Monday, November 30, 2009

Space Frontier Ideas, Student Prizes, Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Action, Earth Prizes

NASA Centennial Challenges

@SpaceFrontier: The Space Frontier Foundation's 2009 submission to NASA for six new prizes to Centennial Challenges.

Some of the ideas include the "Explore Space!" student science fair competition where the prize is student access to a suborbital rocket, suborbital point-to-point travel, and a follow-on to the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

The SunBreak on Jordin Kare and LaserMotive - LaserMotive


@TeamPrometheus: Working on the Ground Station!

Google Lunar X PRIZE

@synergymoon: Stand tests like this and our first Synergy Moon Flight Test of a Common Propulsion Module are coming up in...

@whitelabelspace: Steve Allen is back, and just in time!: I'm happy to report that our illustrious team leader Steve Allen has go..

From the linked White Label Space article:

... Steve got back in time to help us put the finishing touches on our most important publication to date! It's a document we are calling the Mission Concept Summary, and it explains the main details of our technical approach to the Google Lunar X PRIZE. We will publish it in the next 24 hours, so stay tuned to this web space!

... New partners are coming on and we also have some top-ranking contributors that we can't talk about yet ...

@arcaspace: After ARCA’s launch attempt of Helen rocket, we received several questions. We listed a short FAQ and their...

Moon race 2.0? Count Russia in - RT

2009 Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group: An Official Report - Lunar Networks

Off to find the art side of the Moon - Times Higher Education

Google Lunar X Prize Roundup #2 - Lunar C/I

Student Prizes

@spacehack: New project added to Spacehack: Spirit of Innovation Awards: Aerospace Exploration: #students #international

@ConradAwards: Next live Web chat tomorrow 12/1 Laura Schoppe Protecting your Research Project for Commercialization, 3-4 PST

@Pomerantz: Know some smart HS or College students? RT @bnjacobs: You still have time to register for the Great Moonbuggy race!

GIS, Earth Environment and Science

@VerySpatial: We have the Gone Trekking iPhone app to give away Tweet us your favorite trek by Dec 2 for chance to win.

@gisuser: ESRI Canada's Green Roof Wins 2009 Design Exchange Award

Barrasso co-sponsors bill to create technology contest - Senators copy NASA model for climate change -

Google Lunar X PRIZE fans may like these:

@EarthPic: Earth Science Picture of the Day: Crescent Moon and Poseidon Temple

@EarthPic: Earth Science Picture of the Day: Harvest Moon above the Valley of the Moon

Monday, November 23, 2009

SBIRS and STTRS; Masten Job; Sample of Google Lunar X PRIZE Updates

@SoldTheMoon NASA awarded Astrobotic two SBIR/STTR contracts today, to study excavation robots and lunar gravity simulations.

Here's the list of SBIR awards from NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program 2009 Phase 1 Proposals Selected for Negotiation of Contracts

There are a lot that sound interesting; I'll just pick a few with a prize spin (either the organization is involved with prizes, the subject matter is related to some prominent space prizes, or both):

Astrobotic Technology, Inc.: Lightweight Robotic Excavation
Grainflow Dynamics, Inc.: Low-Gravity Mimicking Simulants and Evaluation of Simulant Flow
Los Gatos Research: Novel Instrumentation for Lunar Regolith Oxygen Production Facilities
Micro-Space, Inc.: Automatic Solar and Celestial Navigation on the Moon and Mars
Paragon Space Development Corporation: Contaminant Robust System for Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith
Pioneer Astronautics: Lunar Organic Waste Reformer
Plasma Processes, Inc.: Mass Production of Mature Lunar Regolith Simulant
Ventions, LLC: Regeneratively-Cooled, Turbopump-Fed, LOX/Methane Lunar Ascent Engines

On the STTR side, we have NASA 2009 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Phase 1 Award Selections

Here are some STTR examples:

Astrobotic Technology, Inc.: Scalable Gravity Offload System
Orion Propulsion, Inc.: Carbon Nano-Composite Ablative Rocket Nozzles
ProtoInnovations, LLC (CMU): Reliable Autonomous Surface Mobility (RASM) in Support of Human Exploration

@synergymoon First preparations for Orbital SkyDive..... :) Neb

@selenokhod I uploaded a YouTube video -- Selenokhod at Memorial Museum of Cosmonatics, Russian TV cnannel NTV

@TeamFREDNET Tomorrow we'll have an internal demo of our Lego Mindstorm setup ( Public demo to follow soon.

