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N-Prize ver 2.0

Posted by: SA_Rocket_Guy - Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:22 pm
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N-Prize ver 2.0 
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Post N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:22 pm
I've been thinking of the work that has been put in by the teams actually trying to win the prize. Think of the work WikiSAT has done in electronics. Also, Team Prometheus' rockoon work etc. Perhaps after the current prize expires in September, a new N-Prize could be put out there.

If a version 2.0 was to be announced, what would you remove/change from the current N-Prize rules to make it possible for a team to win the prize within a reasonable amount of time?

My suggestion, among others, would be that the budget restrictions should be optional.

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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:33 pm
Make the rules amateur only. Raise the prize money.

We aren't going to quit just because the prize ends. Team Prometheus!

Allow for collaboration! Make a website based on that.

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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:53 am
Remove only the deadline and keep everything else the same (except possibly adjusting for inflation). I want the N-Prize competitions to inspire the truly original innovations necessary to succeed under the current restrictions rather than just forcing miniaturization on what has already been done.

I keep up with the very hard and often thankless work the various serious contenders have been doing. No detail is too small. No preconceptions are sacred. The original restrictions are responsible for this highly focused effort. I would like to see more of the same.


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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:55 pm
Hi all,

(I'm going to post this on both the Space Fellowship and the N-Prize forum, and feel free to circulate and relay it.)

Well, first of all my apologies for a long absence - I can only say that life has been interesting of late!

I've been thinking a lot about what happens after this September, if nobody succeeds by then. So, on the minus side, I promised myself last time that this would be the final extension, and that repeated extensions would just be a disincentive to teams who had been working hard toward the existing deadlines.

But, on the other side of the scales... I really do want to hand out the fantastically small prize (or prizes - two categories!) one of these days. And, ultimately, it does no harm to leave the N-Prize open indefinitely, except possibly to my ego in having to admit that it's an even tougher challenge than I had believed. And my ego is the last thing that should influence my decision. People who told me it was impossible can say 'we told you so', but I can live with that and I'm confident that, someday soon, one of you will prove them wrong.

So, here's my decision, which I'll make official on the N-Prize website at some point between now and the expiry of the current deadline. The N-Prize is going to become "open", in the sense that there will be no deadline; and both prizes will remain open (that is, if someone wins in one category, the other category will remain up for grabs until someone wins it). I will also re-open the Prize to new entrants, again with no time limit.

Some people have suggested modifications to the rules, such as increasing (or removing) the budget or satellite-mass restrictions. However, I'm definitely not going to change those. First of all, that would be unfair to those teams who have been working under the existing rules. They've already stretched their ingenuity to meet the restrictions, and it would be plain wrong if a new team came in with a bigger budget and scooped them. Second, the aim of the prize was to stretch people's brains - we already know that it's possible to launch big, expensive satellites. Enough teams have gone far enough already to show that the N-Prize restrictions are not completely, absolutely impossible, even if they are extremely difficult to work within.

There have also been a few comments, here and there, suggesting that the restrictions were set precisely to ensure nobody could win. Well, I'm not a rich guy, but handing over two prizes to N-Prize entrants would be one of the greatest thrills I can imagine - certainly way ahead of anything else I could do with the money.

Other folks have commented on the microscopic size of the cash prizes, and suggested that they don't provide enough incentive. Well, they're right - the cash prizes offer no incentive when set against the amount of effort and development costs needed to win them. But that was always the case, right from the outset. Nobody is going to win the N-Prize for the money, and I cannot offer a large enough prize to make the money alone worth the effort.

The teams who are still working towards the N-Prize are excited for the same reason I am - because it would be a truly breathtaking achievement, and because a shoestring satellite launch would change the way people think about space. The cash prizes, such as they are, should be enough for the winners to throw a pretty impressive celebration party. If I tried to offer a prize that reflects my admiration for the winners-to-be, there would need to be another three zeroes.

