NASA Awards CAFE Green Flight Challenge Prizes

, leader Jack W. Langelaan (right, in suit) celebrates with his team after winning the $1.35 million CAFE Green Flight Challenge. received a check for $1.35 million this afternoon for winning the CAFE Green Flight Challenge, a NASA Centennial Challenge prize funded by Google for the demonstration of fuel-efficient aircraft.

eGenius, of Ramona, Calif., was awarded a second-place prize of $120,000. The team also won a $10,000 prize for the quietest aircraft in the competition.  Erik Lindbergh, the grandson of Charles Lindbergh, presented the smaller prize, which was funded by Jean Schulz, the widow of Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. The competition was held at the Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif.


NASA and the Cleantech Open Partner in Night Rover Robotics Challenge

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA has selected The Cleantech Open of Redwood, Calif., to manage the agency’s Night Rover Challenge that will culminate in a competition in fall 2012. The event is a new Centennial Challenges prize competition seeking revolutionary energy storage technologies for future space robotic rover missions. NASA is offering a prize purse of $1.5 million to challenge winners.

The Night Rover Challenge is to demonstrate solar energy collection and storage systems suitable for rovers to operate through several cycles of daylight and darkness. During daylight, systems can collect photons or thermal energy from the sun. During darkness, the stored energy would be used to move the rover toward a destination and to continue its exploration work.


Registration Opens for NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass., are seeking teams to compete in a robot technology demonstration competition with a potential $1.5 million prize.

During the Sample Return Robot Challenge, teams will compete to demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologic samples from a wide and varied terrain without human control. The objective of the competition is to encourage innovations in automatic navigation and robotic manipulator technologies. Innovations stemming from this challenge may improve NASA’s capability to explore a variety of destinations in space, as well as enhance the nation’s robotic technology for use in industries and applications on Earth.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute to Manage NASA’s Sample Return Robot Challenge


NASA has signed an agreement with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) of Worcester, Mass., to manage the Sample Return Robot Challenge, one of the agency’s new Centennial Challenges prize competitions.

The challenge will demonstrate how a robot can locate and retrieve geologic samples from varied terrain without human control. This challenge has a prize purse of $1.5 million. The objective of the competition is to encourage innovations in automatic navigation and robotic manipulator technologies.


U.S. Government Crowd Sources Challenges With New Website

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

“Continuing our pioneering leadership in prize competitions, NASA recently inaugurated an employee challenge, NASA@Work, a collaborative problem-solving program that will connect the collective knowledge of experts from all areas of NASA using a private web-based platform for NASA ‘challenge owners’ to pose challenges to internal “solvers.’ The solvers who deliver the best innovative ideas will receive a NASA Innovation Award.

“Today, the administration has announced a new online platform that empowers the federal government to bring the best ideas and top talent to bear on our nation’s most pressing problems. On, entrepreneurs, leading innovators and citizen solvers can compete for prizes by providing novel solutions to tough problems and, at the same time, take pride in engaging with their government to advance national priorities.” (more…)

NASA on Prizes: We Like Them!


NASA’s pioneering use of prize competitions and innovation challenges is a dramatic departure from government’s traditional “business as usual.”

The agency’s innovation and technology challenges include prizes that encourage independent teams to race to achieve bold goals — without any upfront government funding. NASA benefits from private sector investments many times greater than the cash value of prizes, and the agency only pays for results.


NASA Announces Centennial Challenges on Nano-Sats, Night Rovers and Sample Return


NASA announced three new Centennial Challenges Tuesday, with an overall prize purse of $5 million. NASA’s Centennial Challenges are prize competitions for technological achievements by independent teams who work without government funding.

“NASA sponsors prize competitions because the agency believes student teams, private companies of all sizes and citizen-inventors can provide creative solutions to problems of interest to NASA and the nation,” said Bobby Braun, the agency’s chief technologist. “Prize competitions are a proven way to foster technological competitiveness, new industries and innovation across America.”


NASA Seeks Sponsors for Centennial Challenges


NASA is seeking private and corporate sponsors for the Centennial Challenges, a program of incentive prizes designed for the “citizen inventor” that generates creative solutions to problems of interest to NASA and the nation. NASA is looking for companies, organizations or individuals interested in sponsoring the non-profit allied organizations that manage the prize competitions.


NASA Wants to Fund Centennial Challenges at $10 Million Per Year

Continuing our look at NASA’s proposed 2011 budget, we see that the space agency is proposing to spent $10 million per year through 2015 on its Centennial Challenges program.

In selecting topics for prize competitions, NASA consults widely within and outside of the Federal Government. The $10 million per year FY 2011 request for Centennial Challenges will allow NASA to pursue new and more ambitious prize competitions. Topics for future challenges that are under consideration include revolutionary energy storage systems, solar and other renewable energy technologies, laser communications, demonstrating near-Earth object survey and deflection strategies, innovative approaches to improving the safety and efficiency of aviation systems including Next Generation Aeronautics efforts, closed-loop life support and other resource recycling techniques, and low-cost access to space. Annual funding for Centennial Challenges allows new prizes to be announced, addressing additional technology challenges that can benefit from the innovation of the Citizen inventor.


Two Winners in Astronaut Glove Challenge

It seems that we have two winners in NASA’s Astronaut Glove Challenge, one of the space agency’s Centennial Challenges:

RT Doug_Comstock: Peter Homer wins $250k 1st prize and Ted Southern wins $100k 2nd prize in Astro Glove Challenge. Congrats to both for a great competition!

More details later.

NASA Astronaut Glove Challenge Set for Next Week


The 2009 Astronaut Glove Challenge will be held on Nov. 19 at the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Titusville, Fla., near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The $400,000 prize challenge is a nationwide competition that focuses on developing improved pressure suit gloves for astronauts to use while working in the vacuum of space. The competition is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EST on Nov. 19 and conclude with an award ceremony at approximately 5 p.m.


Regolith Excavation Challenge Ends With $750,000 in Prizes Awarded



MOUNTAIN VIEW – Nineteen teams pushed their robotic competitors to the limit and three teams claimed a total of $750,000 in NASA prizes for their hard work and innovation at this year’s Regolith Excavation Challenge held at NASA’s Ames Research Center on Moffett Field.

After two days of intense competitive drama, organizers conferred Paul’s Robotics of Worcester, MA, with the first place title, second went to Terra Engineering of Gardena, CA, and Team Braundo of Rancho Palos Verde, CA, took home third.


Terra Engineering Vaults Into Second Place in Regolith Challenge

Terra Engineering’s rover dumps a load of regolith into the collection box.

Terra Engineering has lept into second place in the Lunar Excavation Challenge, guaranteeing that this year’s $750,000 prize purse will be full claimed.

The team’s rover collected an unofficial total 270.6 kilograms of simulated lunar soil. This lept the Gardena, California-based team ahead of Braundo Rancho, whose rover collected 263.75 kilograms earlier on Sunday. Paul’s Robotics of Worcester, Massachusetts continues to lead with 439 kilograms.

The first place finisher will claim $500,000 with the second and third place teams claiming $150,000 and $100,000, respectively. To qualify for prizes, teams had to excavate at least 150 kilograms of regolith.

One team – Moon Diggers B of San Francisco, California – remains to compete.