@colinake I'll miss the people at GTRI, but I'm excited to say I'm taking a full-time gig with @MastenSpace 2 weeks from today! Pumped, I say!

@ConradAwards Next live Web chat 12/1 Laura Schoppe on Protecting your Research Project for Commercialization, 3-4 PST

Sunday, November 22, 2009

N-Prize Twitter List, Science Art, Power Beaming Next Year, Glove Wins Reviewed, More


Yes, I made another one: N-Prize twitter list. One of the tweets there points out that there are a lot of recent updates on the Team Prometheus blog, such as:

Frednet Lander Progress!
More Liquid Fuel Engine Progress!
More Launcher Progress!
Tiny Satellite Prototype!

Actually you might want to check out the entire November archive. You will see in some of the posts that Team Prometheus is collaborating with Google Lunar X PRIZE Team FREDNET.

Astronaut Glove Challenge

High-Tech Space Gloves Win NASA's Astronaut Glove Challenge - Popular Science

$350,000 given in glove design - Florida Today - I have to admit that I prefer Florida Today's prize total addition to Popular Science's.

Astronaut Glove Challenge Winners Announced - Universe Today

NASA Awards $350,000 to Winning Astronaut Glove Designers - On Orbit

Space Elevator Games - Power Beaming/Climber

Jordin Kare and LaserMotive - RLV News

Fox News coverage of the Space Elevator Games - Space Elevator Blog

Next Power Beaming Challenge competition set for May - RLV News

Post-competition analysis from LaserMotive - Space Elevator Blog

Other Prizes

Big pictures of tiny wonders - Cosmic Log covers the Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition. It also gives a list of other similar competitions combining science and art that will keep you clicking for quite a while.

2010 University Rover Challenge - Space for All

The Suborbital Refueling Dance - Transterrestrial Musings suggests a couple more rocketry prizes.

Spaceship design contest entries - Space for All

CSA Announces 2009 SpotBeam Award Recipients (PDF) - California Space Authority

Young Entrepreneurs Visit White House - OSTP Blog discusses the winners of the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Mathematics and Materials Science Research Take Top Prize at Nation's Premier High School Science Competition - PR Newswire

LEAG 2009 Debrief - Out of the Cradle - In addition to covering the 2009 Lunar Exploration Analysis Group conference, which may be of interest to Google Lunar X PRIZE teams, this includes information on several student contests:

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Update (November 25):

Here's another secret!
@glxp Scheming to start a secret project, to be revealed at Christmas if all goes to plan!

Earlier secrets:

@dmasten - I wake up to #LHC spooling up, #STS129 EVA2, Spirit doing another drive, and stuff I cant say yet. What an awesome time to be alive!

Stuff Dave Masten can't say yet? I have to assume that with Dave's reaction, whatever it is, it's good.

@jeff_foust - NASA's Jay Steptoe on MPLMs used to carry supplies to ISS: "there will be future uses of them that I can't talk about yet."

I've heard of potential uses for modified MPLMs as storage areas on the ISS.

@alanstern - is anticipating an extensive new exploration of the Moon.

Back from DC. Saw the Moon every night and wondered if I might just go there after all. Shhhh. Something's brewing almost no one knows.

Count me in the "doesn't know" category. I'll give an opinion here that's similar to one I gave in a recent post. Regardless of whether the reaction to the Augustine Committee report is something like the report's "Flexible Path" or "Moon First", a strong push with robotic lunar precursors and a generally strong push towards the Moon is in order.

Moon First is, of course, all about the Moon for the time being.

Flexible Path starts with Earth-Moon Lagrange points and lunar orbit, which calls for substantial robotic lunar work. In fact, if the Augustine assessment that it will take quite a few years to start human beyond-LEO missions is right, it makes even more sense to make a strong robotic push so we can make valuable progress in the meantime.

