Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Prize Roundup: Maker Faire, Precursors, More

Team Phoenicia at the Maker Faire! - Team Phoenicia - In addition to the title subject, there's this:

PS Website update coming...and hopefully some big news.

Spacing out at Maker Faire - Make

@unrocket: Maker faire was cool, so was big sur, 1K miles in car from Friday to Sunday, not fun.

@paulsrobotics: RT @WPI_Robotics: Moonraker won an editor's choice ribbon at the #makerfaire! http://twitpic.com/1qi013

@NASAMICI: NASA MICI kickoff will go live in 4 hours. Check out our countdown clock at http://nasamiciconference.com #NASA

@InnoCentiveCEO: New $100K InnoCentive Challenge: Synthesis of a Nucleotide-Selective Label for Single-Stranded DNA http://bit.ly/dtjp8N #innovation #biotech

In NASA's new plans for robotic precursor missions to blaze a trail for astronauts, I usually imagine the small robotic scout missions as being a better fit than the larger ones for Google Lunar X PRIZE and similar prize teams. However, this presentation on NASA's robotic precursor missions gives one possibility for the mobile lander part of a Google Lunar X PRIZE team's effort contributing to part of a large NASA precursor mission. (Keeping in mind the limitation on government funding for the prize, it could be a follow-on to the prize effort itself). Slide 14, on a possible "Teleoperated Lunar Lander", includes:

Surface mobility experiment : Sojourner class “rover” at < 35kg with 1-2 instruments (2kg)
– Context camera, Dust particle size analyzer, Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer
– Fetch capability

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Prize Roundup: Astronaut Glove at NASA, Robotic Precursor RFI, NASAMICI Kick-Off, Moon Art, NASA ASK, More

@digitalart: The 2010 NASA Moon Art Contest: Last night I finished casting my votes as a judge in the NASA Life and Work on the... http://bit.ly/aUSd2r

@fineri: Video here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSE4Y7nkT0E , only a snipit of todays work.

Water test set up today.

@NASAMICI: Did several test runs today in prep for Mon big kick-off. Still time for undergrads & faculty to register http://nasamici.com/ #NASA

@paulsrobotics: Moonraker on display for the #makerfaire, come see the #omgrobots and learn more about #wpi http://twitpic.com/1q2clw

Calling all mavericks, for a good X Prize cause - SFGate

Sergey Brin talks to XPrize Audience thru Texai Robot - YouTube

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #19 - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration


Astronaut Glove Prizewinners Demonstrate their Innovations to NASA Spacesuit Engineers - NASA Centennial Challenges:

On Apr. 30, 2010, the winners of the 2009 Astronaut Glove Challenge visited Johnson Space Center to meet with NASA space suit experts and demonstrate their gloves in a vacuum glove box. ... We are currently evaluating options for future work with the winners of the Astronaut Glove Challenge.

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION (RFI) - Exploration Precursor Robotic Missions - Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, NASA - NASA NSPIRES - This is not about prizes, but it may be of interest to prize competitors like Google Lunar X PRIZE teams.

Open-Door Innovation - Andrew Petro, NASA ASK Magazine

Prizes and the 2010 ISDC

It's almost time for the National Space Society's 2010 International Space Development Conference. According to the Preliminary Program (PDF), there are quite a few presentations related to space prizes. Here are the ones that I noticed:


10:00 - 10:45 -- Report on the 8th Space Investment Summit. ... Douglas Comstock, (Director, Innovative Partnerships Program ... Doug, whose responsibilities include NASA's Centennial Challenges (directly managed by Andrew Petro), is on a panel.

12:00 - 1:45 pmLuncheon.* Speaker: Peter Diamandis (Founder/CEO, X-Prize Foundation) [Louvre 2,3]

TRACK A [Avedon CD] 3:00 - 3:45 -- Google X-Prize Update. Jason Calaiaro (Astrobotic); Kevin Myric (Synergy Moon)


2:00 - 2:45 -- Winning the Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Centennial Challenge. Dave Masten (President/CEO, Masten Space Systems)

3:00 - 3:45 -- (2) A Business Strategist’s Look at NewSpace. Ken Davidian (Office of Commercial Space Transportation, FAA) - Ken is the former manager of NASA's Centennial Challenges, among other things.


