Friday, December 31, 2010

European Space Elevator Challenge, Masten Spotlight, Video Contest, More

I'm going to start a bit off-topic today.  Part of yesterday's post involved propellant depots and satellite servicing.  Here's some related news (via @spacevidcast):

NASA Awards Systems Engineering Contract For In-Space Servicing - NASA - The contract is for support of 2 Goddard Space Flight Center-led technology demonstrations at the ISS:

The first demonstration will use a customized payload task box, Dextre and specialized tools to robotically demonstrate refueling and repair tasks in orbit. Tasks will include locating, accessing and uncapping valves and transferring simulated liquid fuel. During the second demonstration, Dextre will test and evaluate a variety of tools, sensors and instruments to support autonomous rendezvous and capture capabilities for orbiting spacecraft systems.

And now back to the prizes and prize teams!

Suborbital Spotlight: Masten’s Xaero and Xogdor Vehicles - Parabolic Arc

Way out of the box presure system... - Unreasonable Rocket

PET third stage COTS tank - Unreasonable Rocket

The Leeward Space Foundation - The Space Elevator Blog

@SEGames: Europe will hold its first Space Elevator Challenge June 10-12, 2011. Details here:

@JUXTOPIA_JURBAN: It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Space Act Agreement Between Juxtopia and NASA has been signed. Congratulations!!!!!!!!

@NASA: Students: Reminder - time is running out to submit videos in the OPTIMUS PRIME Video Contest about NASA Technology

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roundup of 2010 Roundups; 2011 Predictions

It's the time of year for full-year roundups.  Here are some featuring space prize teams in the mix:

13 Stories in 2010 that defined space exploration - Evadot
My 2010 Review - QuantumG's blog shows an evolving view of space possibilities.
A review of NewSpace developments in 2010 - RLV News

It's also the time of year for predictions about next year:

Predictions for 2011 - - In the mix, Jon Goff follows up last year's accurate predictions with another set that features some predictions in the areas of prizes and prize teams.  For example:

At least three new Centennial Challenges will be announced, with at least one of them regarding small payload return from ISS or propellant depots.

NASA has considered prizes in both areas (for an example from several years ago, see slide pages 18 and 20 here (PDF)), so that's certainly a possibility.  Small, and hopefully frequent, ISS payload return could be a good (although potentially quite ambitious, depending on the rules) prize subject considering the expected increased activity and 2020+ lifetime for the ISS, potential commercial space growth in areas like space stations that may increase the market for things like small lab sample returns, and the need to go after affordable return capabilities to match affordable launch encouraged by efforts like the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge.  Propellant depot and similar technology is also important for many areas like satellite servicing, in-space ISRU markets, and ambitious exploration missions.  Of course there are many other great subjects for space prizes, so we'll have to wait to see what NASA comes up with before we see how accurate those predictions are!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fed Prize Authority, GLXP News Galore, Goddard Film Fest Winners, More

@ISS_NatLab: Congrats to Team ZeroBotX for their win at the Zero Robotics Competition!

@ChallengeGov: BIG NEWS! Congress grants broad prize authority to all federal agencies #challengegov #gov20

@astrobotic: Astrobotic has joined Twitter! Expect on-the-go updates about all our activities.

NASA awards $500k to 3 firms in lunar demo data project - RLV News

Google Lunar X PRIZE gets last minute entries before deadline - RLV News

Space Frontier to hold third TEDxMidTownNY event - RLV News - Note that Ted Southern is one of the Astronaut Glove Challenge winners.

Zephyr Aurora: Taking Shape [28] - Team Phoenicia

Winners Announced: 2010 Best of Goddard Film Festival - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Way out of the box... - Unreasonable Rocket

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lego Elevators, Pocket Airports, SGAC and Heinlein Trust, LPI T's, Spheres, More

LASER 2010 - The Space Elevator Blog covers the Lego bricks Activity and Space Elevator Race competitions.

Faster and Greener - Pocket Airports (PDF) - The CAFE Foundation - Here's an bit from the abstract:

The potential aeronautical, environmental and societal benefits of on-demand, distributed, Green air travel are examined along with the urgencies and opportunities that pertain. A proposal is presented to rapidly bring about these benefits by extending NASA’s Centennial Challenge for Aeronautics, the Green Flight Challenge (GFC), into a sequence of two additional flight competitions, GFC II and III.

LaserMotive Wins NW Startup Demo - LaserMotive has more details on a win I briefly mentioned in my last post.

List of significant parts.... - Unreasonable Rocket

Zephyr Aurora: Taking Shape [25]
Zephyr Aurora: Taking Shape [24]
Zephyr Aurora: Taking Shape [23] - All from Team Phoenicia

And now for some tweets:

@ISS_Research: 12/16 watch ISS student zero robotics challenge: #NASA #ISS #education

@SGAC: SGAC Partners with the Heinlein Prize Trust to Support the 2011 Future Project Contest

@JUXTOPIA_JURBAN: 1st African American Owned Commercial Space Company Launched during Juxtopia Urban Learning Technology Conference @ Morgan State University

Phezu Space, LLC will design and build commercial space on-orbit service vehicles.

@dmasten: Launch vehicle erector trailer works.

@MyMoonLPI: NEW! #MyMoonLPI contest: submit a MyMoon tshirt design:

@ConradAwards: In the Spirit of Innovation... -

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Prize Roundup: Phoenicia History, NW Startup Win, Rover Captions, SBIR, More

IEEE Presentation: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Launch Pad - Check out the presentation within this Team Phoenicia blog post.  It has a lot of interesting information about the team.

