Sunday, June 24, 2012

NanoSatisfi, ArduSat, and Prizes

ArduSat - run your experiment in space for a week - Space for All

As the linked article explains, company NanoSatisfi wants to build and launch a cubesat called ArduSat using funding from a Kickstarter project.  ArduSat would house a variety of small sensors and experiments, including those from some of the Kickstarter contributors.  There are a number of prize angles on this story, which I'll explain in good time.  Before that, though, I should note that currently $43,305 has been pledged out of a goal of $35,000.  In this case the goal is to add a second cube to the satellite, increasing its capabilities.  Additional goals they mention that also depend on funding include a higher altitude orbit enabling a longer mission and a third cube, making it a 3U or triple cubesat.  However, for now they are concentrating on that second cube.  One of the Kickstarter "Updates" has more on this: 

And now you are inspiring us to dream just a little bigger.

We want to build you a double sized ArduSat, with more power (always good), a much better camera and pointing accuracy for better pictures, and more sensors (we’ve seen some amazing suggestions, keep them coming!) for even better experiments. Or, we could even look into giving you two single-sized ArduSats so you can build communication experiments or games between the two satellites.

But for that to happen, we have to reach at least $75,000. In just three more weeks! This is a very short time but we believe that with your help we can make this happen. If you want a larger, more capable ArduSat – and we seriously hope you do – reach out to your local schools, art centers, universities, Hacker-centers and DIY-stores. Share your ArduSat story. Pass on your inspiration. Bring them into the ArduSat community and together we can build the most amazing open source satellite ever.

I'll let the Kickstarter page explain some of the prize aspects of their effort: 

Besides being first in line to use the satellite when it goes online (and the obvious bragging rights that come with it!), backers will also have the opportunity to propose additional sensors to include in the payload. Our mass budget currently allows for approximately 5 additional sensors, and we’re holding a voting competition for the best ideas.

Discover Magazine is also holding a competition for the most innovative experiment or application for ArduSat with a grand prize worth $1500 (for details see our extensive FAQ section at the bottom).

Here is a Discover Magazine post on this:

CONTEST: We Want You To Send an Experiment to Space. We’ll Give You $1500 To Do It. - Discover Magazine 80 Beats

One of the ideas that the developers suggested is a competition: 

ENTERTAINMENT: Photography Competition - See who among your friends can snap the coolest/most interesting picture from space. The eye of a hurricane, sunrise over the Indian ocean, even aurora from space – see what marvels you can capture!

The Kickstarter page includes the following updates (among others):

Update #1: Nanosatisfi makes finals of $100,000 NASA Business Plan Competition

Update #5: ArduSat will be tested in the stratosphere by Team Prometheus! - As you probably know, Team Prometheus has been active in quite a few space prize competitions.  Here are some details about this announcement: 

The first flight, scheduled for late September, will carry the payload prototype and flight computer to an altitude of 100,000 feet (roughly 30 km) using a balloon, and will allow for testing of the payload and sensor performance, onboard data handling protocols, and communication systems.

The second flight, scheduled for October, will launch a new payload prototype and flight computer to an altitude of roughly 40 miles (64 kilometres) atop a balloon-launched rocket.

Here's the NanoSatisfi twitter account.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Prize Roundup: Sample Return Event and Future, NewSpace Biz Plan, Diamandis Interview, Final Frontier Design, More

Finalists for the $110,000 NewSpace2012 Business Plan Competition Have Been Selected - NewSpace Business Plan Competition

Here are some photo sets and summaries of the recently-held Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge and associated festival at WPI.  As you can tell from the excerpts I've pulled out, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens with the challenge in the future.

NASA Centennial Challenge, Touch Tomorrow Draw 7,000 Visitors to WPI - WPI Connection: 

“Touch Tomorrow, which we hope will become an annual event, is designed to inspire young people, their families and teachers through exposure to and interaction with advanced aerospace and robotics technology.”


Stafford said NASA will continue the Centennial Challenge competition at WPI again next year.

“Absolutely. We are happy with it, and from everything I’ve heard, NASA is thrilled by our venue. We will  certainly endeavor to have it. It will be a different competition site, but it will be hosted by WPI.”

Sample Return Robot Return Challenge at WPI Concludes - NASA
20120616 Robot Challenge - Photo set from NASAHQ with detailed descriptions attached to each photo
No bot wins robot challenge - Cosmic Log
Update from the Challenge - Sample Return Robot Challenge at WPI - From the comments:

The decision on whether or not this challenge will continue still needs to be discussed and decided. The goal is to have a decision and announcement on the future of this challenge as soon as possible.

