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The next X-Prize, X Cup? A Superbowl of space exploration?

Posted by: siderwhite - Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:44 am
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The next X-Prize, X Cup? A Superbowl of space exploration? 
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Post The next X-Prize, X Cup? A Superbowl of space exploration?   Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 1:44 am
Should the X Prize/Cup now move on to the next challenge, orbital travel, and then on to the Moon and then ultimately Mars? Or do we let the other teams try to make it and play catch up with SpaceShipOne (at least several teams) and then move on to the next prize level and accomplishment? [/code]

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 3:01 am
Orbital travel is the next great milestone but there are still many sub-orbital achievements still to be done. That’s why the X-Prize Cup is offered, to foster the future.

"“Awarding the $10,000,000 ANSARI XPRIZE is not the end, but the beginning of an annual event called the X PRIZE CUP. Think of it as a cross between Champ Grand Prix racing, the America's Cup, and the Olympics!

An event where the average person can come and watch the next generations of space vehicles fly, where they can talk to the astronauts, see the vehicles up close, learn about the technology, and begin to dissolve the myth that they will never travel to space in their lifetime.”"

Bigelow aerospace is offering the $50 million for the America's Space Prize of which, half of it Bigelow putting up himself.

I don't know if the X-Prize will be hosting the America's Space Prize or the Centennial Challenges, that is a question for Peter H. Diamandis. But it would be nice since the community already exists. :)


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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 6:30 am
The race for the orbit is on already and Bigelow has set a prize - the XPRIZE Foundation shouldn't create a competition that itself competes to another already existing competition. It would be better to assist the existing competition.

Concerning the Mars there too already is a group that wants to prove that it could be reached privately - AMSAT. The group is designing an unmanned mission to the Mars that they want to launch on board of an Ariane V.

So it may be more interesting to look for the purposes the orbit - or parabolic and hyperbolic flights too - may be used for. As known from the ISS there are problems concerning working in space. What about a prize for tools specialised for use in space? They might be important at longer private spaceflights. What about that robotical crane of the ISS? It's too expensive for privates - can its services privately provided cheaper? May be worth a prize because there will be private space stations once Bigelow has successful established one in orbit and it can be reaches privately.

And all that would prepare for private settling on the moon and for Mars missions.

What about a prize for vehicles that don't require a spaceport but also can land in deserts or polar regions etc?

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 05, 2004 7:06 pm
I'm sure that the X Prize won't try to invade on the Bigelow Competition, that would be very unlike them... I do like the vehicle design competition that you mentioned though... Maybe something would be developed simliar to the Harrier wih vertical landing and takeoff capabilities via directional thrusters??? Hmmmm, sounds exciting, I love watching harriers, imagine a space version :D

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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:17 pm
To add a special detail - SpaceX's Falcon V can accelerate a payload of maximum 840 kg to esacpe velocity according to their website.

This capability opens interplanetary space to the private sector for unmanned missions.

May be that 840 kg are not enough to get a useful payload to Mars or to get there within a reasonable period of time but it might be possible in principle.

But it will be possible to send a useful payload to the moon by Falcon V.



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Post    Posted on: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:11 pm
it would be enough for somebody to send cultures of a bacyteria that might thrive and multiply on Mars, thus, when astronauts first get there, they will find life and it will be the biggest prank (and most expensive) in the history of mankind :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:14 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
To add a special detail - SpaceX's Falcon V can accelerate a payload of maximum 840 kg to esacpe velocity according to their website.

This capability opens interplanetary space to the private sector for unmanned missions.

May be that 840 kg are not enough to get a useful payload to Mars or to get there within a reasonable period of time but it might be possible in principle.


According to Clark Lindsey, current estimated payload for Falcon V to escape velocity is 1200kg.

Launch mass of Mars Express + Beagle 2 was 1120kg.

http://www.esa.int/export/SPECIALS/Mars ... 9ED_0.html


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Post    Posted on: Wed Oct 13, 2004 6:08 pm
Which however, is still far far to light for humans to be able to hitch a ride to the moon. Especially since getting back from the moon takes even more weight.

To be honest, for the first time in over 3 decades the Space Industry is on the move again, but this time it's going to go gradually. Basic space tourism, first suborbital, then later in low earth orbit. Going to the moon is as much of a step above LEO tourism as LEO is from suborbit (although for different reasons), and so personally I don't think we'll be seeing that any time soon.

