Prize Roundup: MoonBots Discussions, SmallSat Conference, Orbital Depots, Tether/Elevator Book, Underwater Vehicle Winners

While we wait for what's in store for Friday FUNDAY, here's the lastest "Prize Roundup" compilation which I just posted on the Space Prize blog:

Check out (and join!) the following discussion in the Google Lunar X PRIZE Community Forums: MoonBots: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO MINDSTORMS Challenge

MoonBots Robotics Competition Announced - Design News

This reminds me of a fun discussion from a while back on what it would take for a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robot to win the original Google Lunar X PRIZE: NXT and Lunar X PRIZE - The NXT STEP Blog

LEGO Picorover Mockup - Team FREDNET at the Google Lunar X PRIZE Teams page

The SmallSat Conference in Logan, Utah is scheduled for this August 10-13. On Wednesday, Google Lunar X PRIZE preferred partner Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will present "Falcon 1 Flight Results and Multiple Payload Integration". In addition, Wednesday also includes the Frank J. Redd Student Scholarship Competition.

A Summer CubeSat Developers' Workshop will also be held there August 8-9. Here's the schedule (PDF). Google Lunar X PRIZE preferred partner Analytical Graphics, Inc. has a talk on Saturday titled "STK and CubeSat's". In addition, Randa Milliron of Interorbital Systems, a part of the SYNERGY MOON Google Lunar X PRIZE team, has a talk on Sunday on "TubeSat".

These are just samples of the diverse presentations in this dynamic and important field.

A team including Jon Goff of Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenger Masten Space Systems recently submitted a white paper on Depot-Centric Human Spaceflight to the "Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee". From the Executive Summary of the paper:

On-orbit storage and transfer of propellants are key capabilities that enable innovative transportation methods for multiple destinations beyond earth orbit, stimulate the commercial spaceflight industry, and allow for sustainable and affordable manned exploration beyond LEO using existing commercial launch vehicles. We find reason to believe that a depot-centric transportation approach will allow NASA’s manned space program to operate in a manner that is exceptionally responsive to the objectives given the Augustine Committee.

Prizes are briefly mentioned in the paper:

A depot-centric transportation network enables and encourages the development of an open architecture—one that multiple commercial and international entities can easily interact with and that is not tied to any one specific destination. ... We can further multiply this effect through the use of prizes and COTS-like programs, as well as more traditional SBIR and Broad Area Announcement solicitations.

At one point, NASA Centennial Challenges was considering a Fuel Depot Demonstration Challenge (PDF) - see slide page 18.

The Space Elevator Games are briefly mentioned in this article: Seeking 'Discouraged' Energy Questers - Dot Earth (The New York Times)

Space Tethers and Space Elevators - The Space Elevator Blog
Review: Space Tethers and Space Elevators - The Space Review - These discuss a new book by Michel Van Pelt on subjects relevant to the Space Elevator Games.

@ - Breakfast with TedPrize Winner Jill Tarter b4 her #ISU talk. Would love to see her Wish come true

Here's some information about the recent Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition - which means "no remote controls". The competition was held in San Diego a few days ago.

12th Annual International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition - Go

CUAUV - Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle blog - the 2009 winners

Cornell Wins the 12th Annual Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition - Go

UCF/IST Submersible Team Gets 4th Place - UCF Today (University of Central Florida)

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