Community > Forum > Centennial Challenges > Commentator Praises Centennial Challenges

Commentator Praises Centennial Challenges

Posted by: The Legionnaire - Sat Jun 05, 2004 3:35 pm
Post new topic Reply to topic
 [ 6 posts ] 
Commentator Praises Centennial Challenges 
Author Message
Space Walker
Space Walker
User avatar
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:08 pm
Posts: 242
Post Commentator Praises Centennial Challenges   Posted on: Sat Jun 05, 2004 3:35 pm
Blogger Rand Simberg, who is known for being skeptical of many NASA projects, sees potential in the new Centennial Challenges program of prizes conducted by NASA.


"NASA Offers Prize to Private Innovators"
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,110483,00.html

The initiative in the new Office of Exploration budget is small--just two percent of its budget--and perhaps just the proverbial camel's nose under the tent, but that may be just as well. It could prove a useful pilot program to determine whether NASA is truly interested in true innovation, from previously-unknown talents, or instead in continuing to maintain the status quo. The eyes of the alternative space community will be kept very closely on this prize.


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 4:25 pm
Posts: 122
Post    Posted on: Sat Jun 05, 2004 5:44 pm
i have little against nasa but i think they've felt the success of the ansari x-prize as a kick in the butt, let's hope all this is more than a face-saving measure - if it is, it's smart


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 8:59 am
Posts: 578
Location: Zurich
Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 06, 2004 10:33 am
n54 wrote:
i have little against nasa but i think they've felt the success of the ansari x-prize as a kick in the butt, let's hope all this is more than a face-saving measure - if it is, it's smart


Let's not count our chickens just yet n54, June 21 is still some time away ... and "there's many a slip between cup and lip" (from your own Ben Franklin I think) ... if something goes wrong ... :( ... well perhaps that should be covered in another thread.

_________________
Per aspera ad astra


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 4:25 pm
Posts: 122
Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 06, 2004 11:38 am
true but i was thinking of the amount of innovation the ansari x-prize has achieved (not any future flights).

i'm also pretty sure that any of those innovations would be quickly crushed by internal bureaucratic pressure in nasa (after all there is a reason nasa hasn't done these things themselves - it's not like they lack the brains).

the ingenious thing about the ansari x-prize is that it kind of acts like a "one step backwards, two forwards" approach. that might sound bad but here's my thinking: the governmental organisations did LEO fast and went for the "big prize" of orbital and beyond. the ansari x-prize has focused (by necessity) on LEO/sub-orbital thus enabeling many to focus on "updating" and rethinking the basics. i think this is leading to innovations that will contribute to an accelleration of technology also usable for orbital and beyond (extensive use of composite materials, new designs in rocket motors etc. etc. <-- things already being done).

i furthermore think nasa realizes the above and that they want a piece of the cake or at least be able to say that they're "involved" next time they have to defend their budget (which can be harder when (hopefully) more and more people are taking suborbital hops).


Back to top
Profile
Space Station Commander
Space Station Commander
User avatar
Joined: Sat May 22, 2004 8:59 am
Posts: 578
Location: Zurich
Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:41 pm
the anonymous n54 wrote:
true but i was thinking of the amount of innovation the ansari x-prize has achieved (not any future flights).
I'm also pretty sure that any of those innovations would be quickly crushed by internal bureaucratic pressure in nasa ...


Well, innovations of the sort we have seen probably would have been ... crushed (a hard word but it's not inaccurate I suppose, I would have used the slightly more optimistic "postponed indefinitely") ... for fairly good reasons, most of which would center around current goals and budget constraints.

I'm not saying that the x-prize innovators aren't making their contribution, and potentially important ones at that ... I imagine that it's difficult for NASA engineers to request funding under the title "innovation for the sake of innovation" (which is a strong under-current for the x-prize, trying different stuff, seeing what happens, what works, seeing if it contributes to the goal, but never knowing with reasonable certainty if its the ultimately "winning" approach) ... the potential returns are undoubtedly strong, but the risk (the uncertainty) of that sort of approach (where you are principally developing a technology with no immediately sensible application in mind but hope that these will become obvious soon after) is pretty large for an organization that has a couple of big fish on its plate already.

n54 wrote:
i furthermore think nasa realizes the above and that they want a piece of the cake or at least be able to say that they're "involved" next time they have to defend their budget (which can be harder when (hopefully) more and more people are taking suborbital hops).


I suspect this too, at least that NASA feels the need to be in some way involved even if it is just to share just a tiny bit of the basking space in the reflected glow of X-prize glory. But they are "getting involved" in a pretty circumspect way ... possibly to limit the bad publicity if anything does go wrong for the X-prize (this could be anything from an expose of organizational corruption [nonexistant as far as I know] to a spectacular accident [god forbid, but in an infinite universe you have to concede the conceivable however remote]).

_________________
Per aspera ad astra


Back to top
Profile
Space Walker
Space Walker
avatar
Joined: Tue May 18, 2004 4:25 pm
Posts: 122
Post    Posted on: Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:55 pm
i completely agree

and as nasa can't be everything to everyone (maybe they've already tried too hard to be this?) i hope the centennial challenge initiative wont discourage the forming of more prizes like the ansari x-prize


Back to top
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
 

Who is online 

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests


© 2014 The International Space Fellowship, developed by Gabitasoft Interactive. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy | Terms of Use