Astronaut Glove Challenge will be held: November 2009 → MIT Campus, Cambridge, MA → 2009 Purse $400K

Friday Funday Space Map Wrapup - The Launch Pad - The map shows where a lot of space activity is, including prize teams and organizations, Launch Pad followers, and others.

Racing Goes Green - Cosmic Log
On the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE: Fox said the detailed rules and schedules for the competition ahead - including on-the-road semifinals and finals - should be announced sometime in the next few weeks

Here's one of the links from the Cosmic Log article: MICHELIN EMBRACES GREEN RACING WITH MICHELIN® GREEN X® CHALLENGE

@teamfrednet - You can read more about our #GLXP Lego Mindstorm project at http://bit.ly/13L9XI

Exploring journalism's future - MIT News - In order to encourage interaction and collaboration among the conference participants, the Knight News Challenge sponsors announced early on that they would offer additional grants of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 to the top three proposals submitted by attendees, involving collaborations between groups that have not previously worked together.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Prize Roundup - June 24-25, 2009

@Regolith_Chal - NASA press release on new agreement with NASA Ames: http://bit.ly/167vhY

From the Ames Research Center press release:

NASA today announced that it has signed an agreement with the California Space Authority, Inc., (CSA) to collaborate on participatory science and public outreach using a simulated lunar surface environment.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, CSA will establish an office at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., in NASA Research Park. This fall, NASA Ames and CSA, along with its sister organization, the California Space Education and Workforce Institute, will host the Regolith Excavation Challenge, a prize competition focused on developing improved lunar regolith handling technologies.

So long, and thanks for all the Moonpies - The Launch Pad - Mike Fabio is leaving the X PRIZE Foundation.

Announcing the 19th Team in the Google Lunar X PRIZE: Part-Time-Scientists - The Launch Pad

Links: Muggers Caught, Tehran Imagery, Ocean Celebration, UNHCR Donation - Google Earth Blog - The prize part of this is in the Ocean Celebration section, which includes awards won by the "Ocean in Google Earth" team:

Bring Back the Beach benefit dinner - Heal the Bay
Ocean Conservation Awards Gala - Aquarium of the Pacific

NAs Live TV - Nebula Aerospace

@fineri - http://twitpic.com/89sgp - Initial sounding rocket layout,looked alot smaller on Rocksim compared to this view on solidworks!

@odysseymoon - Michael Doornbos interviewed Bob Richards about Odyssey Moon yesterday for his Evadot podcast series: http://bit.ly/3nXtH

@OmegaEnvoy - Check out the latest press release and movie by 4Frontiers Corp. on our Expedition Arctic: http://bit.ly/2Djrof http://bit.ly/6LsaU .

@http://twitter.com/jeff_foust - RT @marckboucher: Updates for NASA Power Beaming Challenge available at http://www.spaceelevator.com [delayed to late July/early August]

Note: The recent plan was for the games to start on July 14. From spaceelevator.com:

The Space Elevator games have been delayed until at least the last week of July or first week of August. The games could be further delayed as technical and safety issues are being worked out in dry runs. Stay tuned.

IIIT-H launches into the future, practically - LiveMint - The “scientists” are students of the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, or IIIT-H. And they are working on a trial launch of Mission Gaganyaan, which in 2009 became the first and only Indian entry to CanSat ...

KCC's places fifth in national competition - Kapi'o - Students on the KCC CanSat team competed with 24 other teams at the annual CanSat Competition in Amarillo, Texas from June 10 to 14. ... KCC was the only community college team to launch its satellite.

id Software, home of rocketeer John Carmack, is acquired - RLV News

Funding for Centennial Challenges threatened - RLV News

Senate doesn’t follow House lead on exploration cuts - Space Politics - Also unclear is the fate of some smaller programs, like Centennial Challenges and related innovation efforts that are feared to be on the chopping block despite their small ($20 million) price tag.

Note that the Centennial Challenges part of that set of programs is even smaller - $4 million - in the Administration's budget proposal. The whole set is probably one of the most productive parts of NASA, in my opinion - and the whole bunch is only about 1/10 of 1% of the NASA budget.

