Community > Forum > Wirefly X Prize Cup > sorry to bring it up again but what next?

sorry to bring it up again but what next?

Posted by: Rob Goldsmith - Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:41 am
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sorry to bring it up again but what next? 
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Space Walker
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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 3:48 pm
lol :D before we die of old age preferably (go ansari x-prize and the x-cup!)

on the silly side: peanut eating in "space" (micro-g)? that has got to be a serious health hazard lol


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:34 am
Here's a thought, what if some of the revenue earned from the first few X Prize Cups were pooled into a "Y-Prize." By 2008 or so I'd think that they could easily raise $50 million in prize money, but they could start even sooner than that. Remember that the X-Prize was not fulley funded unitl a few years after it was started, so the Y-Prize could be launched by 2005-ish. While the X Prize Cups would encourage the development of the suborbital industry, the Y-Prize could jump start orbital space tourism the same way the X-Prize is sure to do.

The Y-Prize would be $50 million awarded to the first team that develops an all-private vehicle capible of achieving a 150x150 mile orbit while carrying three people and staying up there for 24 hours. The catch is that the total launch system can not have more than 80% of its launch mass (Minus fuel) replaced between two flights no more than 20 days apart. That's a much more daunting task than the X-Prize, but some of the parameters are easier to achieve. The X-Prize requires that 90% of the launch mass must remain the same and that the two flights must be within a week of each other. Mind you, it only took a year to go from the suborbital Mercuries to the orbital flights, and when you consider that several of the X-Prize teams will have cash flowing in from profitable business this should be achievable by about 2012.

After that? We move on to the Z-Prize. You guessed it (Maybe), $200 million to the first guys back to the Moon. The prize money goes to the first team to successfully launch at least three people into lunar orbit and two people to the surface of the Moon for a stay time of 24 hours on the surface and 48 in orbit. At least 75% of the non-propellant launch mass must remain the same for two flights within 60 days of each other. That might sound pretty far fetched, but this won't be won untill about 2020, so I think it's actually quite reasonable.

If we're lucky, we might get a new space race, China vs. Scaled, Armadillo, and the other X-Prizers for the second to the Moon status. I can't wait! :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 9:25 am
lol, sounds good!
thing thatwould worry me is that people may lose interest between the long years! maybe smaller stpes would keep public imagination, people are already talking about bush's plan losing excitement! Kinda funny though that x-prize teams will have put people into space before ESA! scary thought, theyd better hurry up with their phoenix! Anyone know stats on the shenzou5 are any of our rockets anywhere near that big or have capabilities similar, and will the shenzou 6 be similar to an apollo craft? if the teams realy got their act together it may be an idea to go round the moon and deploy a soil return craft! or is that even further away! sure carmack could write the software to do it!

also occured to me, do the teams realy rival each other or do you think they want the best for each other? they could spend a lot of time together in the x-cup so will it be beers together or a hidious rivalry!?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 10:07 pm
robiwan wrote:
lol, sounds good!
also occured to me, do the teams realy rival each other or do you think they want the best for each other?


This is a really intriguing question. Virtually everyone on the X PRIZE teams believes in the importance of opening the space frontier, and so they welcome all the other teams who are trying to do the same. On the other hand, an altruistic team that goes bankrupt won't help anyone.

Another example is SpaceX and Kistler, which are currently the only two companies trying to build orbital RLVs. SpaceX is protesting a NASA contract that Kistler just got. This might help SpaceX, but it hurts the fragile industry.

In twenty years, the industry won't be "fragile" anymore, and ruthless business tactics should be more common.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 11:37 pm
Senior Von Braun wrote:
After that? We move on to the Z-Prize. You guessed it (Maybe), $200 million to the first guys back to the Moon. The prize money goes to the first team to successfully launch at least three people into lunar orbit and two people to the surface of the Moon for a stay time of 24 hours on the surface and 48 in orbit. At least 75% of the non-propellant launch mass must remain the same for two flights within 60 days of each other. That might sound pretty far fetched, but this won't be won untill about 2020, so I think it's actually quite reasonable.

If we're lucky, we might get a new space race, China vs. Scaled, Armadillo, and the other X-Prizers for the second to the Moon status. I can't wait! :lol:


I like your "Y-Prize" idea, but i would suggest some changes to "Z-Prize". a) 3 man ship that must be able to land on the moon, then relaunch and return to earth (should be easier than a lander for private companies) b) extracting fuel from lunar materials is encouraged, as it may be the only way to successfully do this c) 2 flights must be within a month. of course, 2020 is unreasonably near for a true reusable lunar ship, however 2030 seems reasonable to expect it to become possible by.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 11, 2004 5:08 am
robiwan wrote:
lol, sounds good!
Anyone know stats on the shenzou5 are any of our rockets anywhere near that big or have capabilities similar, and will the shenzou 6 be similar to an apollo craft? if the teams realy got their act together it may be an idea to go round the moon and deploy a soil return craft! or is that even further away! sure carmack could write the software to do it!

also occured to me, do the teams realy rival each other or do you think they want the best for each other? they could spend a lot of time together in the x-cup so will it be beers together or a hidious rivalry!?