Zephyr Aurora: Taking Shape [21] - Team Phoenicia

@LaserMotive: LaserMotive won the NW Startup Demo, beating out some other very good demos.

@MarsRovers: Here are the winning entries from the Oppy caption contest. Drumroll, please:

@: Students Bounce to the Top at JPL Competition: With rubber band contraptions, leaf blowers, balloons and o...

Internacional Cansat Competition 2011 - coming soon ...

Briefs: Masten Space's SBIR; Rocket City Space Pioneers update - RLV News

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

NASA SBIRs, TARC Survey, Moonbuggy Is On, ZeroG Photos, More

@wikkit: Congrats to new space! Altius, Firestar, Masten, MicroSpace, Microcosm, Ventions, and XCOR, Nasa SBIR phase 1 negotiation

Here are some examples that caught my eye:

An ElectroAdhesive "Stick Boom" for Mars Sample Return Orbiting Sample Capture - Altius Space Machines, Inc.
Petal Brake Hypersonic Entry System - Andrews Space, Inc.
Cryogenic Composite Tank Fabrication for Reusable Launch Vehicles - XCOR Aerospace
Terrestrial Plume Impingement Testbed - Masten Space Systems, Inc.- Google Lunar X PRIZE team needs are described in the "Potential Non-NASA Commercial Applications" section.

@FLspacereport: Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) survey seeks your input for program improvement.

@MOONBUGGYRACE: Registration is still open for 18th NASA Great Moonbuggy Race April 1-2, 2011! Sign up now!

@SLI_1MILEHIGH: We're getting ready to fly! Student rocketeers nationwide set for 2010-11 NASA Student Launch Projects!

@ConradAwards: Get Your Genius On!

@NASActo: 6th-12th graders: Submit your designs for a human colony in outer space by 3/15/11 for a chance to win $3k! #NASA

@GoZeroG: Top 10 Announcement for the 2010 Weightless Photo Competitio... via #constantcontact

@unrocket: Ed LeBouthillier's pictures from FAR yesterday: The tiny motor is ours.

@MoonbaseX: Yahoo! News has just featured MoonbaseX's "Fly Me to the Moon" SMS campaign! If you're in the UK, find out how to join...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Eurospaceward Conference, NanoSat Launch Biz, SSP Competition, RWIW Date, Moonraker@Mall

The Space Elevator Blog is covering the 2010 Eurospaceward Conference.  I'll just give a few links with a lot of prize content; see the blog for more on the conference:

2010 EuroSpaceward Conference - Saturday morning (1) - This mentions the possibility of a European Strong Tether Challenge.
2010 EuroSpaceward Conference - Saturday morning (2) - One of the talks is by a Kansas City Space Pirates member.
2010 EuroSpaceward Conference - Sunday morning - This includes discussions of a number of international space elevator competitions.

I may update this list above as more details emerge.

Pricing a NanoSat launcher - RLV News - The linked post also refers to this older piece on NanoSat Launcher markets inspired by the NanoSat Launch Vehicle Challenge Seminar: Micro-Cargo Delivery & The Last Mile Problem - The Space Busine$$ Blog

Space Solar Power desgn competition - Space for All

@RWIWChallenge: Exciting News!!! The Advanced Registration Deadline has been extended to January 15, 2011!

@paulsrobotics: Come to the Solomon Pond Mall and check out #battlebots Brutality and Moonraker along with other #WPI robots!

Prize Roundup: Free Trips, Launch or Fizzle?, Zephyr Aurora, LEGO ISS Challenge?, NASA Crowdsourcing

Win a Free Trip to Space - Discovery News

Space Tourism: Will it go far or fizzle out? - NewSpace Magazine - This is an overview that features several companies involved with space prizes in one way or another.

NASA Launches Innovative Approach to Solve Old Challenges - NASA Ames shows how NASA is using crowdsourcing and InnoCentive internally to solve 3 challenges:

"NASA InternSpace" ... NASA Ames is considering developing a customized social networking and new media communications platform for use by NASA interns, mentors, and managers. ...
"Low Impact Robotic Sensor Platform for Land Survey" ... This challenge is seeking brainstorms and "eureka moments" for alternative sensor platforms. ...
"Measuring Gas Concentrations in Microliter Samples" ... Suggestions are being sought for a new small device (<10 cm3) capable of measuring key gas concentrations in small volumes (10-500 microliters) of gaseous samples.

Team Phoenicia has some new photos:
I'm curious what the LEGO ® Challenge (coming soon) featured on the NASA International Space Station National Laboratory page sidebar is about.  Any more hints?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Space Snowflakes, Health/Biology Prizes, Many Masten Assignments, More

@NASAGoddard: RT @NASAblueshift: We're having a snowflake contest! Details:

@TheRealBuzz: Check out photo of Danny DeVito and me at his house for the XPrize party that he and Rhea hosted 2 wks ago

@ PeterDiamandis: In DC, full day of mtgs w/ OSTP, FDA, DARPA, VA on AI Physician, Bionics + Genomics X PRIZEs. Excited about moving these XPs forward!

@dmasten: Today is trying to drink from a firehose. Reviewed a briefing, sketch for FAA, code for gear and transponder, range safety documents...
Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #38 - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration