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Will the prize be won?

Posted by: Ben - Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:49 am
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Will the prize be won? 

Will N-Prizes be won by 19 September 2011 with the rules functionally equivalent to what they are now, including the current cost requirements?
Neither will be won. 40%  40%  [ 12 ]
The reusable prize will be won, but not the single spend. 13%  13%  [ 4 ]
The single spend will be won, but not the reusable. 13%  13%  [ 4 ]
Both prizes will be won. 33%  33%  [ 10 ]
Total votes : 30

Will the prize be won? 
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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:00 pm
I'm not going to reply to Monroe's bit, as that's obviously futile. This, though:

JamesHughes wrote:
That's the point/definition of sponsorship - you get something in return. What people really need is donations. Musk donated money to SpaceX, Carmack donated money to Armadillo, Bezos to Blue Origin, Allen to Scaled.


While there have been projects funded by donations, none of the ones you list are that. In SpaceX, Blue, and Armadillo, the founders each acted as would an angel investor, and got equity in exchange for early round funding. In other words, while they did put in money with no expectation of immediate returns, each person then owns most or all of their company and is free to sell it later.

Paul Allen got IP rights which were then sold to Virgin Galactic; he got out more than he put in. That may or may not have been in the form of part ownership of The Spaceship Company; I don't recall the specifics of the deal.

For examples of donations, you could point at the Allen Telescope Array, or the Musk Observatory. But note that the donations are vastly smaller dollar values than the hundreds of millions of dollars put into investments.

Unusual projects need to be initially self funded or funded through a very sympathetic angel investor. But if, as the company matures, you can't convince people to invest in the project, that is the market telling you that the project isn't likely to be profitable.

If your objective is to just do something, rather than be profitable, then you need to look how similar projects were funded in the past. A satellite launcher is not something that will get funded as something just to do, like being the first to the south pole, unless you sell it to a sovereign as a national prestige project. Groups like ARCA have succeeded in that respect despite very low chances of succeeding.


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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:20 pm
100% agree with Ben on this one. Almost all of the great rocket engineers I've talked to in this space have no idea of how to set up a market proposition to appeal to an outside investor. Most of the current successful space companies (possible exceptions being XCOR and Masten) were literally started by their primary investor. These people understood the market problem that they were trying to address and risked their own money to develop the technology to combat it.

You need to step away from "we are building this so we can launch this amount of stuff" towards "these people want to put stuff in space and we can do that at low cost by providing this straightforward technology that fills a currently empty niche in the ecosystem". Sure it's hard to make that sale when you don't have a successful launch under your belt, but it's the one that everyone should be making. Not "my tech is so much better because of x,y,and z".

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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:04 am
I tried that approach and it failed. Going with the self funded approach because it's the only option left. I tried multiple other routes to funding. I did get some bites but these people want everything and I'm not going to lie to them and tell them they can have what they want. I'm not building a company to give it away to investors either!
I'm sure your both talking out your - Because I doubt either of you has raised any funds for a company of your own. If so tell me how much you have raised? I have raised quite a bit of funds over the three years. Just not enough to get the job done, so I have raised some funding. You know that TeraMrs. I'd say for one man looking I've done pretty good. I just cant keep up that pace forever.
The amount of money and dedication I need is not that high in other words I can do it myself if I apply myself hard enough. I've hired another fella to work for me while I work and I have one other investor besides you and now I can MAKE it happen.
I couldn't get $2000 a month out of the people I have interested even when I had 30 people on the team! So now I'm down to 4 with one guy working full time (an aerospace engineer) and two guy's putting in all our cash to the project. I am switching to part-time machinist for the project and full time funding it myself. The 4th I'm not sure what he's going to do it's up to him.
I sacrificed three years and everything I had or could put into the project and I'm going to push it threw one way or another. Talk is cheap dedication takes work as well as time and sacrifice if your not in all the way how can you expect it to succeed?
We will prevail in spite of the words written on walls like these. This is the USA not Romania. Here everybody get's to dance if they have what it takes. Me, Stewart and Tim are all the way in (all In) it's time to call and see what the cards say.