Earth-Moon Lagrange points and lunar orbit also encourage us to set up space infrastructure that will help enable later astronaut visits to the lunar surface, and that in the long run could use lunar resources. Flexible Path emphasizes deep space destinations for astronauts, but the lunar surface is an astronaut destination in the Flexible Path that is strongly encouraged by the Augustine report. The costed version of the Flexible Path includes it, and it uses commercial services like those that are anticipated from the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge and the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Automotive X PRIZE Twitter List

Yes, inspired by Progressive Automotive X PRIZE blog post Team Summit Day #1 - Teams Get Schooled in Competition PR and Social Media, here's another twitter list:

Progressive Automotive X PRIZE twitter list

It's also in the "list of twitter lists" on the top right of the Space Prizes blog main page. I have a few teams on the list, and some other twitter accounts that may be of interest to PIAXP followers. For example, I included @EVCUP - "Organising the first Electric Vehicle Racing Cup!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Late in the Astronaut Glove Challenge Day - Winners!

Here's a twitter list for the Astronaut Glove Challenge:

Alternately, you could just go to twitter and search for some variant on the challenge name.

As I'm finishing up this post, I see Doug Comstock posted the following a couple minutes ago!

@Doug_Comstock: Peter Homer wins $250k 1st prize and Ted Southern wins $100k 2nd prize in Astro Glove Challenge. Congrats to both for a great competition!

@NASAPrize: testing all done judges will meet to determine scores

Peter Homer's glove passed burst test reaching 20 psi with no leak

Ted's passed reaching 17 psi

You can see some pictures from some of the other tweets.

Astronaut Glove Challenge underway - RLV News

Designing Astronaut Gloves - MIT Technology Review

NASA challenges inventors to improve space gloves - Florida Today

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Astronaut Glove, LEAG Meeting, MoonBots, more

@NextGiantLeap Good luck to @pkhomer this Thursday, re: the $400K Astronaut Glove Challenge!

From the linked NASA IPP press release:

At least two competitors are expected, including Peter Homer, the winner of the competition held in 2007.

@selenokhod I uploaded a YouTube video -- Selenokhod at TvRoscosmos

@MoonBots: We're having a MoonBots planning call right now! Moonbots will be back!

Tentative Dates - 2nd International CanSat Competition in Madrid

Its Time To Push NASA Prizes Even Further - NASA Watch on a post from the JSC Advanced Planning Office Blog

Here are some Google Lunar X PRIZE team members presenting at the Annual Meeting of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG 2009) (PDF) being held November 16-19:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 1:15 p.m. Panel: Robotic Lunar Rover Prospectors
Whitaker W. (Carnegie Mellon Institute)

Poster Session: Cohanim B. Joyce M. Mosher T. Tuohy S. Cunio P.

Poster Session: Richards R. D.

These are just the ones I noticed; I wouldn't be surprised if there are more there.


Briefs: EVA interviews Next Giant Leap; White Label Space team - RLV News

@VerySpatial GAW Contest - What country is the home to Lake Nasser? DM your answer by 11:59 PM PST for chance to win.

@bonnova New video: 106 sec. rocket engine hot fire

@LaserMotive Discussions have begun on holding the next phase of the competition. We will be there!

In my ongoing twitter management quest, I've updated some twitter searches at the top left of the Space Prizes blog to use Twitter Lists, and added some new lists. Some are links to other peoples' lists. The ones I've made are:

Space Elevator Games
Regolith Excavation Challenge
More Google Lunar X PRIZE
X PRIZE Foundation Space
X PRIZE Foundation Other
More Prizes
Commercial Space
Space Media
Digital Globes, Remote Sensing

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lunar Water

Yesterday, in celebration of the LCROSS water discovery, Google put up a Google Doodle with a LCROSS theme. If you click on it you get search results on the water news. The Doodle still up this morning. I'm not sure if the Doodles are based on UTC time or not always up exactly 1 day. In case this one is gone by the time you read this, you can see what it looks like here:

Google doodle: water found on the moon by Nasa -

Doodle 4 Google - Google - This is the 2009 student contest with the theme "What I Wish for the World". You can see the winner and finalist art there.

Water Found on Moon, Researchers Say - New York Times

A Wet Moon Is Hot Once Again - NASA Watch:

... Meanwhile, word has it that NASA is now looking to match Google's $30 million pledge to the Google Lunar X Prize - and that Google may up their ante as well.

