Saturday, April 09, 2011

Space Access '11: Kansas City Space Pirates - Frank Smith

KCSP have been involved with the NASA Power Beaming Challenge, FIRST, educational outreach, tether experiments, spacecraft design, and developing a new business.

Frank showed a video of the KCSP tether climber.

LaserMotive won some of the $2M Power Beaming Challenge, but $1.1M remains.  However, only LaserMotive is able to compete this time in the climber challenge.  Spaceward is looking into changing the challenge (Editor's note: I assume this is in the interest of having multiple competitors in the challenge ... but I'm not sure what LaserMotive thinks of the idea).  One idea for competition is to beam power to a rover, with the rover able to drive round at least 50m, do a turn, and rove another 50m.  The score would be based on the efficiency of beaming multiplied by the distance.  This idea has not been approved.  It's a preliminary proposal by The Spaceward Foundation.

KCSP are working on a tether experiment  It involves a smallsat (under 1 kg), a gravity gradient boom, and unspooling a tether as much as possible.

They have a new business, "Ashes to Orbit".  They put 1 ounce of ashes into a polar orbit, the ashes disperse into a cloud, they come back to Earth in 1-2 weeks, and spread over the Earth.  They're designing the capsule, and the launch provider has not been announced yet.

Their name is based on the mascot of a university they've worked with.