I don't think SpaceX built the Falcon V with their mind on interplanetary missions. Most such missions consider reliability far above launch price, and it will be some time until SpaceX have the reputation to get a foot into that market.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:11 am
109Ace wrote:
it would be enough for somebody to send cultures of a bacyteria that might thrive and multiply on Mars, thus, when astronauts first get there, they will find life and it will be the biggest prank (and most expensive) in the history of mankind :lol:


quoted for truth! of course, if said bacteria displace already existing martian bacteria, that sucks for science, but otherwise it would be probably the funniest prank in human history :twisted: :lol:

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:32 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
(It) May be that 840 kg are not enough to get a useful payload to Mars or to get there within a reasonable period of time but it might be possible in principle.

But it will be possible to send a useful payload to the moon by Falcon V.


Not really. Ironically, it takes less energy to get to Mars than it takes to get to the Moon. You need to go about the same speed to reach either, just a hair less to get to the Moon, but can save loads of energy if you, say, want to enter orbit or land by going to Mars. After the initial boot out of Earth's gravity well, Mars' atmosphere can do the rest with aerobraking, but to go to the Moon the only option you have is to fire up the engines and spend tons of fuel to brake into orbit. It may be quicker to reach the Moon, but from a fuel standpoint it's much further away.

As for the bacteria, even better than crop circles! But think of the poor Martian microbes, forced to live with the obnoxious Terran ones fine-tuned after billions of years of evolution to pick on everyone else they see. Poor guys!

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Last edited by Senior Von Braun on Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 4:15 am
X-CUP sound like dead end game! What about space insurance?

I just save alot of money by switching to GEICO.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 5:51 am
Hello, Senior von Braun,

I only had in mind the time to reach the moon or the Mars - the reason was the lifetime of man and all the equipment men need to survive.

I had in mind too that from the 840 kg or 1200 kg has to be left a sufficient portion for propellant and I don't know how much would be left after the subtraction of the weight of men and theier equipment.

So the question was left to me wether Falcon V could carry sufficient propellant required for orbit insertion.

And I included unmanned missions - is landing possible directly and without preceding orbit insertion? May that reduce propellant requirements?



Hello, Sev,

I only wanted to look at the theoretical principially given capabilities of the Falcon V. In principle the group AMSAT who wants to prove that private unmanned Mars missions are possible could use Falcon V instead of Ariane V.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:27 am
109Ace wrote:
it would be enough for somebody to send cultures of a bacyteria that might thrive and multiply on Mars, thus, when astronauts first get there, they will find life and it will be the biggest prank (and most expensive) in the history of mankind :lol:


Is it possible that bacteria is already there, from contaminated landers (Spirit/Opportunity/Beagle II/etc)? If so, that could screw a whole load of tests up.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 10:48 am
Hello, dolby_uk,

not long ago NASA explicitly said that there are earthian bacteria or microbes at Mars already. They traveled there as blind passengers by either Pathfinder/Sojourner or the Vikings - I don't remember exactly.

NASA said "that we do know" (retranslated from a german article) and that these microbes are counting by around 300,000.

But they explained too that these microbes cannot make there way to the martian soil because the solar wind would kill them before they can pollute Mars. If they are still alive they are at or in the earthean robots and don't do any harm to Mars or martian life.



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Post    Posted on: Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:26 am
Earth bacteria on mars ... Ekkehard's right, there's very little chance of earth bacteria being able to successfully contaminate another planet, you might even say the odds are microscopic (or femto-scopic). A whole bunch of reasons for that. If you want to speculate about them maybe we should all go and get a coffee at the Space Cafe.

But to return to the original topic ... in answer to the original poster I would say the following ...

No. Which really means not yet.

I think the X-prize Cup setup is probably just fine to stick to its original premise and go for annual "competitions" for the foreseeable future. These don't even necessarily have to be competitions per se, they would be equally stimulating if they were merely "rocket shows" ... like the big annual car shows ...

You might even get a bunch of big companies putting in contributions (like ... hell I don't know ... concept rockets?) purely to reap the benefits of being involved in a public spectacle that would surely attract a sizeable media attention.

Even if Armadillo hadn't quite finished their elevator, they would certainly draw a crowd if they merely repeated their successful June 15th test in front of an audience ...

So if Diamandis can pull everyone together every year, say on the anniversary of SS1's capturing the Xprize, to at least show off what they've got (or what they haven't ... e.g. Wildfire shell design XXIX) ... then he would be on a winner with a real chance of eventually building on to bigger and more amazing things.

What say you?

DKH

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