Here are some upcoming robot contests:

2nd International Autonomous Robotics Competiton - June 27 - 28, 2009, San Diego County Fairgrounds - A video explains how the competition is set up. Roomba's seem to be popular platforms for the "maze" and "desert" contests. I'm not sure I followed how to use NetBeans and a Java API to program the robot, though.

8th Annual MATE International ROV Competition - "The Next Generation of Submarine Rescue Systems - Massachusetts Maritime Academy -Buzzards Bay, MA - June 24-26, 2009

2009 Global Conference on Educational Robotics™ - Leesburg, VA - July 1st to July 5th - This includes conference sessions, the International Botball Tournament, and the Beyond Botball Tournament (Botball for college students and adults).

UK Micromouse 2009 - ThinkTank, Birmingham - Saturday, June 27

RoboCup 2009 - Stadthalle Graz, Austria - June 29 - July 5 - After Atlanta, USA and Suzhou, China RoboCup will be back in Europe in 2009. RoboCup, the largest and most important event for intelligent and autonomous robots, will take place 2009 in Austria for the first time. Since 1997 RoboCup has been the frontier of research in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Pushing forward the boundaries of what robots are able to do is a major driving force of RoboCup.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Prize Roundup - June 23, 2009

@wikkit - http://twitpic.com/7y2lu - Paul Breed demonstrates an autonomous helicopter flight at FAR today.

(That was posted on June 20).

@worden - Was just at the Pentagon talking about cool airships - green, low cost means to transport people and cargo

(Based on this conversation I suspect he knows about the Airship Z-Prize proposal, too).

Speaking of airships, Up Ship! was just at the Vertical Challenge, which sounds like an aviation prize competition, but was actually a helicopter air show.

New ARCA Site - ARCA at Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams site

UAV competition draws students from 18 colleges - DCMilitary.com - The student teams, judges, staff and sponsors were met with near perfect weather for this year's competition. The object for the flying portion of the competition was for an unmanned, radio controllable, aircraft to be launched and transition, or continue, to autonomous flight. It was then to navigate a specified course and use onboard payload sensors to locate and assess a series of man-made targets before returning to the launch point for landing. Each team was required to complete the task within 40 minutes.

The Autonomous Surface Vehicle competition and the IGVC (Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition) were also held recently. Here's some news from those competitions:

ERAU competes with unmanned vehicles - Campus News (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)

AUVSI International Autonomous Surface Vehicle Competition - ASV Competition page with videos and other information from the competition

Robot boats vie for best rescue in Beach competition - Hampton Roads.com

aonomus ASV - photos

It's been a while... - John Fertitta

PSU Robotics - 2009 IGVC Competition photos

Monday, June 22, 2009

Space Prize Roundup - June 21-22, 2009

I haven't seen any details about the actual event, but here's a list of the 2009 CanSat Winners.

France Joins International Youth Rocketry Challenge - Press release at SpaceRef.com - GIFAS, the French aerospace industry association and Planete Sciences announced today that France will field a rocketry competition this fall and will compete against the UK and U.S. teams next year at the Farnborough International Air Show. France also plans to host the international fly-off outside of Le Bourget in June 2011.

X Prize Foundation plans India lab; in talks with Tata group - LiveMint.com - X Prize Foundation, an organization that has popularized private spaceflight with its international competitions, will open a lab in India in a year, its first outside the US.

The Tata group is assisting the foundatin in identifying a university in India to host the lab, said X Prize Foundation chairman and chief executive officer Peter H. Diamandis.

Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata group, is on the board of X Prize. The foundation currently has one lab at the Massachuesetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, in the US. ...

Here's more on this and other topics from @PeterDiamandis (the most recent tweats are on top, so read in that order):

On Nano technology, genomics, space, asteroid mining... Mr. Tata runs a visionary and innovation driven company. Wonderful people.

Just finished dinner with Ratan Tata (Chairman) and the Managing Directors of a dozen Tata Companies. Awesome, visionary conversations

meeting with Pradeep Mohandas founder of SEDS India... 6 chapters and 1200 students!

alot of enthusiasm for starting an X PRIZE Lab here in India to address rural and developing world needs.

just met with the President of IIT-Bombay... the MIT of India.

