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Is the N-Prize Actually Achievable?

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:27 pm
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Is the N-Prize Actually Achievable? 

Do you believe that the N-Prize is achievable?
Yes 65%  65%  [ 17 ]
No 35%  35%  [ 9 ]
Total votes : 26

Is the N-Prize Actually Achievable? 
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Post Is the N-Prize Actually Achievable?   Posted on: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:27 pm
Guys,

Obviously teams can vote, however i was just intersted in the public perception of this prize. I am fairly interested to see how many people feel the prize is achievable! is it more or less achievable than the X-prize was when it was created?

Should be an interesting little poll!
So please vote above :)



Here are the rules again (in brief), for those unfamiliar with the prize.

The N-Prize offers two cash Prizes, each of £9,999.99
(Currently $14,949.90 USD)

The prizes will be awarded to the first persons or groups to put into orbit around the Earth a satellite with a mass of between 9.99 and 19.99 grams, and to prove that it has completed at least 9 orbits.

One prize (the "single-spend-to-orbit", or "SSO" Prize) will be awarded to the first entrant to complete the challenge using a non-reusable launch system. The other prize (the "reusable vehicle" or "RV" Prize) will be awarded to the first entrant to complete the challenge using a partially or wholly reusable launch system. Both prizes carry equal status.

The cost of the launch, but not ground facilities, must fall within a budget of £999.99. Entrants for the RV Prize may exceed this budget, but must demonstrate recovery of hardware such that the per-launch cost remains within £999.99.

Vote away :)

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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 02, 2008 5:14 pm
I have voted for yes before I found out about the time limit for the prize (19. September 2011).
In this limited timeframe I'm not entirely sure about it, but being an optimist I would still vote for yes.

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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:45 pm
I could hardly vote "no", now, could I? :D

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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:24 pm
I think it's possible to launch something like that, but not for $1500, unless you're very creative with the accounting.

Look like I'm the only no vote, though. I'll try to remember to come back in three years.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:01 pm
I believe the RV prize is very achievable for the money allocated, the SSO will require some very creative thinking and well what Ben said some creative accounting! But not impossible!!


Iain


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Post    Posted on: Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:14 pm
Iain you are chasing the SSO prize no?

The thing about this prize is the budget does not include development amortisation. The physical size of the rocket is very small, so even for the SSO the rocket itself can be mass produced.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 12:27 am
But the physical size isn't really that small for anything that is making orbit. There are square-cube issues.

Have any of the teams put together a rough spreadsheet of masses and volumes for their proposal that they're sharing?


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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:04 am
I expect teams may make it to orbit with their wee little sats several times before doing it on budget.

I can make the reusable system work on paper, I can't see a way forward for an SSO yet however.

On the other hand I am building something capable of launching a triple Cubesat. The square/cube issues you alluded to make it pointless for my design to be smaller.

However you are only talking 50-100 Kilos of material all up.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:49 am
Yes, it's achievable...

http://littlemonsterrocket.webnode.com/ ... -possible/

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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:32 pm
That says possible, not achievable. There is a significant difference.

It's also essentially hand waving, which is why I was hoping someone would have shared their plan using actual numbers.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:34 pm
Ben:

I knew someone was going to say something like that. You need to read the article. Yes, the N-Prize it is possible. AND, yes the N-Prize is achievable.

There is *not* a significant difference between the "possible" and the "achievable" in this context. Ignorance and mis perception creates such difference where none exists.

What is possible is also achievable if such possibility requires the subject to be achievable in order to be possible. When determining the possibility of such a system within a set, if one must consider what is achievable within that set, by default that which is deemed possible is also achievable.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:48 pm
Also, a quick note... saying the sun is not part of the atmosphere (if others think it is) it not "hand waving" just because the distance to the sun is not disclosed...

Saying that heavier than air powered flight is possible (when others think it's not) is not "hand waving" just because the equations for propeller design have not yet been developed.

But in fact, this prize is nowhere near as extreme a those examples because we're actually working with largely known facts and physics. To think that the N-Prize is not achievable is to shunt (or be unaware of) what we already know to be physically achievable.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:31 pm
If someone could achieve a 999 GBP orbital launch, this prize would be pretty low on the the list of priorities to collect on.

Right now it's just a collection of slapped together blogs and photos of people lighting firecrackers under coffee cans.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:18 pm
i think it's perfectly reasonable to distinguish between possible and achievable. there's no question that the propellant required to launch a hypothetical vehicle made of relatively inexpensive materials to orbit is less than $2000 (though i should point out that the pound is falling rapidly, so that's more like $1500 now- a worthy point that maybe it should be benchmarked against the exchange rate when announced, as american teams are now significantly disadvantaged by changes in the currency market). there's no doubt that the prize is possible, especially with an arbitrarily large group of people spending arbitrary development funds on it... will it be possible for a group of max ~10 people spending probably no more than max ~$100k on it... well that's another question. i'm inclined to say yes, but in the specified timeframe there's no guarantee.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:38 pm
There is no difference between "possible" and "achievable" in the context of the N-Prize. The N-Prize is on the ragged edge of feasibility, which is the allure of the contest.

Please re-read my earlier post to discover why there is no difference in the terms within the context of this contest. The N-Prize, by definition, must be achievable to be possible. The question if any entrant will "win it" is another altogether and one the N-Prize itself will decide.

To the person who was disparaging the capabilities of the entrants in the contest (i.e., the "firecracker" comment), you haven't been paying attention to all the teams. While it's true that there's a mixed bag with regards to the various entrant's capabilities, there are those in the contest with the experience, abilities, and resources required to succeed; whether or not they will is the essence of the challenge itself.

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