Saturday, August 20, 2011

NASA Centennial Challenge Updates: Sample Return, Nanosat, Green Flight, Tether, More

A lot has been happening related to NASA Centennial Challenges in the last few weeks, so here's an update that focuses mainly on them.

Some teams are anxious to learn more about the rules and team agreement for the Sample Return Robot Challenge:

Update on Challenge

Status Update - Sample Return Robot Challenge

As you can see, starting a major prize competition can be quite a challenge in itself.

Team Phoenicia to hold 2nd Nanosat launcher seminar - RLV News - From the Team Phoenicia post: 

This will be upgraded to a two day event based on the feedback that we have received. Food and drink will be provided. There will be speakers in the vein of last time, but additionally all potential teams that wish to present will be able to do so on a first come, first serve basis until the slots are filled. Potential suppliers for the teams will also be given time to present as well.

Tech Could Beam Power to Drones - Lasers could power drones in flight and remove the need for gas deliveries to army bases. - Discovery News covers LaserMotive, the winner of the most recent Beam Power Centennial Challenge.

Also check out the recent tweets from @LaserMotive at the Unmanned Systems North America 2011 conference.  The conference had some other prize events, including a student competition pavilion, a photo contest, awards, and the following X PRIZE hint:

@: Diamandis: will announce $10M purse James Cook X Prize next month for AUV that can circumnavigate the globe collecting certain data.

Move Over DARPA: X Prize is Here - National Defense Magazine - This covers the Peter Diamandis talk at the conference.  It includes a bit more information about potential prizes, including the James Cook X Challenge for a long-range autonomous underwater vehicle with a sensor suite and an Autonomous Auto X PRIZE that would pick up where the DARPA Challenges left off.

Getting back to the Centennial Challenges, here's some news about the Green Flight Challenge:

Google to Sponsor Green Flight Challenge - CAFE Foundation Blog: 

CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency) will conduct the event from September 25 through October 2, 2011 at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. ... All competing aircraft will be shown to the public at the Google Green Flight Challenge Exposition hosted by NASA at Moffett Field–NASA Ames Research Center, from 9 AM to 4 PM on October 3, 2011. ... In addition to the main prizes for highest scores, the competition includes a bio-fuel prize and plans for a special Lindbergh Prize for Quietest aircraft, to be presented by Erik Lindbergh, grandson of the renowned winner of aviation’s Orteig Prize, Charles Lindbergh.

In addition to the Centennial Challenge news, the CAFE Foundation also has an announcement from Oshkosh 2011: PC-Aero Wins Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Vision Award

The Tether Strength Competition was held at the Space Elevator Conference a few days ago:

Space Elevator: Going Down? - Seattle Weekly
The 2011 Strong Tether Competition - The Space Elevator Blog

Many competitors in past Centennial Challenges continue their contributions.  The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge is a great example of this:

Thoughts on small sat and cube sat market size. - Unreasonable Rocket

Team Prometheus on Carmack 100kft Micro Prize - Team Prometheus: 

Team Prometheus officially entered the Carmak Micro Challenge today.  Our launch date is set for March 10th 2012.  That's the date for our Space Shot.  Going to be crazy here for a while!

Masten Space Systems Wins NASA Suborbital Flight Contract
Masten Space Systems Announces Management Additions - Masten Space Systems

'Sticky Boom' made for space dockings - Boulder County Business Report on the 2011 Heinlein NewSpace Business Plan Competition win by Altius Space Machines
Biz Plan Pitch Video - Altius Space Machines

Friday, August 12, 2011

2011 Tether Challenge

I'm still here, although I haven't posted in weeks.  I now have a daughter, and that means less frequent posting, especially while I have lots of visitors on extended trips to meet her.

I will quickly note that today one of the NASA Centennial Challenge competitions will be held.  You can find background information, a video stream link, twitter update information, and more here:

2011 Space Elevator Games - Strong Tether Competition - is Friday - The Space Elevator Blog