Saturday, August 25, 2012

Prize Roundup: Strong Tether Status, Sikorsky Challenge, NSF Video Contest, Lunabotics 2013, More

The most recent update at the Nanosatellite Launch Challenge site at Space Florida discusses the NASA Request for Information I mentioned in my last post on some potential big changes to the challenge: Weekly Update 8.14.2012

Video Contest: Graduate Research Fellows Creating the Future - National Science Foundation

NASA'S 2013 Lunabotics Competition Open For Registration - SpaceRef

Space elevator ideas rising again - Cosmic Log includes the status of the Strong Tether Challenge in this overview.  Although the NASA Centennial Challenge expired, ISEC is still interested in the competition.  From the Space Elevator Blog post from a couple weeks ago Space Elevator Conference registration deadline approaching… : 

ISEC is funding the prize purse for this year’s Tether Strength Competition and the rules have been updated to lower the bar a bit and increase the chances that someone will win the competition this year.  Competition rules are now available on the conference web site.  One or two teams are interested in competing this year and we’re working to get them registered for the challenge.

However, according to the Competition rules link above,

The Strong Tether Challenge will not be held at the 2012 Space Elevator Conference and is postponed until next year.  We were not able get the competition organized in time to allow participants to adequately prepare for the conference.  However, we are now prepared to have the competition organized and announced well before next year's conference and also have time to look for additional sponsors to increase funding for the prize purse.

Engineering TV Video from AUVSI on Laser-Powered Stalker - LaserMotive, the winner of the other NASA Centennial Challenge presented as a Space Elevator competition, the Beam Power/Climber Challenge, shows its work with Lockheed Martin.

Conrad Foundation News, August Newsletter, 2012 - Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Awards

The Sikorsky Entrepreneurial Challenge - Sikorsky - Although Sikorsky is focused on helicopters, some of the current challenges are relevant to spacecraft, too:
  1. How can your business concept enable safe, high-speed manned and unmanned vehicle operations in complex, obstacle-rich environments?
  2. How can your business concept utilize vertical flight to better serve or create new markets?
  3. How can your business concept introduce new approaches to preserve, stabilize or heal damaged systems and structures?
  4. How can your business concept reduce the cost and time of the design-build-test-qualify process for new complex vehicles?
  5. How can your business concept realize cost savings and lead-time reductions by using 3-D printing and additive manufacturing to produce or maintain components in vehicles?
Documentary about UK student space design competition - Space for All

NewSpace Competition a Potential Model for Canada - Commercial Space

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Prize Roundup: New Nanosat Launch Challenge Approaches, Network Visualization, SLI, NRC Response, More

European Southern Observatory holding two public contests - Space for All

Google Lunar X PRIZE Roundup #5 - MyMoon

Visualize This! NSA Network Visualization Contest - for the National Security Agency

NASA HEOMD Announcement of Cubesat Launch Initiative - SpaceRef

Weekly Update 8.6.2012 - Space Florida for the Nanosatellite Launch Challenge, with a brief note on rule changes and sponsors.  There isn't much activity on the forum, but there is now an effort to make an external forum for the competition: Nano Sat Launch Pad.  SpaceRef posted the following RFI from NASA on the challenge: NASA Request for Information: Centennial Challenges Nano Satellite Launch Challenge.  Here is an excerpt discussing possible big changes to the competition, which started as a $2M competition, and is currently for $3M: 

Several approaches to the NSL Challenge are being considered by NASA. In one approach an initial competition would require delivery of payloads to LEO twice within a one-week period using a launch system sized to deliver up to 10Kg to LEO. The competition would be for one year and a $3M prize purse would be divided between all successful competitors. Subsequently, a second competition would be held that would require successful competitors to deliver payloads to LEO at least ten times within a one-year period using a launch system sized to deliver up to 10Kg to LEO. A total prize purse of $6M would be offered for at least 10 successful payload deliveries: 1st Place receiving $3M for most deliveries; 2nd place, $2M for next most deliveries; and 3rd place, $1M for next most deliveries. ... An alternative approach to the NSL Challenge would be initially to focus on component and subsystem technology development. In particular the avionics for small launch vehicles is considered a significant cost item and novel approaches will be required to achieve a launch cost that is attractive to most nano-satellite developers. This phase would be followed by launch vehicle demonstration competitions along the lines of the approach described above.

Here is the NASA document, complete with RFI questionnaire for potential Nanosat Launch competitors and their potential customers: Request for Information - Centennial Challenges Nano Satellite Launch (NSL) Challenge (PDF)

An Open Letter to the National Research Council’s Committee on the Strategic Direction of NASA - Dennis Wingo includes a section on "Large Scale Prizes" in his answer to the NRC question on commercial space ventures.

2012-2013 NASA's University Student Launch Initiative - SpaceRef

Lockheed Martin Launches Innovation Contest - SpaceRef: 

The "Innovate the Future" contest creates a global forum for interested participants to share their ideas on how innovation can enable a more secure future for the planet. Participants are invited to submit their thoughts on a range of topics facing the world community, including the need for sustainable energy, cyber security, and healthcare. ...

There will be up to one $25,000 grand prize, one $10,000 second place prize, and three $5,000 third place prizes. The grand prize winner will also receive an incubation contract with the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute at the University of Maryland to help validate and develop the idea.

Here's a link to the site: Innovate the Future Challenge

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Prize Roundup - Arkyd Hosting CubeSats, EuSPEC, Aerial Robotics, New Physics Prize, More

A Spacecraft Within A Spacecraft (link from NewSpace Watch) - Planetary Resources announces that each of their Arkyd 100 spacecraft will be able to deploy a CubeSat, and that they will hold a competition for one of them: 

Planetary Resources is proud to support this community by providing a 1U Cubesat spot to the public – free of charge – through its Arkyd CubeSat Challenge. And, best of all, our online community – YOU – will help to select the winner! ... In the coming weeks, we will be announcing additional information regarding the Challenge’s structure, requirements, and timeframe. Stay tuned here for more details.

EuSPEC 2012 planning well underway… - Space Elevator Blog on the 2012 European Space Elevator Challenge

Citizens In Space - SpaceHack

2012 International Aerial Robotics Competition - This is being held in Grand Forks North Dakota (July 31-August 3) and Beijing China (August 7-9)

Russian tycoon kicks off physics prize with $27 million in awards - Cosmic Log

Life Technologies to Compete in $10 Million Archon Genomics X PRIZE - X PRIZE Foundation

Here's a prize-related Kickstarter project that successfully met its funding goal: Atlas: A Human-Powered Helicopter for a Historical First! - A helicopter, powered solely by the pilot, designed to achieve one of the greatest challenges in aviation history: the Sikorsky Prize.