These would be interesting developments if they happen. I've thought for a long time that NASA and the world's other space agencies should make the most of the Google Lunar X PRIZE, but my concept for how they should do that is some or all of the following:

  • make serious moves to buy services from teams that demonstrate lunar capabilities the space agency can use
  • offer prizes that "fit" with the Google Lunar X PRIZE in the sense that similar components might be used to get to the Moon or operate once there, like non-mobile landers, regolith excavators, or ISRU demonstrators
  • offer additional bonus prizes or augment existing bonus prizes
  • offer a 3rd place prize and/or larger 2nd place prize
  • see the first bullet again, and again
I'd hesitate to add to the main prize, simply because that might encourage more high-cost systems. However, without knowing details of teams' fundraising efforts, I could certainly understand that even there a recalibration might be in order considering the global economic setbacks that have happened since the original Google Lunar X PRIZE plan.

It will be interesting to see how the LCROSS results feed into the decision-making process related to the Augustine Committee "Moon First" and "Flexible Path" options. My take is that the Augustine options really aren't "pure" - they have "off-ramps". Flexible Path has an "off-ramp" using commercial participation to help get astronauts to the Moon's surface. It also starts with trips to lunar orbit and Earth-Moon Lagrange points. Those initial destinations strike me as being all about lunar observations, lunar telerobotics, and space infrastructure for lunar and deep space access. The space infrastructure could even include refueling nodes that could use propellant derived from Earth or lunar resources.

It seems to me that both "Moon First" and "Flexible Path" need ambitious lunar robotics efforts.

Briefs: SpaceX protests USAF launch contract; CCDev update - RLV News - The first part of this concerns the launcher for LADEE, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer orbiter.

Friday, November 13, 2009

LCROSS Results, Patch Contests, 2009 Astronaut Glove Challenge, SEDS Conference, Recent Elevator Games

Space Fellowship hosts alternative Google Lunar X PRIZE Forum - Space Fellowship

Most Valuable Real Estate in the Solar System: Water on Lunar South Pole - Peter Diamandis at The Launch Pad:

I’m particularly excited for all of the teams building vehicles for the Google Lunar X PRIZE. ... Think of these vehicles as a low-cost ‘prospectors’ looking for information and valuable data, as well as the companies constructing the shovels and picks on the bleeding edge of this potential boom.

LCROSS Changes the Game, Discovers Significant Amounts of Water on the Moon - The Launch Pad

NASA offers $400,000 for super space glove - Network World - I haven't heard any news about competitors this year, but this may be a hint:

NASA said the competition will test gloves from at least two contestants that will measure the gloves' dexterity and strength during operation in a glove box that simulates the vacuum of space.

NASTAR Suborbital Scientist Training Program Patch Contest - NASA Watch

Last patch for the last Shuttle flight - Space for All

SEDS SpaceVision 2009 at Univ. of Arizona - RLV News - The conference includes a number of speakers with prize connections, such as Ben Brockert (Masten Space Systems), Bob Richards (Odyssey Moon), Ken Davidian (former NASA Centennial Challenges manager), Peter Diamandis, and Richard Garriott (who used a competition as part of his space flight).

Going from lunar landing to suborbital flight - RLV News - Unreasonable Rocket considers what's needed for the next big step.

The three caballeros… - The Space Elevator Blog

LaserMotive’s first prize-winning run - The Space Elevator Blog - It includes the key video.

Press Release and Tech Discussion of Competition Results - LaserMotive:

“Now that we have dramatically demonstrated the capabilities of laser power beaming, we will be going on to new projects,” said Dr. Jordin Kare, chief engineer for the project. “We look forward to working with NASA and DOD, as well as with our industrial partners, to develop laser power beaming systems for aerospace and military applications. We also hope to develop commercial products based on our technologies. We will be evaluating several possible markets over the next few months.”

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009

Space Prize Roundup: After the Lunar Lander and Power Beaming Challenges, Student Prize Resources, More

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge

@NGLLC09: Masten Space Systems post-prize plans, in Aviation Week:

From that article: ... the company will use the $1.15 million it won by taking first place in the Level 2 lander competition and second place in Level 1 to upgrade its Xoie (pronounced "Zoey") vehicle for higher and faster flight ... The next steps, Masten said, will be to devise an aeroshell to permit faster flight and - eventually - re-entry, and to build a new engine that can deliver 2,500 pounds of thrust, versus the 750-pound rating on the Xoie engine.