9:00 - 9:45 -- The "NewSpace" Paradigm: The Role of the New Space Entrepreneurs. ... Dave Masten (President/CEO, Masten Aerospace) - Dave is on a panel.


[Warhol AB ] 9:00 - 9:45 -- (1) An Open Source Approach to the Google X-Prize. Michael Barrucco (Team FRED); Sean Casey (Team FRED)


9:00 - 9:45 -- AIAA International Space Settlement Design Competition. Anita Gale (The Boeing Company)

11:00 - 11:45 -- NSS-NASA Space Settlement Design Competition: International Collaboration by Students from Three Countries.

3:00 - 3:45

(1) NSS-NASA Ames Space Settlement Design Competition. Presentations by two student teams.
(2) Competitions, Grants, and Educational Opportunities in Aerospace. Kevin Simmons (Einstein Fellow, National Science Foundation)


4:00 - 4:45(1) NSS-NASA Space Settlement Design Competition. Presentations by two student winning teams

5:00 - 5:45 -- (1) NSS-NASA Space Settlement Design Competition. Presentations by two student winning teams.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Prize Roundup: FAR Weekend, TARC, Power Beam & Tether, Moonraker 2.0 Put to Work

Pennsylvania students win national TARC championship - Rocketry Planet

Briefs: Space elevator newsletter; IKAROS launch delayed - RLV News

The Artsutanov and Pearson prizes - The Space Elevator Blog

The Artsutanov and Pearson Prizes Entry Deadline Extended to May 31 - The Space Elevator Reference

Reach for the Stars Rocket Contest update - Space for All

WPI Breaks Ground for a Stunning – and Sustainable – Sports and Recreation Center - Worcester Polytechnic Institute:

Moonraker 2.0, the student-designed robot that won a $500,000 prize from NASA for its ability to excavate moon dust last year, used its remarkable digging capabilities to kick-off construction of the new center ... The center will provide attractive space for large-scale events, such as admissions open houses, career fairs, national academic conferences and alumni events. In addition, the facility will have space dedicated to WPI's robotics program, and will enable WPI to support regional and national robotics competitions.

Lori Garver's Photos - Collier Award

@gozerog: Find out if a contestant wins a ZERO-G Experience during Friday’s ‘Price is Right’ Showcase Showdown! http://bit.ly/dtNhWv

Three days in the desert. - Unreasonable Rocket

Here are some nice pictures from that desert:

@TeamPrometheus: Lift off! Prometheus II http://bit.ly/d7Kgpj

PaulBreed testing some telemitry equipment at FAR. http://bit.ly/cYEBwP

Flowmetrics working on there alcohol LOX static test in the hangar at FAR http://bit.ly/9KaQo9

Vision Circle and Radical Benefit for Humanity

The next five years of the X Prize - CNET:

In addition, it's planning on four other specific X Prizes: the AI Physician X Prize, which will be won by the first team to build an artificial intelligence system that can offer a medical diagnosis as good as or better than a diagnosis from a group of 10 board-certified doctors; the Autonomous Automobile X Prize, which will go to a team that designs a car capable of beating a top-seeded driver in a Gran Prix race; an unnamed X Prize for generating an organ from a terminal patient's own stem cells, transplanting the organ into the patient, and having that person live for a year; and another unnamed prize for building a deep-sea submersible that scientists could use to explore the ocean floor and gather complex data.

Here's more about the X PRIZE meeting and Radical Benefit for Humanity the article discusses:

@PeterDiamandis: Working hard on Human 2.0 X Prizes w great group... Dean Kamen, Ratan Tata, Scott Hassan, Daniel Kraft, Andrew Hessel. Very Cool ideas!

Top ideas in Human 2.0- Bionic Legs, Diabetes, Stem Cell, Robotics, Martian life...

energy XP concepts: Robo Car competition; Solar Design Challenge- Making solar beautiful+ integrated; the ePod- Radically push storage tech

Top 3 x prize concepts voted by advisors, trustees + donors: 1)Low Cost Housing, 2)AI Physician, + 3)Bionics X Legs... Very cool.