Shenzhou 6 will be vitually identical to Shenzhou 5, and both are pretty much suped-up Soyuzes. What exactly do you mean by "our" rockets, the X Prizers' rockets? If that's what you meant, none of them even come close to the capibilities of the Long March CZ-2F, the Shenzhou's launcher. It's a two-stage orbital launcher with four strap-on liquid boosters that can lift 9,200 kg to orbit. Something that big ain't cheap, it costs $50 million a launch, and would be much more expensive were it not for the near-slave-labor in China. By contrast, the most powerful X Prize vehicle in the lot, Starchaser's thunderstar launcher, can hoist their capsule up to 98 miles at mach 4.5. Perhaps "can" is the wrong word, "will" is more appropriate. For those interested, I got the above info from this link:

http://astronautix.com/craft/shenzhou.htm

As for the teams' view of each other? I'd guess that it would be a little animocity mixed with a ton of mutual respect. Sure, they're going to rival each other, this is capitalism, rivalry is the whole point of the X Prize. However, I think that they all realize that they are fundamentally all on the same side, each of them making their own contribution to the alt. space evolution. During the X Prize Cup itself they'll be competitive as hell, but afterwards they'd all get together for drinks, not a fight.

TerraMars, I don't really understand change a), a vehicle that can do that would be much more capible, and harder to do, than one that just drops two people on the surface for a short stay. Besides, you can make a ship that can do that and it won't violate any of the Z Prize rules. Lunar fuel production shouldn't necessarily be encouraged, let the teams do whatever they like. In-situ fuel making sounds great on paper, but trying to do so on the Moon just makes huge headaches and saves very little mass. In order to make your own propellants on the Moon you would have to first burn carbon you bring yourself with lunar regolith at a ratio of twice as much carbon as regolith. The result is silicon and carbon monoxide, not exactly great rocket fuel. Next you throw out the silicon (It's unusable) and put the carbon monoxide into a reactor where it mixes with with hydrogen in another 2:1 ratio reaction. This gives you ethylene and water, of which you can electrolyisize the water giving you oxygen, which you pump into an oxidizer tank, and hydrogen, which you mix with the ethylene in a propellant "slush." Maybe there's a better way to do this, if there is I'd love to hear it. However, this method involves a lot of moving parts and gives you virtually no mass benefit when you factor in the carbon and hydrogen you have to bring from Earth and all the machinery for not only running the reactions, but making enough electricity for the power-hunger soil baking procedure. If any of the contestants want to use this system, that's fine, but let them draw their own conclusion about what the best way to get back from the Moon is.

I'm going on vacation tomorrow, so I probably won't be able to use the internet for a while. Don't be surprised if it takes me a week or so to reply to anything else you write after this.[/url]

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:12 am
does anyone think our ideas will have any sort of impact on people out of these boards, or that they look at these pages and think wow thats what to do next with the x-prize?

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 11, 2004 10:29 am
robiwan wrote:
does anyone think our ideas will have any sort of impact on people out of these boards, or that they look at these pages and think wow thats what to do next with the x-prize?

We already know that some folks involved in competing for the x-prize come to, and occasionally contribute to, these boards. So the answer to your question is ... maybe. The point is that there is a good chance that these ideas are in fact being read by at least some of the right people.

In that case, if the ideas are good, then they will get picked up ... talked about in the right circles ... and then, maybe, realize some sort of fruition ... eventually.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 11, 2004 10:55 am
Perhaps we should cool things down a bit and enjoy watching to see who wins the x-prize first. If we become as fickle as the general public following Apollo 11, we could do untold harm to aspiring space launch companies. Of course we should push for bigger and better, but how about letting the industry get a commercial foothold in the here and now before making demands for a 6 hour return flight round the sun, losing zero mass and powered by smugness! :lol: This thing is not won yet, enjoy it and be glad its happening.

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Post    Posted on: Fri Jun 11, 2004 11:00 am
the ideas aren't really ours, they've been around a while. but yes they're going to be picked up if necessary but i think most people here are way too optimistic as to how soon (would love to be wrong on this last point but unless you yourself have a definite plan to either pay for the prize or detailed plans on how to solve the technological challenges i don't think you can convince me on this)

edit: well said luke!


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