Briefs: Unreasonable update; Elon Musk's talk to HSF panel - RLV News

Statement of Administration Policy H.R. 2847 -- Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (NASA Excerpt) - SpaceRef:

... The Administration is concerned with the elimination of $21 million from the request for NASA innovation, which uses public-private partnerships to advance important technologies and enable access to new sources of innovation through incentive prizes and partnerships. ...

I'd guess that this is related to the cuts mentionedin this comment from "Jim" (if I can guess twice in 1 sentence: Jim Muncy?) here: House Budget

Testing results summary from the KC Space Pirates - Space Elevator Blog

A New Dawn for Commercial Spaceflight - The Launch Pad

@Pomerantz - I'm pretty excited that Wikipedia's Pic of the Day yesterday was Armadillo's Pixel (just before the 2006 #NGLLC)! http://tr.im/pcqT

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lunar Prize Update - June 19-20, 2009

In celebration of LRO and LCROSS, today's post will be all about prizes with lunar themes:

Omega Envoy To Test X PRIZE Rover In Simulated Mars Mission On Devon Island - Omega Envoy - Today we are announcing an expedition in collaboration with 4Frontiers Corporation and the National Space Society to the Mars Socitey's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island.

Giant Leaps Symposium - Next Giant Leap - I mentioned this MIT symposium in an earlier post or 2, and Next Gian Leap has some pictures from it.

@Regolith_Chal - Putting together some info on media exposure from last year for you all.

@OmegaEnvoy - At 1pm on austrian public radio Ö1 is airing Guido Meyer's report about the #glxp teams. We are on it! http://tinyurl.com/n4cjc4

@wikkit - One of the guys from TrueZer0, a unique rocket team, is here. Portends of a geeky dinner.

@dmasten - Just finished dinner with Scott of TrueZero.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prize Roundup - June 17-18, 2009

The pre-Space Elevator games action continues at the Dryden Flight Research Center:

@NASAPrize - setting up winch on the lakebed at dryden
Snagged! - Space Elevator Games
Status... - Space Elevator Blog
@SEGames - Laser testing happening in 2 different places (2 different lasers). I'm sticking with the LaserMotive test for now.

Those are just the latest posts/tweets; check the histories for more.

A video... - Regolith Excavation Challenge - Here is a video with some interesting information about excavation systems that have been tested by NASA, and some of the things they are considering using them for. Featured is NASA's Rob Mueller, who has participated on our panel of judges for the Regolith Excavation Challenge every year since it's beginning in 2007.

University Students Win NASA/NIA Moon Design Competition - press release on SpaceRef - Students from Georgia Tech, North Carolina State University, and the University of Maryland took first place honors in the 2009 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts Academic Linkage or RASC-AL contest sponsored by NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA). ... In the graduate division a team of Georgia Tech and North Carolina State University students studying at NIA won first place for their project titled, "Reusable Lunar Transportation Architecture Utilizing Orbital Propellant Depots." ... First place for the undergraduate division went to the University of Maryland for their project called, "Project ASHLAIN: A Lunar Flying Vehicle for Rapid Universal Surface Access."

White House Calls for Prize Suggestions - The Launch Pad

@PeterDiamandis - great meetings with BT on innovation here in Singapore. Anousheh, just spoke about her Space Adventures flight!

Unreasonable update - RLV News

@jeff_foust - Congrats to Craig Covault of Spaceflight Now for winning 2009 Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award for Space: http://is.gd/14LCQ

@mahsataheran - @Pomerantz BTW, I heard you work on debris prize... I work on technical issues on collision prediction.Told nicole about it
@Pomerantz - @mahsataheran Yes, that's definitely green on my avatar! And thanks for passing on suggestions about debris--it's something of interest...
@Pomerantz - @
fox_in_space No, no more details--it's just something on our radar screen for a potential future prize.

@Doug_Comstock - Heading to London to give a speech Thursday at the UK National Healthcare System (NHS) Innovation Expo on healthcare innovations from space.
Gave speech this morning at the NHS Innovation Expo in London. Doing several press interviews on how space exploration drives innovation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Team 7141

Blog will follow Madison West rocket team in Paris - Wisconsin State Journal - Follow the adventures of national rocket champions from Madison West on their blog from the International Paris Air Show this week.

