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Next NASA prize announced

Posted by: Andy Hill - Wed May 25, 2005 7:27 am
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Next NASA prize announced 
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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 22, 2005 7:41 pm
Those regolith-related prizes are exactly what we need. I am interested in the chemistry behind all that; if the regolith is mostly glass-like silicates, then it will be extremely difficult to extract O2 from it. The excavating deal shouldn't be that hard, but it needs to be developed. When should we expect to hear about companies winning?


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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 09, 2005 7:33 pm
NASA annouced 2 new challenges today at the X-Prize cup, although there are not to many details out yet it appears that the prize money will be "substatially more than the $250k" sums already announced. It seems like NASA is stepping up a gear at last, excellent news.

One will be for a vertical take off and landing vehicle (now who does that bring to mind? :) ) and the other is for a payload carrying rocket that will have a suborbital height "much more" than the 100km the x-prize set.

http://www.space.com/news/051009_xprize_challenge.html

Here is a report which has a few more details. The payload rocket competition is expected to have an altitude set somewhere between 300km and 1000km, while the VTL vehicle is termed a lunar analogue and will be expected to reach a speed of Mach 6-8. The prize money (>$1M each although congess still needs to approve this) will be put up by NASA but the X-prize organisation will pay for the running costs of the competitions.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9643167/

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Post    Posted on: Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:52 am
Andy Hill wrote:
.

(now who does that bring to mind? :) ) and the other is for a payload carrying rocket that will have a suborbital height "much more" than the 100km the x-prize set.

http://www.space.com/news/051009_xprize_challenge.html
.



The flight profiles of those two prizes..... intimately suits Armadillo!

Vertical takeoff, small payload, autonomous control etc etc, all well within Armadillo's design. :D

Have anyone give John a ring?


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 15, 2005 1:34 am
We are definitely interested in these.

The extreme altitude sounding rocket one is less interesting, because testing it would require carrying very expensive range safety devices, and resuability would be hard coming back from those altitudes.

The lunar-lander one is right up our alley.

John Carmack


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 15, 2005 7:54 am
Aside from the brief announcement by NASA at the XP cup not many details of the competitions have been made public (nothing on the challenges website).

http://exploration.nasa.gov/centennialc ... index.html

Possibly NASA is having trouble getting the OK from congress on the prize money they can put up, does anyone know when these things are likely to to be resolved so we can see more of these bigger competititions?

Cant wait to see the Lunar Armadillo. :)

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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 15, 2005 3:15 pm
I guess more information will be available down the road. But the prize money/bounty of less than 1 mil seems abit too little, especially for the reusable rocket prize.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Oct 15, 2005 6:22 pm
No the prize will be more than $250k which is why NASA hasn't announced the amount yet, they need approval to give prizes above that amount. I've seen a few people mention a $1m prize or more but at the moment it is all conjecture and we will have to wait a see.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:04 am
There is a significant standard - the $10 million set by the ANSARI XPRIZE Foundation for achieving 100 km. This in principle calls for setting a significant high price for significant high altitudes which NASA wants to see achieved.

If NASA's suborbital prize for achieving altitudes much higher than 100 km will meet that standard or go above it is not that sure - given the financial situation of the US. It's onle the Foundation who can ensure that the standard will be met and who can find and get sponsors filling a gap between NASA's prize money and the standard.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:43 am
The X-prize was for manned flight, whereas the high altitude rocket will be unmanned so IMO will be easier to achieve. A lot will depend on the size of the cargo but it sounds like they want a large sounding rocket, I dont think that will warrant a prize of $10m plus.

The Lunar lander will be much harder to achieve and so will be more money. It would be interesting to know what velocity and altitude on Earth would equate to achieving a Lunar orbit, anyone know?

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Post    Posted on: Sun Oct 16, 2005 10:28 am
If I've done my sums right, Lunar orbit is only 1.7km/s which is equivalent (in just energy) to reaching 145km altitude on Earth.
Lunar escape velocity would then be about 2.4km/s the equivalent of 290km of Earth-gravitational energy.

Practically, because speed is not reached instantaneously both lunar orbit and lunar escape would need more delta-V. A similar condition exists on Earth when trying to reach altitude, but here aerodynamic drag losses would also be encountered. Practically, lunar escape might need a similar amount of performance as a flight to 250km altitude on Earth (a delta-V of maybe 3.1km/s). Maybe easier, the vacuum performance of rockets is significantly better when not working in a dense atmosphere. Bear in mind a vehicle designed for lunar escape would perform *very* poorly on Earth, it might not even have sufficient thrust to even lift off before it had used up half its propellant and would suffer very badly from drag.

Any lunar-escape vehicle built in the near future will need fuel carried from Earth to return. If this is provided at anything close to today's costs there would be a great need to keep that mass low (favouring high ISP propellants). This is of secondary significance on Earth, so directly comparing the two types of vehicles has limited value.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:56 pm
More info here:
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/xprize-05e.html


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 20, 2005 7:39 pm
nihiladrem wrote:
Any lunar-escape vehicle built in the near future will need fuel carried from Earth to return. If this is provided at anything close to today's costs there would be a great need to keep that mass low (favouring high ISP propellants). This is of secondary significance on Earth, so directly comparing the two types of vehicles has limited value.


Possibly NASA will stipulate the fuel it wants to use, Methane / Oxygen would be a good bet so they could adapt any technology to a Martian mission at a later date (as they have done for their own lunar lander). I guess if someone came up with a cheaper, more reliable, more efficient or lighter engine then they might use it themselves.

A VTVL craft going to an altitude of 150-200km seems like a good challenge to follow on from the X-prize. The prize money would have to be about the same or maybe more though, I'm not sure that NASA would be willing to put those kinds of sums up.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:48 am
NASA has released some draft rules on 6 new prizes and want external comments on what is achievable from potential competitors. No mention of how big the prizes will be so I guess they are still collecting information before they flesh the competitions out and name a sum.

http://www.exploration.nasa.gov/announc ... s.html#432

They are also looking for organisations to run the competitions, this Space ref article gives some details:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=19551

The new prizes are:

Fuel Depot Demonstration Challenge
Human Lunar All-Terrain Vehicle Challenge
Low-Cost Space Pressure Suit Challenge
Lunar Night Power Source Challenge
Micro Reentry Vehicle Challenge
Station-Keeping Solar Sail Challenge

Its interesting that they have gone for a solar sail challenge as I dont really see how that immeadiately relates to getting back to the moon but I suppose they want to stimulate other areas as well.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:43 am
What about the possibility that the solar sail-prize is meant to couteract to the friction which tends to decay the orbit of the ISS, a future orbital station that might be used/designed as an orbital spacport or a vehicle waiting in the orbit which never will land?

The sunlight will push onto the sail permanently - this would mean a permanent force on the sail and thus any station it is attached or mounted to while the engine of a craft or rocket fires only when the orbit has decayed to a certain degree. The sail also might reduce or remove the requirement of ion engines as they are used by satellites. Under this view the sail might eb meant to reduce the requirements to launch replacements of stations and satellites in order to reduce the grwoth rate of space debris.

What I find very interesting and remarkable are

Human Lunar All-Terrain Vehicle Challenge
Lunar Night Power Source Challenge
Micro Reentry Vehicle Challenge

The first two are required preparations for ´projects missions etc. never done before and that bo experiences are available for since they are manned missions/projects. There never has been a manned mission on the night-side of the Moon yet. The all-terrain-challenge might have to do with the circumstance that it is not clear yet where the lunar station will be located and at what locations else landings might be required. Some terrains will be tricky -like crater walls and mountains in the polar regions where ice is assumed to be found. The terrain there isn't easyly to be investigated and analyzed - for example.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:58 am
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