The XPRIZE foundation extends an invitation to the public for a program being hosted at its headquarters next Friday evening April 30th. Reservations are required.

Invite from our friends at The XPRIZE Foundation

We are having a “Tweetup” event at the X PRIZE Foundation on
Friday, April 30. We will be opening the doors to the public to
check out the X PRIZE offices, meet some of the staff
(including XPF president, Bob Weiss), and meet space explorer
Anousheh Ansari. Details for the event are available here:
http://bit.ly/di40od, and the direct link to the registration
page is xpftweetup.eventbrite.com. Registration is free!

Would love to have any of the New Space crowd come join us —
please extend the invite if you think this is something that
this meetup group might be interested in!

Google Lunar X PRIZE

We’ve identified two very different businesses who are aligning themselves with private space enterprise. Let us know about any others we might have missed.

From Phillips & Company’s website

Phillips & Company works with aerospace leaders and emerging Space Economy companies on key strategies for revenue growth by:

  • Building defensible business models for commercial brand integrity and growth
  • Identifying revenue opportunities through existing contract vehicles and sole source opportunities
  • Coalition-building with space technology leaders in industry and government
  • Expanding visibility through analyst community, business and trade media
  • Educating the market on relevance and role within the Space Economy

Press release from Part-Time Scientists announcing Dropbox as a sponsor

Berlin, Germany, February 22, 2010 – Today, Google Lunar X PRIZE competitor, Part-Time-Scientists, announced Dropbox Inc. as an official sponsor of their team. The cloud based storage provider connects shared folders across platforms and continents. Available on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android and web Dropbox syncs files on all platforms. The cloud takes care of sharing, syncing and backups. Team Part-Time-Scientists, headquartered in Berlin, Germany with 38 team members is among 21 teams from 18 countries that are competing for their share of the $30 million prize purse.

“As a SAN (Storage Area Network) expert myself I am very excited that Dropbox decided to sponsor us. Collaboration on such a scale needs a reliable and easy way to let people work on files simultaneously. Our engineers are scattered across the hemispheres. When a U.S. member updates a file it is instantly available to every member in the world, while dozens of generations from that file are available for recovery in the background. I can’t think of a better way for collaborative work over the internet than Dropbox,” said Team Leader, Robert Boehme.

Dropbox Inc. joins the ever growing list of sponsors of the team Part-Time-Scientists. Among them is another semiconductor industry giant, Texas Instruments. For a complete list of the teams sponsors visit http://www.part-time-scientists.com/Partners_EN.

For more information about team Part-Time-Scientists, please visit www.part-time-scientists.com. High resolution photographs, video and other team materials are available upon request.

Dropbox was founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in 2007, and received seed funding from Y Combinator. Today, Dropbox is well-funded by Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Amidzad. Since launching publicly in September of 2008, Dropbox attracted over four million users and are growing rapidly. It has been featured in the New York Times and on TechCrunch, and won awards from places like PC Magazine and CNET. Their passion is making a product that rocks and putting it in millions of people’s hands. http://www.getdropbox.com

The $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE is an unprecedented international competition that challenges and inspires engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The $30 million prize purse is segmented into a $20 million Grand Prize, a $5 million Second Prize and $5 million in bonus prizes. To win the Grand Prize, a team must successfully soft land a privately funded spacecraft on the Moon, rove on the lunar surface for a minimum of 500 meters, and transmit a specific set of video, images and data back to the Earth. The Grand Prize is $20 million until December 31st 2012; thereafter it will drop to $15 million until December 31st 2014 at which point the competition will be terminated unless extended by Google and the X PRIZE Foundation. For more information about the Google Lunar X PRIZE, please visit www.googlelunarxprize.org.

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured the world’s attention when the Burt Rutan-led team, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private spaceship to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for suborbital spaceflight.  The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation, with the support of its partner, BT Global Services, is creating prizes in Space and Ocean Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy and Environment, Education and Global Development.  The Foundation is widely recognized as a leader in fostering innovation through competition.  For more information, please visit www.xprize.org.

USC is creating a semester long class to develop new prizes as a part of the XPRIZE foundation.

  • USC – Viterbi School of Engineering article.

Official Press Release


The leading prize organization partners with renowned educational institute
engaging students to develop new prize ideas

PLAYA VISTA, CA (February 10, 2010) – The X PRIZE Foundation, an educational non-profit that designs and administers competitions with prizes of $10 million or more, has announced a partnership with the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering to launch the X PRIZE Lab@USC, an educational initiative designed to engage leading students to help recognize areas that are ripe for breakthrough innovation. The collaboration is the third installment of the X PRIZE Lab, with the flagship program housed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the second lab at the Evans School of Public Affairs University of Washington.

Launched in January 2010, the semester-long course will consist of undergraduate students from the Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Marshall School of Business. Students will research the X PRIZE innovation and philanthropy model and produce ideas and criteria for new X PRIZES.

For the inaugural course, students will focus on solar energy, using the prize model to solve one of the 14 Grand Challenges outlined by the National Academy of Engineering. Viterbi School Senior Associate Dean Raghu Raghavendra will manage the X Prize Lab@USC; Professors Gene Miller (Marshall) and Jon Lasch (Viterbi) will teach the courses.

“We had to look no further than our own back yard,” said Eileen Bartholomew, Senior Director of Prize Development at the X PRIZE Foundation. “The University of Southern California is an esteemed institution with respected faculty, students and alumni. We are honored to partner with them for the next branch of the X PRIZE labs.”