Team 7141's Paris Trip - blog

Monday, June 15, 2009

Space Elevator Games Test Week

A lot is happening with the setup and testing for the 2009 Space Elevator Games this week:

Space Elevator Blog:

And so it begins… - I’m now transitioning to “Space Elevator Week”. ... I’ll pick up a car and head on out to Mojave to meet up with Ben Shelef, CEO of the Spaceward Foundation (hosts of the Space Elevator Games) and various Climber / Power-Beaming team members. ...We’ll have a helicopter, we’ll have a winch, we’ll have a steel cable, we’ll have climbers, we’ll have lasers and we’ll have bodies - This coming week is intended to put it all together so that when the actual Games happen (the week of July 13th), all of the teams will have the maximum opportunity to put together a winning climb.

Monday first tasks… - We’re now here at Dryden, on the base, in the workshop, beginning to put the physical structures in place for this year’s Space Elevator Games (the planning structures were started long ago). Today is a day for building stuff (’swinging a hammer’) and, if all goes according to plan, we hope to do our first actual flight test at noon tomorrow.

More Monday Nuts & Bolts… - This one covers a safety device for the helicopter, protection on the ground in case the device is used, the first team there (Kansas City Space Pirates), and
the filming crew from Bitter Jester Creative.

From the Space Elevator Games:

The Quiet Before the Storm - Driving down to Dryden this week are:
  • Keith Mackey, helicopter expert extraordinaire
  • Vern McGeorge, pilot and Spaceward’s ops director
  • Ted Semon, blogger extraordinaire
  • Len Angle, electrical and long time help
  • Christopher “Neil” Lysons, new crew member and John Cleese impersonator
  • Michael Keating, new crew member, physics teacher from Pasadena.
  • Nic DeGrazia and camera, the official games video-scribe
  • Kathy Norman - long time help and media/VIP liaison
  • Robert Mykland - new crew member, video cook and blogger’s assistant

The teams are have also started their trek - KCSP will be here tonight, LM will start arriving on Tuesday, followed in order by USST, McGill, UMich and NSS.

Why Stress?

@segames is tweeting, too.

CanSat 2009?

Rocket science revelry - Amarillo.com - Competition launches Friday in Wayside - The competition it's referring to is the 2009 CanSat Competition. However, I dont' see any news on the event yet.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Non-Space Prize Roundup - June 13, 2009

February 2009 - Geotagged Photo Contest Winners - Panoramio - The image on the right is one of the honorable mentions. As usual, I pick one that makes me think of space for some reason - in this case because it seems like a satellite image. Also as usual, you'll want to check out the full set in full resolution and within the geospatial applications. Note: Because the winners are announced in a later month, I'm almost caught up! These were posted on May 7.

X PRIZE Cars blog is back:

Automotive X Prize News: May 27th, 2009
Automotive X Prize News: June 5th, 2009

From MIT News:

'Bother bots' win the day - Annual 2.007 robot competition features good defense
Husk Insulation wins $200,000 MIT Clean Energy Prize - Team from University of Michigan focused on advanced bio-based insulation
Ksplice software update project wins $100K competition - Global Cycle bike adapter is audience pick

Top honors this year in the 20th annual MIT $100k Entrepreneurship Competition went to Ksplice, a system that promises to end the annoyance and delays of having to reboot a computer every time a new update is installed. ...

Global Bicycle Solutions, winner of the audience choice award, has developed a simple system that can be attached to an ordinary bicycle to enable its pedal power to be used for other functions, such as removing kernels from corn, grinding grain or charging cell phones.

MassChallenge ~ Commonwealth Venture Funds! - Maximizing Progress
MassChallenge -

We propose using a combination of public and private funds to catalyze growth and jobs by launching a $25M dollar Venture Funds Competition in Massachusetts across 6 tracks:
  • Healthcare, and Life Sciences
  • IT, Software, and Gaming
  • Clean Technology and Energy
  • Social Development and Non-profit
  • Open Category, Seed Stage
  • Open Category, Expansion Stage

A Venture Funds Competition combines the collaborative, educational and catalytic impact of a business plan competition with the business and job creation of a seed fund.