Tongal/NASA Zero Robotics Video Challenge - Space for All

Utah State wins 2012 University Student Launch Project rocketry challenge - Space for All

2013 NASA Space Settlement Design Contest - NASA Hack Space

Students compete with Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts - RLV News

X Prize Founder Peter Diamandis Has His Eyes on the Future - Wired - This interview has the following interesting note on a potential X PRIZE: 

The Tri-State Carbon Capture X Prize is 50 percent funded. Sequestering carbon from a coal plant’s smokestack currently takes up to 30 percent of the plant’s energy. An energy company called Tri-State has put up not only half of the money but one of its plants as a test bed. Teams will tap the facility’s effluent at full pressure, temperature, and CO2 concentration. The team that captures the most CO2 and turns it into the most valuable product takes the prize.

Final Frontier Design creating budget space suit for private space industry - GizMag

New York startup pitches commercial spacesuit on Kickstarter - Wired.Co.UK on the second place winners of the final Astronaut Glove Challenge

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2012 CanSat Competition Results

2012 CanSat Competition Winners - American Astronautical Society

2012 Competition Winners - Cansat Competition - This one gives the scores and other details.
2012 Photos - Cansat Competition

Cansat Competition 2012 -- Rocket launch 1
Cansat Competition 2012 -- Rocket Launch 2 - - SandroSalgueiro on YouTube

Student team competes in CanSat Competition - University of Minnesota Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Space Prize Roundup: SSR Approaches, Space Pirates Strike Back, Public Sector Prizes Forum, More

I have several updates on NASA Centennial Challenges:

Garver To Attend NASA $1.5 Million Robot Competition June 16 - NASA on the NASA-WPI Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge

The NASA Centennial Challenges are now on Facebook: NASA Centennial Challenges.  They have a few pictures related to the SSR Challenge, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more over the next few days.

Space Florida Announces Nano-Sat Launch Challenge Logo Design Contest - Space Florida

Space Elevator conference registration now open! - The Space Elevator Blog - The conference, to be held at the Seattle Museum of Flight, includes the Strong Tether Centennial Challenge and a robotic climber competition for kids.

The Return of the Kansas City Space Pirates - The Space Elevator Blog - It sounds like the KCSP team is going to make this year's Space Elevator conference even more interesting.  Hmmm ... I wonder how LaserMotive will respond? See more information at the KCSP blog 2012- New Mission: The Dawn of Laser Powered Flight

FAQ-What are the uses for wireless power via laser? - LaserMotive

Here's an article that isn't really about Armadillo Aerospace, another former Centennial Challenge team, but that nevertheless has some Armadillo "ambiance": 'Doom 3 BFG Edition' will deliver the full Doom back catalog plus new levels

Yesterday, the Collaborative Innovation: Public Sector Prizes was held by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Case Foundation, and the Joyce Foundation.  Here are a couple related articles:

Unleashing Innovation and Deepening Democracy Through Prizes - The White House Blog

How the White House is aiming the X Prize model at big problems - CNET interviews Cristin Dorgelo, formerly of the X PRIZE Foundation and now Assistant Director of Grand Challenges in the OSTP

To round things out, I'll catch up on some other prize news:

One moonshot team buys up another - Cosmic Log on Moon Express and Next Giant Leap

Landsat Contest Offers View of Local Landscape Change from Space - NASA - The contest is at "My American Landscape" Contest: A Space Chronicle of Change.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Student Prize Roundup: Lunabotics, Conrad Awards, X-Hab, URC, RASC-AL, WPI hosting Sample Return Robot Challenge

Alabama robotics team takes home first prize - The Crimson White on the winners of the 2012 NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition, Alabama Lunabotics

2012-2013 Spirit of Innovation Challenge now open! - Spirit of Innovation Challenge (Conrad Challenge)

NASA Selects Five Universities For 2013 X-Hab Innovation Challenge - NASA

2012 University Rover Challenge Doesn’t Fail to Excite - Mars Society - The Mars Society also has photos from the event: URC 2012 photos.  The winner is York University, and they also have a lot of photos: York University Rover Team @ URC 2012

Won Robo-Ops! - Oryx 2.0: A Planetary Exploration Mobility Platform,Worcester Polytechnic Institute's 2012 RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops - You can see more posts and photos on that site.

It's not a student-only competition, but the Worcester Polytechnic Institute is also the host of the Sample Return Robot Centennial Challenge competition that will be held about a week from now.  They've made a number of updates since I last mentioned the competition and the festival that goes with it at TouchTomorrow.  It looks like it will be a big event.  Also see the Team Bios at NASA and the latest WPI SRR blog post: Daily Schedule Posted.