Saturday, January 29, 2011

Twitter Roundup: ISS Contest, GLXP Landing Map Update, SpaceWiki, More

@glxp: 7pm on a Friday and I'm still at work. But that's because we have something awesome to announce on Sunday. Stay tuned!

@ISS_NatLab: Check this video out -- Hamlin Student Wins NASA Space Contest via @youtube

@jetlab: Arcadia High School Wins Regional Science Bowl: Arcadia High School beat out 22 other local high schools i...

@evadot: Proposed Landing Sites for #GLXP "2.0" Same map but entirely in Javascript. Lots more functionality coming soon :-)

The next tweet happened on the 27th ...

@sedsusa: Only 5 days left in the contest for SEDS chapters hosted by SpaceWiki! $1000 in prizes! Let's generate some content:

@ConradAwards: Newsflash - Conrad Awards' Wild Card Invitation is on!

@ChallengeGov: NASA challenges high school teams to propose experiments for a high altitude weather balloon

@astrobotic: Red Rover & Bumblebee!

@NextGiantLeap: NGL team member, Dr. Todd Mosher, To Chair National Academies Panel

Prize Roundup: Photonics West, NanoSail-D Photos, OSTP Role, More

Trade Show Math - LaserMotive

The LaserMotive twitter has a few tweets about the trade show, ending with

@LaserMotive: We made it! Tom and Dave have finished walking the floor at #pw11 Photonics West. Very exciting event. Now heading home.

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #40 - Luna C/I: Moon Colonization and Integration

Approaching the Tipping Point: Establishing the New Airship Industry - Airship Z-Prize

We Chat With 2009-2010 Spirit Of Innovation Award Winners Shannon and Mikayla Diesch! - MTV Geek News

Still got the right stuff: the next generation of rocket scientists - Ars Technica

NanoSail-D photo contest - NASA/ - Space for All

OSTP's role expanding under new law - Federal News Radio

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Teams Roundup

Many of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge teams are still quite active.  Here's another update on some of those teams.  This is an impressive week of activity, considering that many of the RLV News posts cover more than one topic.

Armadillo Aerospace update - RLV News - This one features a post by Ben Brockert on the new tube rocket.

Armadillo Aerospace photos - RLV News

Getting ready for big hot flamey stuff at Armadillo - RLV News - This one was also updated to include some Masten pictures.

Briefs: A SS1 for the backyard; A historic Armadillo rocket - RLV News

Briefs: Masten engine test; Armadillo engine test - RLV News

Here's more about the Masten engine test mentioned above:

@ikluft: Preparing for @mastenspace static rocket engine firing test at #Mojave 

I got to watch today... successful @mastenspace rocket engine static test - 3 firings

From an earlier tweet I'm guessing that this next one happened a couple days after the ones above:

@dmasten: Yep, #thrust. Looked like a good run. We're testing engine extremes.

Briefs: Speed Up update; Alaskan sounding rockets - RLV News

Mr. Bezos, "please don't be evil" - RLV News - This one covers a post at Unreasonable Rocket about patents and openness.

Some Armadillo Q and A - RLV News

@mastenspace: January 30 is the deadline for @mastenspace summer internships! Apply now! Exciting time in sRLV dev / flight testing!

@spaceberger: After 2 weeks in Mojave, I'm heading home. Had a great time working w/ @mastenspace. Plenty still to do though! Bring it on!

Team Phoenicia continues its series of Zephyr Aurora updates:
@wikkit : James welding inside the tube rocket.

So how bad do you think it would make me look if I was to webcast an engine test and the engine destroyed itself?

Dual-Fluid Single-Launch Propellant Depots - Selenian Boondocks

The 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference will be held in a few weeks - February 28 - March 2.  Here is the preliminary program.  The preliminary program includes a student competition session with a Masten Student Prizes Address by Colin Ake, presentations on the Student Suborbital Experiment and Student Essay, and awards.  The program also includes an update session on flight provider program status, with Dave Masten representing Masten Space Systems and Neil Milburn representing Armadillo Aerospace.  Blue Origin, XCOR Aerospace, and Virgin Galactic are also represented.  The conference covers many other topics, too - check the preliminary program for more information.