Monroe

It's so easy to say you need to do this and that it's another thing to do it. The guy's I've got are dead serious about doing the deal and it's what we do every day all day. Tim and I work and feed the monster and Stew is getting set up to do the deal. This next week will show a change in Team Prometheus.
We are going to space.

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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:08 pm
The excuse for not being able to raise funds is becoming tired and worn. I'm not directing this at any particular team, since most of them have used this excuse. Raising funds is part of the challenge, and may actually be the most important part. You're not going to get much done without having proper funding. If you don't grasp this concept you're not going to be successful.

The key to getting investors is to have a good business plan that is backed by team members with proven expertise. The business plan must show that investors will get a good return on their investment, otherwise nobody will invest in your venture. Investors will expect to own some portion of the venture.

I think the biggest problem with most teams is that they don't have proven rocket experience, and their approach is no different than what has been done in the past. Some teams plan on using a rockoon, which may work OK for the N-Prize, but it doesn't scale up very well for larger satellites, such as CubeSats. On the other hand, the ground-launch approach works best for large payloads, but doesn't scale down very well for the N-Prize.

The sweet-spot for CubeSat payloads and below may be to use a carrier aircraft as the first stage. Some of the N-Prize teams have mentioned this as a possible way to go, but none of them seem to have much experience in this area. It would be hard for them to get funding for this approach without having the expertise to back it up.

So my suggestions for the N-Prize teams is to come up with an innovative idea, self-fund the project to develop this idea to prove out the technology, and then go out for external funding to achieve the goal.


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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:15 pm
I've raised around $1.25M for commercial space companies. It's not a lot, but it kept the doors open. In the end I'm a hardware guy, not a business guy.


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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:41 pm
That's not the same as raising it for your own company.

Dave, I don't care if you get tired of it that's the way it is. The squeaky wheel get's the grease. Besides that I never wanted investors I wanted people that wanted to DO it. To invest in the project and themselves.

With me footing most of the bill not all of it! But I will do it one way or the other.

Monroe

I don't suppose you had any help raising that 1.25 Mil ither.
I've raised all the funds so far myself anything I did with others involved created no funds Like the Heinlien Prize or Kickstarter for example. I am no business plan writer. Or grant writer hell, I cant really write well! No body else on the team would do it either. So those are no longer options anyway. We are now self funding and I'm working and Tim is working.

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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:40 am
Ben wrote:
I'm not going to reply to Monroe's bit, as that's obviously futile. This, though:

JamesHughes wrote:
That's the point/definition of sponsorship - you get something in return. What people really need is donations. Musk donated money to SpaceX, Carmack donated money to Armadillo, Bezos to Blue Origin, Allen to Scaled.


While there have been projects funded by donations, none of the ones you list are that. In SpaceX, Blue, and Armadillo, the founders each acted as would an angel investor, and got equity in exchange for early round funding. In other words, while they did put in money with no expectation of immediate returns, each person then owns most or all of their company and is free to sell it later.

Paul Allen got IP rights which were then sold to Virgin Galactic; he got out more than he put in. That may or may not have been in the form of part ownership of The Spaceship Company; I don't recall the specifics of the deal.



Sorry, I was being gratuitous with the donation word. Fully aware they went in to this in the *hope* of getting money out - the point was that they needed a lot of money they could afford to lose - in the worst case (it all goes pear shaped) this ends up, to all intents and purposes, a donation.


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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:41 pm
Yes, I am trying to start an aerospace company. Way farther down the scale than Armadillo Aerospace. Same concept however just way less money than Carmack or the others.
The only way to do that is with success where others have failed. Reaching space getting real data things like that WILL do that. Yes, It makes me look like an ass sometimes and yeah I've played the goofy card as well. But that's just what it takes to do the job.
I'm just a regular guy, it may not look pretty all the time and our stuff may be old. I am not a stupid fella though by a long shot. I know what I'm doing. If we get a foothold I'll show you what I'm talking about rather than tell you.