There are lots of people out there who are smarter and richer than I am. They can, and have, offered worthwhile cash prizes for goals that are incremental and attainable. The only thing I can contribute is plenty of unrealistic optimism and the belief that, once in a while, people can reach seemingly unattainable goals when you set them apparently impossible challenges.

So, there you have it. If anyone has any comments or questions, feel free to email me (info@....). And, if anyone does make it by the current September deadline, I'll add a beer to the prize money.


Paul
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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:42 am
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Ego, shmego, Paul! You made the right call! This is everything I was hoping for the evolution of the N-Prize.


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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:06 am
Quote:
Re: Keep me posted!!!!
by rick m » Wed May 25, 2011 3:06 pm
Hi Paul,

I hope a team somewhere can pull this off before the September 19th deadline. As I've stated before, if it doesn't happen by the deadline, and because of our late decision to try, we are working to see this happen at some point in time and would welcome the expertise of other teams that have/had been involved to join together with us (as a united "Team N-Prize") to see your challenge eventually happen. Heck, we are now looking at the N-Plus Prize as well. I just hope you're announcement isn't a cancelation of the challenge and even if it is, we are committed to still do it.

Rick


Thanks for the unlimited extension Paul. So that another five years doesn't go by without the challenge being met, I would again like to invite people and teams to join talents to meet this goal. This would be an international effort much like the Sugar Shot to Space project, with everything open to all and published. Reaching space is no easy task and for small teams that don't have unlimited funds and resources this may be the way to see your ideas and expertise brought together for truely low cost access to space. I would like to submit a new entry, TEAM N-PRIZE to meet this challenge. I already have a few interested parties; you can do as much or as little as you would like to contribute to see this accomplished.

Rick


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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:28 am
A collaborative team sounds like a good plan. I know some of the existing teams may prefer to go it alone (which is fine - in something like this it's hard to know whether collaborative efforts or independents will prevail, and it's good to have both).

Registration will re-open either on or before the expiry of the current deadline, but for now you have my word that it will reopen, if anyone wants to start assembling new teams.

The other rules will remain unaltered. I guess the only complication comes in calculating budgets from multinational teams (different currencies, different exchange rates...), but that's not a new issue and it will be worked out fairly.

Again, I cannot tell you how proud I am to be associated with you all. Some of you are going to invent a whole new way to look at spaceflight.

Paul

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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:09 pm
Thanks Paul for your vison. We share this excitement of the N-Price challenge.

Let's keep working hard ;)
Best,
Joshua


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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:17 pm
No, Joshua, thanks to you, and to all the N-Prize teams!
Paul

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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Mon Aug 12, 2013 9:50 pm
Yay, it's being re-opened to new teams. Perhaps I'll be able to find people at university come september who want to join me...


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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:18 pm
Terraformer wrote:
Yay, it's being re-opened to new teams. Perhaps I'll be able to find people at university come september who want to join me...


The more the merrier. Which uni did you end up at i think Cambridge already have a team they have been a bit quite recently but did seem further ahead than most of us in the early days having built a machine that welded very thin plastic into balloons IIRC.

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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:22 pm
Yes, CUSF were early sign-ups, and they have done a number of high-altitude balloon lifts, but as far as I know they have dropped out of the N-Prize...

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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:13 am
Oh, I'm headed off to Exeter next month. I might try getting a team started, but I may well be too busy - the course is quite demanding (Natural Sciences), and I've got several internet business ideas I'd like to do, at least one before June (so I can say I started a business whilst a teenager, I'm 20 on the 28th of May). Fortunately, they're the type which can be self funded, funded with a small kickstarter, or bootstrapped with the others profits. I don't dare give anyone else control, except cofounders...

Speaking of which... there's no cap of R&D funds for the N-prize, is there? :p


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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Tue Aug 13, 2013 6:20 am
Exeter is brilliant, (I live there) my girlfriend just graduated with a 1st from there, very high level of education and a lot of funding.

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Post Re: N-Prize ver 2.0   Posted on: Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:04 am
Nope, no cap on R&D, nor indeed on ground equipment for the launch. And best of luck at Exeter!

Cheers,
Paul

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