With all of this activity from the teams long after the prizes, I wonder how much interest there would be in another variant on a lunar lander challenge?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Prize Roundup: JPL National Science Bowl, Beamed Energy Propulsion, Xoie Art, Glove Project, More

Unreasonable update - RLV News

Move Over, Rover: Next Giant Leap Gets $1 Million Grant To Build Hopping Moon Landers - TechCrunch

National Science Bowl ® - Jet Propulsion Laboratory - JPL is hosting the Southern California regional competition on Saturday, January 22.

Beamed energy propulsion update - RLV News - Jordin Kare from LaserMotive is featured in the article.

@pomerantz: You say you want a revolution? Well, you know, we'd sure love to give a prize. Some updates to the prize groups at

If you check out the Exploration Prize Group, you'll see that one of the proposed prize concepts is

Beamed Power Propulsion
Nearly all launches to date have relied on chemical propulsion, carried on board the vehicle, and thereby sharply reducing payload mass fraction. Beamed power offers a radically alternative launch strategy. Payload launch costs to orbit will drop by a factor of 50 or more. The goal is to launch a 10 Kg payload to a 30Km altitude, deriving 100% of its energy from a ground-based beamed power system. The system must also be reusable and repeatable within 24 hours.

The full set of concepts, covering aviation, space and ocean exploration, includes
Also check out the prizes under development and in concept stage in the Energy and Environment, Education and Global Development, and Life Sciences prize groups.  Some have quite a lot of appeal as space prizes, even though they fit in the other categories.  For example, in the Life Sciences group,

The winner of the Space Life competition will be the first team that can create a single or multi-cellular edible organism that can grow under standard Martian surface conditions.

@flyingjenny: My latest creation: a needle felted Xoie by Masten Space Systems, Lunar Lander Challenge winner
See, here's the @Xprize X on Xoie:

From the winner of the Astronaut Glove Challenge:

@pkhomer: Heading home from HOU. Just kicked off a new glove project for @NASA.

@InnoCentiveCEO: Cool! Our new book is on Amazon for pre order even know won't be out for months!

@Prize4Life: Support Prize4Life! Contribute to Mark and Lionel’s fundraising effort for the Grand Traverse ski race!

Friday, January 21, 2011

JSC Ideas, Phobos and Deimos Conference, University Rover Date, Hoppers, More

A Look Inside JSC's New Ideas - NASA Watch
Cross Cutting Themes at JSC - NASA Watch - Click through to take a look at the slide presentations for both of these articles. You may see some imagery that evokes the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge here and there.  For example, the "Promote Rapid Prototype Engineering" slide (slide 16 in the Cross Cutting Themes presentation) reminds me of Robonaut - Project M History and Driving Philosophy:

We had also been working with Armadillo Aerospace for a few years. ... We did “hardware store engineering” like a scaled propellant slosh test made of light globes, colored water, nuts and bolts, and lumber from the hardware store. That test allowed us to confirm fundamental slosh modes, anchor our simulation, develop a better full scale slosh test, and give engineers an intuitive feel for the physics. We didn’t sit and debate it, we didn’t analyze and re-analyze, we simply built and learned.

@wikkit: Cryogenic snow falls in Caddo Mills as Phil's 4k methane engine starts running.

Preparations for NASA Power Beaming Competition 2011 - LaserMotive

Power up: Laser beams can now deliver energy to machines through thin air - The Economist (link from @NASA_Green_Ames)

Still here - Vog Rockets has a brief note.

A student interested in the N Prize gets a lecture from a former Centennial Challenges manager:

@fineri: Had a lecture by Ken Davidian from the FAA/AST office today, very interesting, pity it was only an hour..

@ConradAwards: Technological innovation, entrepreneurship alive among U.S. HS students, more than 480 students in 2011 competition

@NextGiantLeap: Planetary rovers: Space hopping | The Economist via @theeconomist

@Eurospaceward: Registration for the University Rover Challenge June 2 - 4, 2011 extended to Feb 15, 2011, see

The above Mars Society link (and the site in general) is having some trouble as of this posting, but you can get more details at this University Rover Challenge site.

