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Does a single competitor really have more than one chance?

Posted by: Ekkehard Augustin - Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:25 am
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Does a single competitor really have more than one chance? 
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Post Does a single competitor really have more than one chance?   Posted on: Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:25 am
Please think of the costs of a flight towards the Moon a competitor has to pay - at least $ 6.7 mio if the launch is done by SpaceX at present.

If the first flight doesn't succeed regarding the rover and the prize. those $ 6.7 mio have to be paid later again and again and again. After three failed flights the costs are exceeding the prize at $ 20 mio - after four $ 30 mio.

This is looking like a barrier. It might be positive because teams giving up means increased chances for teams that didn't try it before.

But the barrier might become smaller and smaller as SpaceX reduces the launch price as time goes by (announced by Elon Musk).

What about it all?



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)

EDIT: Correction required:

Actually the price is $ 7 mio minimum - only two launches are possible before $ 20 mio are exceeded while four launches are possible before $ 30 mio are exceeded. ...


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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:19 am
Perhaps a joint effort may work? Have one team develop a launch vehicle and another the landing vehicle and rover. A Falcon launch vehicle doesn't have to be used. I'm currently taking a space systems design graduate course and a classmate worked on a feasibility study to launch an orbiting spacecraft around the moon. Here is his class presentation to our class. They proposed to use a Pegesus rocket.

http://mech372.engr.scu.edu/Lectures/Wk3/S4Prev3.pdf

I'm considering forming a team of my own for this prize.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:10 pm
Hello, Rocket Scientist,

then the question will be if the launch vehicle-team can design, develop, construct and build the vehicle significantly cheaper than the costs of a Falcon 1-launch.

But theoretically there might be a chance to team up with companies that want to demonstrate their capabilities. I am thinking of t/Space and their earlierlunar concept here. If a Google Lunar XPRIZE-team could cooperate with them t/Space might apply a QuickReach as launch vehicle into LEO - doing an air launch. Next the stage carrying the XPRIZE-payload towards the Moon might be a downscaled version of t/Space's CEV. This downscaled CEV would be unmanned.

By doing one such flight t/Space would have demonstrated their capability once - but they might be interested to do it more times to convince everyone.

t/Space next might return the downscaled unmanned CEV to Earth keep it in LEO - simply to demonstrate the feasibility of their concept of LEO-tankers and their ability to develop and operate such tankers. All this by downscaled versions of the equipment they designed when competing for the CEV-project.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:12 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Hello, Rocket Scientist,

then the question will be if the launch vehicle-team can design, develop, construct and build the vehicle significantly cheaper than the costs of a Falcon 1-launch.

But theoretically there might be a chance to team up with companies that want to demonstrate their capabilities. I am thinking of t/Space and their earlierlunar concept here. If a Google Lunar XPRIZE-team could cooperate with them t/Space might apply a QuickReach as launch vehicle into LEO - doing an air launch. Next the stage carrying the XPRIZE-payload towards the Moon might be a downscaled version of t/Space's CEV. This downscaled CEV would be unmanned.

By doing one such flight t/Space would have demonstrated their capability once - but they might be interested to do it more times to convince everyone.

t/Space next might return the downscaled unmanned CEV to Earth keep it in LEO - simply to demonstrate the feasibility of their concept of LEO-tankers and their ability to develop and operate such tankers. All this by downscaled versions of the equipment they designed when competing for the CEV-project.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


This is a very good idea. Another possible idea is to piggy back a ride with another payload, perhaps a GEO satellite launch. I've done some work with small cubesats and there have been a few cubesats launched as secondary payloads. Of the course the difficult thing to do is to convince the primary payload's customer to alowl the lunar rover to be launched on the the launch vehicle they paid for. There would obviously be concerns with interference and potential failure of the lunar rover being released which could place the primary payload at risk. Also, a lunuar rover and it's module it travels to the moon in would be significantly larger than a cubesat and its P-Pod ejector mechanism.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:57 am
Hello, Rocket Scientist,

the piggypack-approach might become more chances if several teams wanting piggypack team up.

These teams may be teams that aren't competing to each other. The Mars Society for example also wants to launch ARCHIMEDES piggypack on an Ariane-rocket - they might have improved chances if a Google Lunar XPRIZE-teams joins them.

This idea should be discussed in another section regarding its general advantages, implicatons, meaning and so on.

Regarding the Google-teams it might be interesting to talk about non-Google-teams who are looking for piggypack.



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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:54 pm
The cost of a quickreach launch is quoted as being $5m for a LEO payload of 635kg by

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/quieach1.htm

Has Airlaunch actually started offerring this service commercially yet or is it still in development? Perhaps it might be available by the time someone makes a bid for this prize.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Nov 07, 2007 2:07 pm
Hello, Andy Hill,

I am having nearly one look per day in average to Air Launch LLC's homepage - the development isn't finished up to now and they are in one of the Incremental Critical Design Reviews - ICDR - at present.

There I also did NOT find any information that the payload is 635 kg in between - they keep talking of 100 pounds.

In so far I am wondering where the Encyclopedia Astronautice got the number of 635 kg. Also another very interesting number can be found there tempting to use it in another thread in another section - but the source of that number isn't clear yet.

The first real test-flight of a QuickrEach is announced for late 2008 as far as I remember at present - this sounds as if it will be available when there is a bid for the prize.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:21 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

the data at ww.astronautix.com may have to do with the document "Progress Toward First Flight of the
QuickReachâ„¢ Small Launch Vehicle" www.airlaunchllc.com/AirLaunch%20Small% ... nt%20A.pdf where Ai Launch LLC say
Quote:
... The QuickReachTM payload fairing was selected to provide the largest payload
volume of any launch vehicle in the sub-2000 pound class,...
.

The document partially is interesting also for the CXV-cost-thread in the Financial Barriers-section you started in 2005.



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Post Sponsorship?   Posted on: Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:35 pm
These economic predictions ignore the reality that popular and well publicized launch efforts will attract commercial sponsors!

Since we are talking about launch efforts costing about 1/3 the annual support for a NASCAR or IndyCar racing team (with 33 IndyCar teams in the race every year), popular teams could go on launching - one flight after another - as long as what they are doing is interesting and attracts viewers.

"Viewers" in this case includes internet attention - not just broadcast TV - since this is steadily growing in importance, and GOOGLE, this event's primary sponsor, is a master at earning money in this media and has built in requirements to maximize viewer interest and attention.

Watching FAILED landing attempts in high definition video could be a very popular activity! (Plus all the "close up and personal" coverage as teams prepare for landing efforts.)


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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:59 pm
.

this is (exactly) the MAIN RISK for ALL teams since they MUST accomplish (in the FIRST attempt!) ALL prize's rules to win it!

you know the SpaceX story... despite Musk has spent over $100M in the project, the first TWO Falcon-1 launches FAILED

well, if a team finds (and spends) $20M+ (to launch just ONE rover with ONE rocket) but FAILS, could it find further $20M to try again?

I believe it CAN'T ...also, if the first team/first attemt will FAIL, great part (or all) investors will NEVER give (big) funds to other team to just FAIL again... :(

the Go ogle prize is a "two blades' knife"... if it will succeed, it could boost the private Space efforts ...if fails, it could KILL this new market!

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