Since its inception in 2007, the X PRIZE Laboratory program has been successful in creating viable prizes that address current grand challenges.  The X PRIZE Lab@MIT, has produced groundbreaking work in the areas of global health and bionics. In spring 2008, students focused on developing prizes related to Global Health for the Developing World. One of the teams designed an X PRIZE concept for Rapid Tuberculosis Detection. This work was put into full development by the X PRIZE Foundation with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  With additional funding, the X PRIZE Foundation aims to launch this prize later this year.

The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. In 2004, the Foundation captured world headlines when Burt Rutan, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, built and flew the world’s first private vehicle to space to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. The Foundation has since launched the $10 million Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. The Foundation is creating and conducting competitions in four prize groups: Exploration (Space and Oceans), Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, and Education & Global Development. The Foundation is widely recognized as the leader in fostering innovation through competition. For more information, please visit www.xprize.org.

Located in Los Angeles, a global center for arts, technology and international trade, the University of Southern California is one of the world’s leading private research universities. Established in 1880, USC has risen to the top 1 percent of all colleges and universities in terms of selectivity and established itself as a world leader in the fields of communication, multimedia technologies and the life sciences as well as in cross-disciplinary teaching and research. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal and professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge.

Cash can be a motivator and there are a number of competitions which are now using cash to spur technological breakthroughs. For example, the  XPRIZE Foundation lives by the tag line’ Innovation Through Competition.’

“The first X Prize was modeled after many prizes from the early 20th century that helped prod the development of air flight, including most notably the $25,000 Orteig Prize that spurred Charles Lindbergh to make his solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean” (Wikiepdia). The Ansari XPRIZE was the first space focused competition which ultimately led to  26 teams competing for $10 Million. From that effort, several other prizes have been developed in and outspace. They range from a high performance lighting prize to one for a more fuel efficient car.

There’s also blog that’s covering some of these prizes called Space Prizes.

Is money the primary motivator for innovation ?

Passion might be what  drives our dreams but money, aka currency, is the energy that we sometimes need to actualize those  dreams. Cash ought not to be seen as the only motivator though. The development of new technology many times draws individuals who simply seek to solve a challenge whether it’s for intellectual curiosity or some other more practical issue.

Other competitions & Groups – Some of these groups are not yet funded. If you are an individual or organization with the means consider the opportunity to underwrite one of the prizes.

Source: New Scientist

Published in New Scientist on 11/4/09 (Author, Ivan Semeniuk)

Peter Diamandis, CEO of the X Prize Foundation, wants to use our competitive instincts to make the world a better place. After handing out $10 million to the first private team to achieve suborbital space flight, he’s extended his X-prize concept into earthly realms such as automotive engineering, genomics and health care. And while he still sends billionaires to the International Space Station as managing director of the firm Space Adventures, he’s lately teamed up with futurist Ray Kurzweil to create the Singularity University, where young entrepreneurs are trained to think about global issues. Ivan Semeniuk spoke with Diamandis about his ongoing ventures on and above the planet.

Why do you think prizes work?

First, as humans, we’re genetically predisposed to compete; we do it in sports and in business. That’s what encourages us to take risks, which drives breakthroughs. Secondly, if you’re going to try to do something on your own that’s considered audacious or outlandish and you fail, people say, “Look at that stupid idiot who tried that crazy thing.” However, if a third party puts up, as an objective, a very difficult goal, which you attempt but fail to achieve, then it’s, “Good try old chap, too bad you didn’t make it.” The psychology of the prize changes the way society views you as a risk taker.

How do you scale up a prize into something that’s useful to society?

When we design a prize, it’s really important that the prize deliver a team and technology to a point where a business can then take off. It’s of zero interest to me to have a competition where the result ends up in a record book or on a museum shelf. For us, success means there’s an industry launched on the heels of a very visible achievement.

Cick here for full story.

Source: SpaceToday.net

Armadillo Aerospace Qualifies for Lunar Lander Prize with Texas Flights
Armadillo Aerospace successfully flew a Level 2 flight profile for the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. Armadillo flew its “Super Mod” vehicle, named Scorpius, on two three-minute flights between pads 60 meters apart, one of which made into a mock lunar landscape of rocks and craters. Armadillo will have to wait until the end of the competition season at the end of next month to know if they won the prize; they will win the $1 million if no other team makes a Level 2 flight, or if Armadillo’s landing accuracy is better than another team that does. Two other teams, Masten Space Systems and Unreasonable Rocket, have announced plans to make Level 1 and Level 2 flights this year. The competition is run by the X PRIZE Foundation with prize money provided by NASA’s Centennial Challenges program.

Another  recent Popular Mechanics article on New Space.

Excerpt from August 2009 Popular Mechanics article by Michael Belifore.

The cost of the cheapest ever satellite launch stands at more than $200,000. So is it possible to send an object into orbit for the cost of a new laptop? That’s the goal behind the N-Prize, a contest organized by U.K. molecular biologist Paul Dear. The winner will have to launch an object weighing about 0.35 to 0.7 ounces into space for less than $1500. The satellite will then have to stay up for at least nine orbits to win the $15,000 prize.

As originally published in MIT’s Technology Review January/February 2009

“Technology Review has set out to compile the first oral history of space tourism. We asked each of the five travelers who came after Tito to describe the trip. They gave hours of their time, sitting separately for multiple interviews over a six-month period. Most have never met, but they all told essentially the same story of blastoff, weightlessness, reëntry, and revelation. We’ve distilled, edited, and organized their words to create a composite story of what a space vacation is really like.”

Click here for the full  and compelling story in text and in the sounds of the participants’ own voices.

Part II of the Interview with John Lineham, author of “SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History”.

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