Second International Conference on the Exploration of Phobos and Deimos - SETI Institute - The conference will be held at NASA Ames on March 14-16.  It includes the

Mars Institute “Asaph Hall Best Student Paper Award” ceremony during which the Mars Institute will present an award certificate and a USD$500 prize to the student who will have first-authored the most noteworthy research abstract or poster relating to the exploration of Phobos and/or Deimos, as judged by the Conveners of the conference.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Prize Roundup: LLC Teams, Balloon Contest, Karts and Wheels, SpaceWiki, More

RLV News had lots of news this week on former Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge teams:

Successful static firing of Masten Space's Xaero rocket
Video of test firing of Masten's "Brutus"
Masten static test of Brutus engine
Masten Space update...
Unreasonable Rocket/Scorpius SLC to develop H2O2 composite tanks
Armadillo Aerospace's tube rocket

That's not all, either:

NASA contest for student teams to send experiments to Near Space - RLV News

Team Phoenicia on Autoline Detroit - Team Phoenicia

Florida composer submits song in NASA's Space Rock contest - Space for All

Get published in MAKE! Enter the Karts and Wheels contest. - Makezine - Are there any Moonbuggies out there?

Ted Southern - Gitana Rosa Gallery

The ISS X Prize - Space KSC

Interview with Neda G. Ansari - Evadot

LaserMotive: Looking Forward in 2011 - LaserMotive

@SPIEtweets: @LaserMotive will be at SPIE Defense, Security, and Sensing, will you? #SPIE #DSS11

@sedsusa: Don't forget that there are only 18 days left to participate in the SpaceWiki contest to benefit your SEDS-USA chapter!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Prize Roundup: Space Accesses, Debug Unreasonable Hardware, FIRST 2011, More

Briefs: Space Access Paris; Space Access Phoenix; RRL update - RLV News - The Phoenix Space Access conference usually has numerous presentations about space prizes and by space prize teams.  It will be interesting to see if the Nanosatellite Launch Centennial Challenge is represented this year.

Diesel frustration... - Unreasonable Rocket

Fly me to the moon: the Google Lunar X PRIZE, three years in - Ars Technica

Andrews Space Part of Team Selected by NASA to Provide Moon Mission Data - Space Fellowship

NASA JSC Solicitation: Open Innovation Support Services for Internal Collaboration Support Platform and Intermediary - Commercial Space Watch

NASA Kicks Off 2011 Nationwide First Robotics Competition - NASA

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Roundup: Lunar Prize Site Map, COMPETES Signed, Space Art, Masten Mud, More

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #39 - Luna C/I

Google Lunar X PRIZE Proposed Landing Sites - EvaDot

LaserMotive: 2010 Year In Review - LaserMotive

COMPETES Passage Keeps America's Leadership on Target - The President signed the America COMPETES Act yesterday, so the Office of Science and Technology Policy reposted comments by John Holdren made when it passed Congress.  Here's an excerpt:

And in a great boost for the cause of generating novel solutions to tough national problems, COMPETES gives every department and agency the authority to conduct prize competitions. Prizes and challenges have an excellent track record of accelerating problem-solving by tapping America’s top talent and best expertise wherever it may lie. The Administration has supported this approach as part of its all-hands-on-deck approach to stimulating innovation, and under COMPETES we can expect a further blossoming of new ideas from citizen solvers across the land. in long tradition of giving prizes for solutions to tough problems - The Washington Post

@LRO_NASA: Suuuper cute. Winners of space science art contest for grades 2-4.

@genomics_xprize: Genomics X PRIZE Advisor, Leroy Hood wins $500k prize 4 "for automating DNA sequencing that revolutionized biomedicine"

Crawley wins National Academy of Engineering’s Gordon Prize - MIT News

It looks like my college dorm's field after a Rugby game:

@MdlRcktScientst: Getting ready to attempt a hold-down test. In the mud. Awesome.

@ConradAwards: Conrad Foundation and Constellation Energy Group give students a new chance to win