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CATS prize

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:43 pm
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CATS prize 
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Post CATS prize   Posted on: Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:43 pm
http://www.space-frontier.org/Projects/CatsPrize/
why is this never mentioned?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:01 pm
Quote:
The CATS Prize ended on November 8, 2000

Perhaps that is why.

DKH

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:32 pm
It was mentioned lol, long long time ago ;)

People who remember the banned annoying "rocket cars" Franklin Ratliff, he came from the cats prize forum ;)
http://www.space-frontier.org/cgi-bin/B ... cindex/CP1

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:34 pm
just thought it was worth mentioning as it had values that are important to us! was a good starting point but never gets credit here

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Post    Posted on: Tue Jan 25, 2005 10:08 pm
The CATS Prize did accomplish some useful goals even if the prize expired before money was awarded.

Try not to worry too much about one mentioning the other, though. If you knew all the people involved, you would find it boils down to a few personalities. It's best to let things lie where they are now and focus on moving forward.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:18 pm
The CATS "Flash Prize" accomplished a lot. (I define a "Flash" prize as one cleverly designed to accomplish an unstated purpose without the expense of actually awarding the prize). Now you see the money, now you don’t! Keep in mind that this prize stimulated A LOT OF EFFORT for a puny $200,000 offering. If congress / NASA would enlist the Space-Frontiers organization to administer the $160 Million effort to “help with space station cargo”, and allow reasonable time, good results would follow. The same can be said of the Xprize team.

Space-Frontiers received a small grant from FINDS (The Foundation for the Independent Development of Space) to administer this project, as well as the promised funding, with its many strings attached. This group, with David Anderman as a visible player, did yeoman service in this role.

FINDS did not really want to pay this kind of money to see a 2 kilogram payload lofted above 200 km altitude, since the prize funding (which they had and still have, to do with as they see fit) ended just as results were beginning to appear. What they obviously wanted was to force a rational definition of how private launches could legally be conducted in this country. The legality conditions were clearly spelled out in the rules. Just a few years earlier, knowledgeable experts claimed that a private launch would never be legal in the US. Once regulatory authority was taken away from NASA (possibly as a consequence of the Challenger event), private launch became thinkable, but had never been tried. The CATS prize deluged the FAA with launch inquiries, as intended, and forced the FAA to hire new personnel (as reported to me by an involved FAA official at the time) and to formalize the applicable procedures.

As a result, the FAA approved the launch plans of four companies. The CSXT effort, led by Ky Michelson, receiver the first ever US launch license for a non-governmentally developed space launch, although this had been downgraded to only 100km+ altitude. This was flown in Sept. 2000, which I witnessed. A near max-Q fin failure doomed this flight above 45,000 ft. The third licensed flight for this group, in May 2004, became the first ever independent flight above 100 km (to be followed by Rutan’s manned flight the next month.

The second CATS flight (and only actual flight actually promising to exceed 200 km altitude), was flown by HARC, as licensed, from a balloon high over the Gulf of Mexico. This flight went poorly, with the rocket “not climbing above its launch altitude”. An Interorbital flight was licensed for launch off the pacific coast. It was “delayed because of bad weather”. Presumably the weather has improved at some point since, and a ready to fly vehicle could have been demonstrated without actually qualifying for the prize money (the actual situation which faced Lindberg in 1927). The last approved launch would have allowed JP Aerospace to conduct a balloon launch over the Gulf of Mexico, but this was approved after the cutoff date for the CATS Prize offering. (But a ready to fly rocket ? … ) ( in the almost also ran group … Micro-Space was an announced participant in this contest, with only preliminary discussions with the FAA, and years before our first liquid fuel rocket flights.)

These four teams completed the heroic, two year effort to obtain the required FAA licensing and paved the way for those who follow. As expected, this left little time to perfect the flight vehicles (which could not begin flight testing without those licenses) and the two rockets which flew fell short of the requirements.

All four of these teams are conspicuously active in continuing space flight efforts.

Is there anyone on the planet who actually cares enough about private spaceflight to raise a small prize and award for unmanned space flight (as promised by most Xprize teams for development), and reward this step in technological advancement? :?:


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Post    Posted on: Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:46 am
hmm.... i didn't know any of that. shame how such important stuff gets smothered by the lack of glamour and by regulations.....

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Post    Posted on: Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:00 pm
Wow. In light of what rpspeck has just said, the CATS prize seems to have been an outstanding piece of propaganda - The Man Who Sold The Moon, anyone?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:11 am
rpspeck,

I remember the final days of the CATS prize a little different than you do. I was with the JP Aerospace team at the time.

1. The FINDS group really did want to award the money. They would have accomplished much more with a win than with what they got.

2. The FAA/AST was much less cooperative than you suggest. Since then people have retired, so I won't harp on that point.

3. You didn't mention that fact that the prize was international in nature. There were non-US teams working to fly at the end.

4. Some of your details for what each American team was doing or going to do are a little off. It doesn't really matter much anymore, but if you want to get the details right, you should ask some of the folks who where there.

I'm glad you remember as much of it as you do. Remember that the main 'unspoken' goal was the setting of precedents for regulatory reasons and you'll be able to read between the lines moderately well.

Anyone interested in reading the old communications can find them on the archived BBS we all used back then. It is located at http://www.space-frontier.org/cgi-bin/B ... cindex/CP1

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Post    Posted on: Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:21 pm
Thanks for the input.

Point 1, I certainly had the impression that Anderman wanted someone to win. I infer what I can about others, with no inside information, and the money source elected not to extend the window even with promising progress.

Point 2, I dipped my toe into the FAA process, and I meant what I said about the heroic effort you (at JP aerospace) and others sustained over two years to succeed! The FAA even had the gall to offer you a launch license when it was too late to matter! However that mountain, like Everest, proved sort of climbable (but very, very difficult).

Point 3, I skipped one of my pet subjects: THE U.S.A. HAS NO LOCK ON ENTREPRENEURIAL SPACE FLIGHT: IT IS UP FOR GRABS! I particularly liked the Danish effort, with permission (?) to launch from Greenland.

Point 4, I am a long way from being a good historian, but I thought that today’s readers should know something about what you, who went before, accomplished!


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