Monroe

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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:14 pm
Monroe,

This is what I have gleaned from your last three posts.

- "Yes, I am trying to start an aerospace company."
- "I'm not building a company to give it away to investors either!"
- "I've hired another fella to work for me while I work and I have one other investor besides you..."
- "So now I'm down to 4 with one guy working full time (an aerospace engineer) and two guy's putting in all our cash to the project."
- "Besides that I never wanted investors I wanted people that wanted to DO it. To invest in the project and themselves."
- "I am no business plan writer."
- "The only way to do that is with success where others have failed. Reaching space getting real data..."

So it seems that you want to start an aerospace company, but you don't want to give any ownership to investors. I can understand why you can't raise money with that approach. You say the group is down to 4 people, where two of them are investors and one is an aerospace engineer working full time. You have mentioned yourself, Tim, Stew and TerraMrs, so I assume this is your team.

You may not be a business plan writer, but at the very least you should write a "business plan" for yourself. This way you'll have your goals clearly stated on paper, and a rough plan on how you will accomplish it. Otherwise, you will jump from one "plan" to another without ever accomplishing your goal.

It seems like your main approach is to have "success where others have failed". But what failures are you talking about? There are many goals that haven't been achieved by amateurs, but most of these goals have been achieved by private startup companies. Since you want to be an "aerospace company" you need to determine what it is that other aerospace companies have not already achieved, and maybe there is a niche for a new startup to fill.

Dave


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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:40 pm
I've got better things to do-

Your just wrong

Monroe

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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:05 pm
Monroe wrote:
Your just wrong

The items that I quoted were cut and pasted from your previous three posts, so that can't be wrong. Any venture needs a sound plan to succeed, so that can't be wrong. Successful companies started with an innovative idea, and needed some form of investment to grow. That's business 101.

So what did I say that was wrong?


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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:38 am
Had the plan, never tell all of your plan. Nope TeraMrs is not really involved on that level. 4 not counting me. I can go on but I'm not.

Monroe

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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:29 pm
Monroe, I guess I was completely wrong. lol :lol:

I'm looking forward to seeing your press releases after BALLS, NSE-6, etc. I can't wait to see your space shot in March 2012.


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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:43 am
Dave
I am a polimathic I don't think in the event oriented way most people do. I expect you wont understand about as much as I understand event oriented thinking.
When this process began I developed a plan of action and I knew it would take a long time to achieve the goal. The goal seems to be the event called the N-Prize yes that's a good start. But the goal is the process that allows our team to create a process that will allow many such attempts.
That's why when I suggested we work on the quadcopter everybody freaked out. I knew we needed the quadcopter's systems as part of the process. It did not matter if we used it for a launch platform or anything else related to the N-Prize. I knew it was to be part of the process one way or another.
I envisioned the entire process from the beginning to the end. I knew that we where going to need a lot of attempts to actually get a small satellite into orbit.
I also know people want the event to happen people are event oriented. To get people to work on the project requires a certain amount of excitement about the event to keep things going. Nobody wants to look at the reality of achieving the event.
Most people want to think they are smart and can overcome the obsticals in the way ignoring the process until it becomes an event.
The infrastructure required to accomplish the N-Prize in reality is massive. I am very good at seeing the process and I knew from the beginning that people would take one look at the process and just give up if they realized the amount of work required to get the job done.
Nobody would have been interested in doing the N-Prize or be on Team Prometheus if they knew the amount of work they would have to do to actually do the N-Prize.
So while I let people think in there event oriented way I continue to work on the process.
What I am doing is building a machine that pumps out rockets of whatever design you guy's come up with as fast as possible. With as much comfort as is usually required by the people we need to get work done.
I can live with discomfort and I can deal with a lot of chaos at the same time. I do that and protect my people from it.
Many, many people don't appreciate my way of thinking or understand the process I'm talking about and it would take day's to tell the whole story and on top of that the likelihood of an event oriented thinker understanding the whole process is unlikely in the first place.
There are good reasons I bought the property on Matagorda. There are good reasons to rebuild the boats and the vehicles and even to build a small aircraft if I have too. There are good reasons for the quadcopter and the work we did on the propeller.
I'm not going into it much farther but I will say. I needed to go to California. Not necessarily to win the Heinlein Contest (Another Event) But I needed to go there to meet Jerry Irvin a lot more to learn about how to mass produce propellant.
Sure it would have been great to have another 5 grand but it was more important to learn how to buy 20tons of AP.
Nobody cares about the magazines that exist on Matagorda or the size of the port there or the runway or the location. Nobody seems to think about that part of the process!
None of the Teams competing in the N-Prize have the infrastructure to complete the task! So do me a favor and shut up about the rocket launches I'm busy trying to complete the process that will allow it to happen. Sure we will do some launches. Sure we will make a space shot and do NSE-6 right now the burn bans have stopped that part of the process.
Which doesn't really matter as much as you think because the rest of the process has plenty of work we can do right now.
I am very pleased with the team's progress we have a great deal more of the process completed than I could have hoped for in three years. When we do our space shot in March if all goes well we will be set up much better to proceed with the process. Once we get our ball rolling Team Prometheus will be able to do much more than achieve one goal in aerospace and I expect we will have no trouble finding help after that.
When our mission control takes over and we recover our craft because we have the infrastructure to do that. There will be no end to what we can do. God willing. And we will help others reach their dreams too and that's why it will work.