A wild finish for the Lunar Lander Challenge - The Space Review

@glxp: The quick #NGLLC highlight reel showed at last week's award ceremony is now on YouTube!

@ikluft: my photos of Washington DC trip w/ MSS team for NASA awards for Lunar Lander Challenge

@ikluft: my photos of Masten Space Systems L2 flights in Lunar Lander Challenge on Oct 28-30

Google Lunar X PRIZE

@Pomerantz: RT @glxp: Here's some great news: #GLXP Team Astrobotic picks up ANSYS as a sponsor!

Bad weather postpones launch of first Romanian rocket - Romanian Times

Prototype fab update #1 - Team FREDNET Lander

@Team_Selenokhod: Laboratory of innovative radiosystems from Research center of Novgorod State University - our new partner

Space Elevator Games - Power Beaming

Highlights from 2009 Competition - LaserMotive

@LaserMotive: Media interview requests are coming in fast from around the world!

And it's over... - USST

Winner in Contest Involving Space Elevator - New York Times

Awards Ceremony - Space Elevator Blog

Contemplating 5 m/s - The Space Elevator Games - In addition to some thoughts about the 3 final teams should they choose to compete next year, this post has some information about the competition next year:

... the next round of the power beaming challenge, which will only have the 5 m/s benchmark level. ... Our job next time, however, is much easier – we have the racetrack stored in a box, we have the right crew, the right venue – we know how much it costs, and how long it takes to do. We’ll be making small changes in the rulebook and setup to facilitate smoother operations, but otherwise – see you all in the next round, date TBA.

Other Prizes

@Pomerantz: RT @ikluft: White House office of Science & Tech Policy blog mentions MSS, #ngllc "A Phenomenal Week for Prizes!"

In addition to mentioning some X PRIZE and Centennial Challenge news, the OSTP post points out the DARPA Network Challenge, described as

a competition that will explore the roles the Internet and social networking play in the timely communication, wide-area team-building, and urgent mobilization required to solve broad-scope, time-critical problems. The challenge is to be the first to submit the locations of 10 moored, 8-foot, red, weather balloons at 10 fixed locations in the continental United States. The balloons will be in readily accessible locations and visible from nearby roads.

AUVSI Student Competitions - Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International - The site look has been updated, and dates and times are given for next year's competitions.

Singularity University, Day Two: Peter Diamandis Thinks Big - Wired

MiniSpaceWorld update - Space for All - It's interesting that one of the worlds includes an "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard", which might be considered a fairly obscure reference in today's movie and TV driven SF market. It looks pretty much like what I'd imagined, too.

@paulsrobotics: Moonraker is now on display in the #WPI Campus Center for the next couple weeks! Go check it out!

Scholarships for Space Studies - Out of the Cradle covers numerous scholarships, competitions, and awards for students.

The Teaching with site has lots of information about student prizes. Here are some example posts from the last few days:

2010 Thacher Environmental Research Contest - ... awards cash prizes to secondary school students (grades 9-12) whose projects demonstrate the best use of satellites and other geospatial technologies or data to study Earth. Remote sensing, aerial photography, GIS and GPS are included in the eligible geospatial technologies.

Alan Shepard Technology in Education Awards

Team America Rocketry Challenge

KIDS’ SCIENCE CHALLENGE! 2010 - One of the categories is Sports on Mars.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

New York Times Energy Prize Article

Here's a roundup of some energy and environment prize news I've come across:

Using Prizes to Drive Energy Innovation - New York Times

The New York Times article mentions several different prizes. I've put together some links and updates on some of the prizes mentioned in the article.

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE - I've posted on this many times, so you're probably familiar with this competition to encourage marketable highly fuel efficient vehicles. You can see the latest news on this X PRIZE here:

Meet the Qualified Teams at SEMA Next Week - Progressive Automotive X PRIZE blog - Actually the week in question ended on November 6; I'm a bit late with this link.

SEMA 2009: Progressive Automotive X-Prize Contenders - AutoBlog

@progautoxp twitter account also has numerous updates from SEMA.

$5.5 Million in Funding from U.S. DOE to Further Goals of Competition - X PRIZE Foundation press release - The X PRIZE Foundation, a world leader in conducting incentivized competitions to stimulate innovation, today announced it will receive up to $5.5 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). ... The DOE funding will provide for technical expertise that ensures each vehicle design is reviewed correctly and consistently. Funding will also support expanded outreach and education efforts that will focus on promoting public awareness of the science and engineering behind energy efficient vehicle designs.