Gleanings from X Prize/I2I - MIT Ideas Global Challenge

From Prize4Life:

Prize4Life and the Alzheimer Research Forum Announce Launch of New Web-Portal for ALS Research - Prize4Life and the Alzheimer Research Forum announce the release of the ALS Forum (www.ResearchALS.org) ...

$1M Biomarker Prize Challenge re-posted on InnoCentive - Prize4Life's $1 million ALS Biomarker Prize has re-opened. The goal of this prize competition is to discover a biomarker of ALS disease progression that can reduce the time and cost of clinical trials.

Recall that Prize4Life recently awarded 2 prizes for progress towards the Biomarker goal. Now the prize has a rolling deadline (first-to-win).

Prize4Life News Digest - 6/10
Prize4Life News Digest - 6/3
Prize4Life News Digest - 5/28
Prize4Life News Digest

From the X PRIZE Foundation News Scroller:

Gene sequencing will cost $1,000 in about 2 years, scientists predict - Boston Herald.com
Don't Let Innovation Go Over Your Head - 1to1 media
incentive2innovate - Peter Diamandis and Matt Bross - Business Strategy Innovation

Friday, June 12, 2009

Space Prize Roundup - June 12, 2009

The Lunar Lander Eggs Prize Video - Omega Envoy at the Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page

Earth Science Week 2009 Contests for K-12 Students – Deadline October 16, 2009 - Oregon Space Grant Consortium Blog -Students may want to start work now on their entries for the Earth Science Week 2009 competitions in photography, visual arts and essay.

World Oceans Day, 3D Design Competition, Britain Archeological Site, New Imagery Tour Idea - Google Earth Blog

Here's a link for the 3D Google Earth/Sketch-Up Design Competition: Design It Shelter Competition

Curiosity: Author Robert A. Heinlein exiled to Jet Propulsion Laboratory's cafeteria in 1976 - Maroooned: Science Fiction books on Mars - The winning of the Mars Science Laboratory rover naming contest leads, somehow, to a curious recollection by Jerry Pournelle.

Campbell Award Finalists - Science Fiction Awards Watch

Here are updates from 3 N-Prize teams:

Quick Update - Kiwi2Space (I don't think it's a permalink) - heres a run down on whats been happening since Space Access.

The Team Prometheus blog continues to be active. I'm just going to point you to the June archives because there isn't much point in my going over each post - I can't explain the videos and pictures better than watching them and the text is short so not easily summarized. Suffice it to say that you should check it out: Team Prometheus Blog June archives

The image for this post is from Prometheus.

Engine Test Equipment - Nebula Aerospace

I mentioned this briefly in late May, but there are lots more links and a video here: Utah State team won Student Launch Initiative top prize - RLV News

@Regolith_Chal - Those interested in something robotic this weekend should check out @robogames at http://www.robogames.net/ Looks to be an amazing event.

Move An Asteroid 2009 International Technical Paper Competition is Go - Planetary Defense blog

@glxp - #GLXP team @NextGiantLeap featured in this story from the MIT News Office http://bit.ly/iE5lH

Thursday, June 11, 2009

House Budget

House appropriators make no changes to NASA budget - Space Politics - I'm linking to this to point out a comment there by Jim:

While everyone is understandably worried about the cut to exploration, there are some other problems in the details:

1) they once again zero funding for new Centennial Challenges plus two other Innovative Partnerships programs, one of which buys commercial microgravity and (in the future) suborbital SLV science flights.

2) they appear to have cut back funds previously provided in FY2009 for COTS activities


ISS commercial resupply rescission? - Space Politics

An explanation for that COTS “rescission” - Space Politics

Space Prize Roundup - June 11, 2009

How NASA Can Keep Up with Star Trek (and China) in Space - Esquire - Private efforts like the Ansari X PRIZE and Google Lunar X PRIZE are mentioned.

New Scientist moon rock contest - Space for All

@Regolith_Chal - Are you a fan of Lunar exploration? Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of humanity's first giant leap with NASA: http://moonfest.arc.nasa.gov/

The competition event is being moved to October 17-18, 2009. An announcement with more details will be coming out later today.

