ISDC 2010: Peter Diamandis

Peter Diamandis gave a talk at the 2010 International Space Development Conference (ISDC) as the winner of the National Space Society's Heinlein Award. This is not to be confused with the Heinlein Prize, which he also won, or the literary Heinlein Award. The NSS Heinlein Award

honors those individuals who have made significant, lifetime contributions to the creation of a free spacefaring civilization.

I didn't take thorough notes at this talk or any of the others at this ISDC. I only took a few brief notes on items that stood out the most to me.

Peter noted that he has purchased his Armadillo Aerospace suborbital flight ticket. He hopes to be one of the first passengers.

He described a number of space prizes that the X PRIZE Foundation is considering. Some of these are the larger X PRIZEs; others are X CHALLENGEs. These aren't fully funded or fully developed prizes, so we will have to wait to see if some of these prizes make it through the difficult prize creation process. I should note that I'm a guest blogger here at The Launch Pad, so I don't have any special information beyond the ISDC talk on how prize development is going for these various ideas.

Beamed Power Launch

There are 2 levels for this one - an X CHALLENGE and and X PRIZE. The more difficult X PRIZE objective is to launch 10 kg over 30 km. The prize would be $10M for first place, and $2M for second place. All of the power for the launch would be from beamed energy. The vehicle would need to fly a second time within 24 hours. Only 10% of the dry mass of the vehicle can be replaced between flights.

The corresponding X CHALLENGE is to transmit a large amount of power from a remote source. The teams would provide the microwave or laser power source. I wrote something about 10 kg for this prize, but I'm not sure if this one involves an actual flight. The winner would get $1M, and second place would be $250K.

Asteroid Deflection Prize

The goal of this $20M prize is to pick a 50 meter or larger asteroid whose orbit doesn't come close to Earth's orbit and to deflect it. We don't want to have a chance to bump an asteroid so it will hit the Earth. The asteroid's orbit should be predicted precisely. Then the asteroid should be moved 1 Earth diameter from the prediction over the course of a year. The method must be scalable for asteroids greater than 1 km or larger.

Orbital Debris Removal

The winner of this $20M X PRIZE would remove 5 objects.

Lunar Lander Challenge level 3

This $1M X CHALLENGE would be like the familiar Level 2 prize, but no refueling would be allowed. Staging would be allowed. Like the original prize, it would be for vertical takeoff/vertical landing flights. The total flight time would be 6 minutes.

Suborbital Science X CHALLENGE

This $1M prize would be for a suborbital reusable launch vehicle that goes over 200,000 feet 3 times in 3 days.

Martian Life X CHALLENGE

This X CHALLENGE is also for $1M. It is for development of life that can grow under Mars conditions, including radiation, pressure, and atmosphere. Growth levels of four doublings in 30 days would be required.

Electric Aircraft X CHALLENGE

This would be an annual $1M prize. It would be for the winner of a race from Washington DC to Oshkosh. In addition to winning the year in question, the winner would have to beat previous years' times by at least 15 minutes.

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