Virgin Earth Challenge - The Virgin Earth Challenge is a prize of $25m for whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth's climate.

I haven't seen a lot of activity on the Virgin Earth Challenge site over the years, but there's a post in the News and Press releases section on "846 ideas and counting" (actually over 900 according to the text) and geoengineering in general.

H-Prize - The H-Prize, enacted by Congress, authorized the Secretary of Energy to create a program to competitively award cash prizes that will advance the commercial application of hydrogen energy technologies by dramatizing and incentivizing accelerated research. ... There are several H-Prize categories, including production, storage, distribution, utilization, and prototypes and transformational technologies. The 2009-11 prize will be awarded in the area of storage materials in mobile systems for light-duty vehicles.

L Prize - Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the L Prize is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb.

Philips Submits First L Prize Entry - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition has received its first entrant, a product from Philips Electronics. Philips has developed, manufactured and will bring to market an LED replacement for the common 60-Watt incandescent light bulb. Philips developed this product in response to DOE's industry-wide challenge, and was today recognized by DOE as the first company to submit an entry.

Twitter Management

In recent months I've found myself swamped scanning various twitter accounts for prize news. My first attempt to solve this was a page full of twitter accounts, but clicking each one was too time-consuming. Only a few would have updates on a given day, so I needed a method to just get the updates, preferably organized by theme. I tried some twitter widgets within blogger (on the right here and here). These have been helpful, but they seem to have refresh limitations. I also tried some canned twitter searches, and these are also proving to be helpful. For example, for the X PRIZE Foundation, I have

X PRIZE Foundation Accounts

For student prizes, I have

Student Prize Accounts

For Google Lunar X PRIZE, I have

1 Google Lunar X PRIZE Accounts
2 Google Lunar X PRIZE Accounts
3 Google Lunar X PRIZE Accounts

These solve the problems with the widgets, but I'm not completely happy with these, either. First, I would rather have 1 Google Lunar X PRIZE search, not 3, but there's a 140 character limitation to twitter searches. Another issue is that it seems like Twitter Search doesn't do what I would intuitively expect it to do. For example, let's say I go to twitter and look up "GoZeroG" or "pkhomer":

For pkhomer, I see updates from a couple weeks ago, and for GoZeroG, I see updates from a few hours ago. However, when I use Twitter Search:

I get "No results for from:gozerog" and the same for pkhomer. It seems to happen for some accounts, and not others. I'm sure there's some esoteric but rational reason for this, but it's not what I want. That's why I was interested in the follow tweet from Doug Comstock from NASA IPP, the organization that, among other things, runs Centennial Challenges on the NASA side:

@Doug_Comstock: I started a new list of NASA Prize Winners on twitter. Four so far. Let me know if there are others. @Doug_Comstock/nasa-prize-winners

Here's a link to that list: nasa-prize-winners. Currently it has @dmasten, @LaserMotive, @paulsrobotics, and @plhprod1 (Peter Homer).

Apparently "Twitter Lists" is a new feature that is being rolled out. See Hands-on with Twitter Lists - CNet News. I'm looking forward to trying this new feature, and hoping it solves the various problems I've encountered with my patchwork of twitter management attempts.

For the NASA prize winners list, and just sticking with Centennial Challenges, I'd probably use @pkhomer, since that twitter account seems to be the active one for Peter Homer. I'd also include @armadillogadget. For Masten, I'd probably be torn between using @mastenspace and the whole Masten team (which, as far as I know, means adding @mojaverocketguy, @wikkit, @colinake, and @mmealling to Dave Masten's account above).

Friday, November 06, 2009

Looking Back at the Lunar Lander Challenge

With all of the recent space prize activity, I've been barely able to keep up, let alone post on all of the events. I just went through over 100 notifications in my email about prize news articles, blog posts, and so on. Whew! That takes a while, and it's only 1 information path.

