Saturday, March 24, 2007

Space Access ‘07 - Saturday late morning - Ken Davidian on space prizes

Ken Davidian is speaking again. He is reporting on thoughts about Orbital Prizes. The main points are: 1) A bigger purse is better. 2) Several awards would get more involvement. 3) Don’t specific reusability, specify a number of flights per year. Paul Breed’s had a Prize Matrix, Ken showed the chart.

Ken talked about how Bigelow was trying to work with NASA on offering a large prize, but the negotiations broke down over some medical requirements. A NASA medical officer wanted high stringent requirements. Others felt the rules would strangle private efforts. Bigelow went off and offered his own prize.

Ken talked about his process of building a set of rules for a prize. For example he wanted to have at least three people in a rocket ship, so the same rocket ship could handle space tourists. Don’t plan to require docking with the Space Station, a bit too complicated for a basic contest.

Ken had X Prize Foundation and Paragon Space Development Corp do research into who would it take for a prize. X Prize called a bunch of people. Paragon did some bottom up numbers. X Prize said it was important to have more than one prize, felt $100 million was the lower bound for the first prize. X Prize said great if prize could be tax free, Ken says would have to talk with the Treasury Department. Paragon said would cost a company about $200 million to compete. Ken made the point that the prize is not the full business case, then the contest is structured in such a way that the same rocket would have commercial applications. X Prize and Paragon were both in the same ballpark, a total of about $300 million.

Centennial Challenge - When Ken makes presentations to NASA he talked about how prizes benefit NASA. These include new sources of innovation, leveraging of tax payers’ dollars, publicity for NASA.

Ken tries to make sure that most of the money allocated for prizes gets into the purses. Last year they only spent about $250,000 for administration. NASA does not administer the compeditions, he lists the organizes which run the organizations. They do it for zero dollars.

Ken listed some upcoming challenges this year. There is the Astronaut Glove $25K contest is 2-3 May. The Regolith Evacuation $250K is 11-12 May. The Personal Air Vehicle (space car) $250K contest is in 4-12 August. The Beam Power $500K is in October. The Tether $500K contest is in October. The Lunar Lander $2 million is also in October. Ken showed how the money is allocated from 2006 to 2011. There is risk Congress will not allocate more money.

Rand’s report
Clark’s report

First: Introduction
Overview: the agenda
Previous: Teachers In Space, Sam Dinkin of SpaceShort and Jeff Greason of XCOR
Next: Dave Matsen of Matsen Space

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1 comment:

Carlos said...