@glxp - You should definitely follow #GLXP team @NextGiantLeap who is tweeting from the MIT Apollo 40th celebration/symposium http://bit.ly/SD9d5

Also tweeting from #GiantLeaps MIT Apollo Celebration is X PRIZE's own @ad_astra2 who heads the X PRIZE Lab at MIT.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prize Roundup - June 10, 2009

@Pomerantz - RT @megmurfff: X PRIZE on CNBC's Squawk Box this morning! http://bit.ly/2yBk0

Another great piece in space.com's series on the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams. This one on team Chandah: http://bit.ly/M0jm4 #GLXP

@Bob_Richards - Giving @Moon4You paper this morning at the Toronto Planetary & Terrestrial Mining Sciences Symposium http://bit.ly/sRwt3

@http://twitter.com/Doug_Comstock - Check out the new Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP) website just launched today, at http://www.nasa.gov/offices....

The Space Show - Listen Live (today) - Space Elevator Games - ("today" was 2 days ago - the linked post is from June 8).

Winners of NASA's Second Annual Lunar Art Contest - Space for All

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

Prize Roundup - June 8, 2009

The incentive2innovate (i2i) conference is underway.

From the i2i blog:

incentive2innovate Day 1 Photo Slideshow
Some reactions from the crowd: Edmond Bina
Don Tapscott, author of Grown Up Digital
Some Photos from Day 1, early
Greeting from Robert K. Weiss
Welcome to incentive2innovate

Also check here for updates: @i_2_i twitter and @PeterDiamandis twitter.

@Doug_Comstock from NASA Innovative Partnerships Program (home of the Centennial Challenge prizes) is at i2i.

Speed Up static fire test - RLV News

Liability problems stop up hydrogen peroxide supplies - RLV News on an Unreasonable Rocket post

Review: The New Moon Race - The Space Review - Jeff Foust

3D Lander CAD Model - Next Giant Leap at Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page - In addition to the CAD model which will draw your eyes first, note:

Next Giant Leap will be unveiling a full size mockup of our lander next week during the "Giant Leaps" symposium at MIT.

Giant Leaps - MIT

SYNERGY MOON Robotics Group - SYNERGY MOON at Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page

Prep Rocket Designers Get Boost from Mentor - The Official Homepage of the United States Army

Friday, June 05, 2009

Prize Roundup - June 5, 2009

A Commentary on the Future of the American Space Program: I Get Who, What, Where & When but Why? - Ian Murphy (National Space Society blog):

Maybe it’s because I come from the X PRIZE school of thought so eloquently framed by Dr. Peter H. Diamandis when he states “It is the purpose of NASA to push the limits of what can be humans can do in space and it is the duty of the private sector to industrialize in their wake.”

NG-LLC rules and registration posted - RLV News - This includes some critical comments on the rules, including media rights. Some of the Google Lunar X PRIZE teams and potential teams with plans for media income had similar thoughts for that competition's rules - and in that case the X PRIZE Foundation responded with their justification and media plans.

(Later) ... and now that it's later in the day Will Pomerantz has responded on this one, too: Answering Some Questions about Media Rights - The Launch Pad

Masten Space XA-0.1B 60 sec flight video - RLV News

Masten Space Systems Update - NASA Spaceflight forums - Jon Goff answers a couple questions at the (current) end of this thread.

Ready to Innovate - Mike Fabio on the I2I Conference blog

meet the teams - Space Elvator Games

Submission Deadline Extended for SFF and Heinlein Trust $5,000 NewSpace Business Plan Prize - SpaceRef

@segames - Worked out a back-up station-keeping method, in case the GPS based system doesn't work as expected. Independent review team meeting tomorrow

@glxp - RT @i_2_i: The X PRIZErs are arriving in NYC for #i2i. Here's a photo gallery of the preparations: http://bit.ly/T2zem

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Prize Roundup - June 4, 2009

Special ESA prize to be awarded in European Satellite Navigation Competition - press release on SpaceRef

Gruber: $500, 000 Cosmology Prize Awarded for Work on Hubble Constant - press release on SpaceRef

@isdc - Check out pictures from the conference: http://bit.ly/H7WxV

@glxp - RT @OmegaEnvoy: RT @ny2space Omega Envoy Lunar Lander Eggs Prize Competition sponsored by Space Florida http://bit.ly/e5CNy

The previous link is of photos of Omega Envoy Lunar Lander Eggs Prize Contest at ISDC 2009 sponsored by Space Florida.