X PRIZE Benefit last night @LucasFilm, big success. Great talk by Larry Page, Sergey Brin (by robot) and Robin Williams. Millions raised...

Thankful to Rob McEwen for $2M, Peter Farrell for $1M match, Scott Hassan, Sarah Brightman, Kimberly Swedy, Harry Diamandis, Rena David+more

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MoonBots, TARC, Power Beaming, NASAMICI Kickoff, Rover Challenge, More

Calling all moonbots! - COSMIC LOG

Space elevator challenges probably in autumn - RLV News

‘Garage Inventors’ - The Space Elevator Blog

Team Westlawn rocket team honors late mentor, Mike Murphy - al.com

O'Gorman Rocket Team To Compete In Nationals - Keloland.com

PhD thesis to help Armadillo? - Space Fellowship

Centennial Challenges: NASA’s Prize Program for the “Citizen Inventor” - NASA Tech Briefs - Andrew Petro

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #18 - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration

@NASAMICI: Confirmed - Andy Petro NASA Centennial Challenges PM will participate in welcome message during http://NASAMICI.com kickoff

Confirmed - NASA Astronaut Winston Scott will participate in welcome message during http://NASAMICI.com kickoff

Peter Homer @pkhomer , winner of $450,000 in Astronaut Glove Challenges http://tinyurl.com/yfuwwb5 agrees 2 speak at MICI kickoff

In addition to information about their own kickoff, the NASAMICI twitter is also pointing out numerous other prize opportunities and events. I'll point you to the link above since there's a lot of good prize information there.

@SpaceShow: Kevin Sloan re the Mars Society University Rover Challenge is on tonight 7-8:30 PM PDT.Listen @ http://www.thespaceshow.com/. Call 1-866-687-7223.

@alias_amanda: Nice. @TechCrunch helped find 3 of the Red Darpa Balloons, donating the prize money they earned to charity: http://tcrn.ch/9zdVSJ

@PTScientists: It's official! we are presenting the GoogleLunarX-Prize and our Team on Europe biggest Airshow, meet us @ILA2010 http://bit.ly/blpHPN #glxp

@Spacevidcast: New Jersey Students Win NASA and USA TODAY Competition: NASA and USA TODAY announced the winners of the 2010 ... http://bit.ly/dyzPPb #nasa

@fineri: My test site with verticle test pole in place, looking down the would be flame trench path. http://twitpic.com/1muygx

Another view with removable tank/engine module in place. http://twitpic.com/1muzpz

Monday, May 10, 2010

Shoulda Had a TFFTB Prize

ESMD Gets Back To Basics - NASA Watch

For obvious reasons I tend to post about prizes at this blog, but today I'm posting about a NASA Request for Information (RFI) for the NASA Enabling Technology Development and Demonstration (ETDD) Program. ETDD is one part of the new Exploration Technology and Demonstrations program, which in turn is one of the new Exploration Systems lines in the 2011 NASA budget proposal intended to enable exploration of the Moon, Lagrange points, NEOs, and Mars and its moons. The other part of the Exploration Technology and Demonstrations program is the Flagship Technology Demonstrations line. This line is intended for large demonstrations for technologies like in-orbit propellant transfer and storage, lightweight/inflatable modules, automated/autonomous rendezvous and docking, closed-loop life support systems, and aerocapture/landing.

ETDD is for smaller technology development and demonstration projects. Expected subjects for ETDD include in situ resource utilization, autonomous precision landing, advanced in-space propulsion, closed-loop life support systems, advanced EVA, radiation shielding, human-robotic interfaces, efficient space power systems, EDL (entry, descent, and landing) technologies, high-performance materials and structures, and participatory exploration.

