Weekend Roundup, August 1 - 3, 2008

(The latest installment in an on-going series, this post will recount relevant space news that you may have missed while out enjoying your weekend. It's not an exhaustive list--to get that, I recommend clicking through to the blogs in our blogroll--but it should contain the highlights, as least as I see them.)

Last week was certainly a big one for the NewSpace industry, and the action didn't slow down over the weekend. Building on the excitement of a week that started with the roll out of WhiteKnightTwo and ended with a flurry of rumors and stories about major discoveries on Mars, the events, firsts, triumphs, and tragedies just kept on coming.

I spent the weekend at EAA AirVenture, also known simply as "Oshkosh," with fellow X PRIZErs Peter Diamandis and Nicky Jordan; and my lovely fiancee, Diana; and about 700,000 other attendees. I took plent of photos and videos--scroll down to see them! The highlights of the show for me were a series of Google Lunar X PRIZE panels (stay tuned for video of those) and several flights of the XCOR-built Rocket Racer. The vehicle wowed then crowd with aerobatic flights on Friday and on Saturday, showing off the vehicle's capabilities. It made for quite a good show.

Saturday night ended on a bit of a down note, though, as SpaceX's third attempt to reach orbit with a Falcon 1 ended unsuccessfully. We here at X PRIZE echo Elon's thoughts, and wish the SpaceX team the best of luck as they move forward. You can also read some reaction from some of our teams here and here.

The weekend wasn't just about new rockets, though. It was also full of regolith-related news--and how often does one get to say that?

The Regolith Excavation Challenge, a NASA Centennial Challenges prize purse, went unclaimed again this year. However, there were some cool demonstrations put on by the teams, raising everyone's hopes for next year. Kudos to the teams, to NASA's Centennial Challenges, and to Matt Everingham and the rest of the team at the California Space Education and Workforce Institute, who manage the copmetition.

On the other side of the country, Google Lunar X PRIZE team Astrobotic announced that they won a contract to study methods for moving regolith on the Lunar surface. Perhaps this will pave the way for an excellent partnership between a Regolith Challenge team and a Google Lunar X PRIZE team?

And now, without further ado, a video playlist and a photo slideshow from Oshkosh:

blog comments powered by Disqus