Ladies and Gentleman, Start Your Engines! - The Launch Pad on the next chapter of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge

@i_2_i - NEWS: #i2i registration is now full! Please register now if you are interested and we are creating and working a waiting list to accomodate

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Prize Roundup - June 2-3, 2009

Vertica Takeoff and Landing looking up - RLV News - This gives an assessment of the current state of play in this niche, including the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

@cswiki - List of suborbital launch vehicle companies/teams now at full compliment of 11 at http://tinyurl.com/n8h8df. Next up, orbital LV companies.

The list now includes even more Lunar Lander Challenge teams.

Masten Space makes 60 sec tethered test flight - RLV News

A Very Successful Lunar Lander Eggs Prize - Omega Envoy at Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page (discussing a contest they held at the 2009 ISDC)

SYNERGY MOON Launch Providers Speak at LA Adventurers' Club - SYNERGY Moon at Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page

To The Moon, By Way Of MIT - Red Orbit -

Another forward-looking project is one led by former astronaut Hoffman, who is working with a team including MIT students that plans to compete in the Google Lunar X-Prize Competition. ... The MIT team's approach involves using a unique "hopper" design. The craft would land, like the Apollo module, using a retro-rocket to control its descent. But then it would re-light the rocket, rise a short distance and move across the surface before making a second landing.

The article also discusses the Giant Leaps Apollo celebration at MIT with many prominent speakers and interesting-sounding events.

Briefs: Laliberte confirmed; GLXP LunaTrex team - RLV News

IEEE Spectum space podcasts - RLV News - One of the podcasts is on the Carnegie Mellon University entry in the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

'Nascar in the Sky' Still Taxiing - Forbes covers the Rocket Racing League during a tough business environment.

Team agreement updated with new deadlines - Reglolith Excavation Challenge

@segames - Back in bay area. Dryden have located cable parachute for us. Have another volunteer, have to pull the trigger on major items tomorrow.

In Lancaster, more meetings tomorrow at the base - detailed planning of test procedures, airfield briefing.

Met with Aris's crew today, went over plans and options. Saw the helicopter, pictures soon on the blog (http://www.SpaceElevatorGam...)

Status Report - Engine 58, Cables, Parachutes - Space Elevator Games

junk - Space Elevator Games:

As explained before, when preparing the games, we need to coordinate our lasing activities with the Laser Clearinghouse, so we know that we don’t accidentally illuminate a satellite. By the time our laser beam reaches orbital altitudes (let’s say 200 km) it is very dispersed – about 200 meters across – but it can still pose a risk to sensitive downwards looking optical equipment (wink wink nudge nudge). The Laser Clearinghouse is a Department of Defense service whose purpose is to coordinate lasing activities above the horizon, so that commercial lasing activity is not impeded. ...

I'll also note that the site lists the Tether Challenge as being held on 8/13 in Seattle, where the Space Elevator Conference is being held. I haven't heard of any contenders this year, though.

@glxp - The bad news: I've had a crazy busy day. The good news: we've got some exciting news for you all very very soon.

Yikes. Been in #i2i all-hands meetings this afternoon. I come out and the skies are dark and there's thunder. In Los Angeles!

Also, you should start following @i_2_i ... why? Because yours truly will be tweeting from it next week from the United Nations.

@PeterDiamandis has some ideas to cure his plane travel woes:

5 cities in 2 days... mega tired of planes... now a 3 hr ground delay @ Dulles! teleportation x PRIZE??

and... yes i do delegate... and we have brainstormed a hypersonic X PRIZE

nickyjor - RT @glxp: Just had a great webinar with our #GLXP teams on blogging and online outreach. Can't wait to see what they post in the next week.

Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE Announces Hire of Senior Director Eric Cahill - X PRIZE Foundation press release

Robot of the Week: Nereus, underwater robot reaches bottom of Mariana Trench - The Launch Pad -

The X PRIZE Foundation is proud to be exploring new incentive prizes that could drive innovation very similar to the Nereus voyage. While over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, only 2% of the ocean's depths have been explored. The economic potential from mineral, fuel, biological, and medical discoveries should not be underestimated.

Healthcare X PRIZE - Additional Questions and Answers - Healthcare X PRIZE blog
Measuring Health Value - Shifting the Paradigm - Healthcare X PRIZE blog

Monday, June 01, 2009

Space Prize Roundup - June 1, 2009

NSTA Partners with the Conrad Foundation to Promote and Support Annual Education Competition - National Science Teachers Association

Briefs: Augustine panel mtg. date; Protecting historic lunar sites - RLV News - The historical lunar sites theme, discussed in an article from the LA Times, deals with the Google Lunar X PRIZE heritage/historical site bonus prize. Given the potential historical significance of a prize winner itself in continuing the work that Apollo and related efforts started, I think this is taking things way too far:

It is not too late for the sponsors to withdraw their bonus prize for approaching and imaging lunar landing sites. Indeed, they should ban competitors from targeting regions within 100 kilometers of prior lunar landings, with violators excluded from receiving any prize money.

In fact, if such rules were enforced generally (i.e. outside the prize competition) we'd start running out of real estate to land on if we consider newer landers to be historical.

Here's a different attitude: Preserving Tranquility - Seed Magazine page listed on BuzzAldrin.com:

Not everyone from the Apollo era is convinced the sites should be off-limits. As part of his Apollo 11 moonwalk, Buzz Aldrin deployed a solar-powered seismometer near the spacecraft. “The seismometer experimenter told me, ‘After you deploy the solar panels in the sunlight, don’t walk in front of them, or you might interrupt the flow of electricity and damage things,’” Aldrin recalls. “Well, if you look very carefully in front of those panels, you’ll see some footprints there. I guess I wouldn’t mind too much if somebody went up there to brush those away.”

I can understand the appeal of having a historical site bonus (give the "Moon hoax" conspiracy theorists something upon which to build added convoluted layers of consiracy theory, add to the visual and emotional content for media appeal). However, my favorite sites for lunar landers are the top 2 or 3 candidates for a lunar base rather than previously-visited sites. It would be fun for a team to get there first, and it may also be quite useful for planning purposes to take an up-close-and-personal sneak preview of them.

@glxp - RT @SoldTheMoon: LA Times op-ed ignores that US team will need FAA launch license which reviews whether a mission is in the public interest

The Heritage Bonus (i.e. lunar history preservation) debate is picking up some steam over on our Facebook page: http://bit.ly/GLXPFB

@Regolith_Chal - Day one of exhibiting at Maker Faire nearly complete. Lots of people excited about NASA prizes and excavators. A creative crowd!

@OmegaEnvoy - Lunar Lander Eggs Prize was a success, thanks #ISDC! Lots of video and pics coming soon. #GLXP

@NebulaAerospace - Type K thermocouple wire arrived today. An important part to measure engine start, and make sure nothing overheats.

OK, game finished http://tinyurl.com/n3p3l9. If I ever get free time again, I might do another.

@segames - Done with weekly team meeting. Topics of the day were: Laser testing specs, and top-of-climb indicator.

Not going to Maker Faire today, just too much other stuff to do. Sorry, Andy.

Rewriting laser test procedures and re-visiting the rulebook so everything is updated and reflects recent changes (e.g. new helicopter)

@PeterDiamandis - Waking up in Toronto, giving keynote at conference then flying to DC for meetings at NASA HQ later today

@ec_anderson - Very excited for this Thursday the 4th, preparing for press announcement regarding next private orbital space traveler. Stay tuned!

@Bob_Richards - Space Adventures to announce intent to fly 1st Canadian Private Space Explorer Jun 4 [it's not me :)] http://bit.ly/w9o0R

@tedprize - Nominations open for 2010 TED Prize. Looking for inventors, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, visionaries, mavericks http://bit.ly/yBkuo

@isdc - Last day of ISDC. Travel back safely and see you in Chicago next year!