My advice is to check sites like RLV News. You can see news on the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge events, the awards ceremony for the winners, and how some of the teams are continuing after the prize. If you follow this blog, you'll know some of the other sites to check, too. I'm not going to duplicate all of that, but I do have a few items I thought were interesting:

Masten Space Systems Wins NGLLC LII - Donna's Journey

Parting thoughts as the NGLLC fades to black - TrueZer0

Did Ask for a Photo? - Team Phoenicia
New Photo - Team Phoenicia

@unrocket - Starting Clean up from LLC my entropy maximization efforts got out of control. Started with my Primary computer,new 1Tb Hdrive, $69.00!

Here's a well-deserved vacation:

@wikkit: I saw two oceans and a gulf in one day. My new record. Wandered around Miami Beach a bit, tomorrow is more exploration here.

I made a couple canned twitter searches for the Lunar Lander Challenge (yes, uh, just in time). Actually, I think the teams will continue to be active in some way, so there will still be content there after the Challenge. The searches are at the top right of Space Prizes blog. There are 2 because Twitter seems to take its 140 character limit idea to its searches, too:

Lunar Lander Challenge Accounts
More Lunar Lander (Masten)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

LaserMotive Qualifies!

I got home at just the right time ... and got to see LaserMotive qualify for the Beam Power / Tether Climber challenge money. Then they tried again, as the speed of the climbs factor into how much money is won. The results also depend on how well the other teams do.

Here's a post from LaserMotive on their pre-games setup work: Power Beaming Results, Nov. 3rd 2009.

Update (later the same evening):

MKKare: RT @EENugent AP report:

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Space Elevator Games Setup - Part 2

In addition to the canned twitter search I mentioned earlier today, hashtags are also useful. However, not everyone uses them - they may not know about them or remember them at the right time. In the case of the Space Elevator Games, it looks like the following 2 hashtags are being used by some (but not all) accounts participating in, or following, the Games:


Some twitter accounts using these:

EENugent (related to Tom? I don't know)
MKKare (related to Jordan? I don't know)
b0yle (Alan Boyle, science editor)
spaceelevator (Space Elevator Reference)

As a result, I made another Space Elevator Games twitter search with these tags:

Space Elevator Games Accounts and Tags

This search is also at the top right of the Space Prizes blog. At the moment the search gives 5 or 6 pages of tweets from the last 24 hours, and the main event hasn't started yet. Here's one that gives background on the games and some ways to follow them:

b0yle: Another $2 million NASA-backed contest ramping up, this one for laser-powered, cable-climbing robots: (expand) ... #segames

The Space Elevator Blog had some posts today, too, in spite of what I'm sure is a lot of other work to get ready for the Games. In addition to the status of the setup, there's a lot of information in these posts on how to follow the games:

Status - doing a dry run…
Dry run; so far, so good
No more video today
Re-installing rotor blades on a helicopter

Power Beaming/Climber Competition Setup

The setup for the 2009 Space Elevator Games Climber/Beam Power competition is already happening, with the main event starting tomorrow.

Payload... - The Space Elevator Blog

Current Status (11/1) from Space Elevator Games: Completed first day of setup at Dryden, and all is well. First games day is Wednesday, though a potential schedule change might prompt us to squeeze in a few climbs on Tuesday. Putting finishing touches on live coverage screen (above) - stay tuned!

Happy Halloween - The Space Elevator Blog - This one is obviously a few days old. Among other things, it gives a twitter account for @USST, one of the 3 remaining teams this year.

Speaking of twitter, I'm in the process of setting up some canned twitter searches. Right now they're at the top right of the Space Prizes blog, although I could move them to the Space Prizes twitter pseudo-blog. There's a canned search for Space Elevator Games Twitter Accounts at the top of the list - that's one of the (hopefully) finished ones. At any rate, it includes tweets from the twitter accounts I know about. It's easy enough to adjust the search using Twitter's search engine once you click on the canned search (eg: if you want to search for more than just those accounts, or tweets based on messages "to:" those accounts, or the string "power beaming challenge"). Here are some recent Space Elevator Games tweets from yesterday:

NASAPrize: Preparations underway for Power Beaming Challenge this week! Competition scheduled for Nov 4 & 5

LaserMotive: Lunch on the lakebed.

SEGames: status: Horizontal laser test now occurring. KCSP first up, then LaserMotive and then USST.

LaserMotive: Current temp and humidity.

USST: We've made arrangments to hopefully pickup a new antennae from the factory in LA today. Hopefully we can get back in time with traffic.

SEGames: Go to for latest pix.