The new ETDD RFI is for several technology demonstrations. The subjects of these demonstrations include:
  • In-Situ Resource Utilization: This is to demonstrate a prototype ISRU system in a vacuum chamber that can simulate lunar temperatures and that can contain lunar simulant. Later, there would be a flight demonstration at the lunar surface on a robotic precursor mission. Of course this plan brings to mind several lunar space prizes: the Regolith Excavation Challenge, the MoonROx Challenge, and the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
  • High-Power Electric Propulsion System for human spaceflight
  • Human Exploration Telerobotics: This involves ISS-to-ground telerobotics, ground-to-ISS telerobotics, and large-scale participatory exploration
  • Fission Power Systems Technology
  • Autonomous Precision Landing: This involves demonstrations on Earth of autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technologies. The long-range plan is to use the technology on a robotic lander on the Moon or other large body. The technology "Must be capable of flying on a variety of lunar lander precursor missions". The two major parts of this demonstration are the Terrestrial Free Flyer Test Bed and the Hazard Detection System.
The Terrestrial Free Flyer Test Bed deserves special attention. This test bed needs to be able to carry 100 kg of sensor/electronics payload as well as supporting mass for other subsystems, fly up to 1 km, translate horizontally, land at various angles ending in the last 30-50 meters with vertical landing, and fly for at least 210 seconds with the payload. I didn't see anything in the RFI about propulsion, but I imagine rocket-powered vehicles would have a bit of an edge.

If only someone had started a Terrestrial Free Flyer Test Bed prize a few years ago to get multiple teams well on their way towards being able to use rocket power to fly payloads up 1 km, translate laterally, and land vertically in challenging terrain after a 210 second flight!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Roundup: NASA Awards, MoonBots, LaserMotive, Recruiting, Lunar Orbit Mission

@Lori_Garver: Honoring NASA Presidential Distinguished Rank Award winners tonight at the State Dept. HRC speaking. NASA has 8 winners!

RT @
NASA: NASA wins three Webbys! 2nd straight win for NASA.gov. Congrats to everyone on the NASA and JPL teams http://bit.ly/aBLiYc

@ispcs: New Blog: Small Successes in Space Lead to Incremental Progress --See How They Come Together at ISPCS 2010 http://bit.ly/duCnAk #fb

@NASA_Lunar: Congratulations to NLSI Director David Morrison for winning the very prestigious Presidential Rank of Meritorious Senior Professional award!

MoonBots Update: Age Restrictions Lowered, Team Participation Grows & Registration Deadline Nears! - GeekDad

Lunar Science with ARTEMIS: A Journey from the Moon’s Exosphere to its Core - Lunar and Planetary Institute - This one isn't about prizes, but with all of the prizes with lunar themes like the Google Lunar X PRIZE, Regolith Excavation Challenge, and Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, I thought it would be good to point out this example of a lunar mission made from 2 of the THEMIS heliophysics satellites in the style of Deep Impact and EPOXI or Stardust-NExT. Also see ARTEMIS, A TWO SPACECRAFT, PLANETARY AND HELIOSPHERIC LUNAR MISSION. and the THEMIS site.

Lasermotive update - RLV News

@TeamPrometheus: Team Prometheus is recruting! We are seeking members with business and marketing skills as well as engineering. We... http://bit.ly/b8Boy0

We’re Hiring! - Masten Space Systems

Monday, May 03, 2010

Prize Roundup: NSF Bill, Prize Strategy Session, UK Student Contest, More

Prizes in Government and Beyond: Peter Diamandis from XPrize and the White Houses' Tom Kalil - Case Foundation - This is one of the talks from the White House strategy session "Promoting Innovation: Prizes, Challenges and Open Grantmaking" that I mentioned here.

@unrocket: Different chunk of desert same dried out feeling. Got tripoli l1 and l2 certs at plaster city. Next stop control

Richard Garriott holds "Our Space" contest for UK students - Space for All

Students in NASA's launch competition - Space for All

Briefs: UK spaceflight contest; Advanced injectors project - RLV News

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #17 - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration

NSF Funding Boost Rolled into America Competes Act - GenomeWeb Daily News:

The Subcommittee additions to the America Competes Act also include a Lipinski amendment to create a pilot program that would award cash prizes in any area of NSF-funded research, particularly challenging high-risk, high-reward studies that could help boost US competitiveness and generate awareness of the NSF.

The act would fund five such competitions through the end of FY2013, and the awards would range between $1 million and $3 million. The government would not have the rights to any intellectual property developed under these awards, but it would be able to negotiate for license agreements with the prize contestants.

Subcommittee Approves NSF Reauthorization to be Rolled into America COMPETES Act - SpaceRef has a press release from the House Science and Technology Subcommittee about this.