Monroe

Why do you think I collected those antennas and the dish and the trailer's for Matagorda and the boats and the trucks? Why do think we don't need an aircraft? Things like that? Who else in the N-Prize is doing all that? Who else intends to keep doing it? How many attempts do you think we will need to complete an orbit 1 - 5? I'm not that arrogant I know it may take many more than that.
I think I've done rather well getting ready to do the deal and keep doing it. I think process not event. I like the events they draw more people but it's the process that will get the big jobs done. I'm 49 I think there may be time god willing to see the process complete.
And I'm just an average guy I just think a little different and I know nothing can stop the will of a good man other than death and even that wont stop a really good thing.
Once the ball is rolling and we open er up to the people that want to go there I believe great things will happen.
This is why I don't enplane things and no business is written because it's just fine in my head I see the big picture and it looks fine to me. I don't care if you can see it or not. I don't want big investors to come and steal my dreams and change the plan. I want guy's that see the plan and like it money or not and believe we can do it. That's all I need a few good men with gut's that can see the reality of the process not the event. We can create or own events at that point.
This just scratches the surface of the why and why not's and that's why I don't go into it I cant it's a flow you gotta go with. I'm comfortable with the teams progress. I don't like the burn bans and the slow funding but it's part of the flow I'm just going with it, there's always plenty to do in the process. There's really nothing to it I just get up every day and do something that make's progress. I don't worry to much about deadlines I'm committed to the process. Looking back we've done a hell of a lot in three years the next three should be kick butt! :)
Does it bother me people don't take me seriously? Sometimes but not really I have faith in the process it's more important. Do I make mistakes sure! But that's part of the process as well. I've made a lot fewer than I expected to this far and that feels pretty good. It doesn't bother me that people are event oriented I've learned to live with it and work with it. I'm lucky lot's of guy's like me go nuts trying to live like most folks do. I just know it's got it's good things and it's bad things and I understand the bad things well enough to get by. It's all good you'll see.

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Post Re: Will the prize be won?   Posted on: Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:24 am
By the way BALLS is scrubbed the rocket shredded at LDRS. Flimsy rockets are out. I'm pulling out the "Q" motor and dusting it off. Cant do another static test until the burn bans are over. (but I am making the grain) The LDRS launch was a possible short cut (we didn't build the rocket) and like most shortcuts it didn't work out.
Back to plan "A" Q to N two stage. At least I know the Q will flat spin and it's big enough to track on radar. Yes I said radar that's another part of the process. We need radar tracking to do this right. That's another antenna :)

Monroe

We may do a NSE mission with the rockoon without a motor and test only the ignition, tracking and recovery if the burn bans don't lift soon. We could do that any day.

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