James Cameron to Fly on Zero-G Plane in X PRIZE Benefit

X PRIZE FOUNDATION

Helping to raise funds for the X PRIZE Foundation (www.xprize.org), “Avatar” Producer/Director, James Cameron, will participate as the honored guest aboard an extraordinary ZERO-G Experience taking off from Van Nuys Airport (VNY) in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, October 9, 2010. Additional X PRIZE Board Members and special guests have purchased seats to participate in this special event. Three available seats for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure will be auctioned on eBay to the general public beginning Tuesday, August 31, 2010 and ending Friday, September 3, 2010. To find out more information about the auction and to bid on seats, visit http://eBay.com/cameron.

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Diamadis: X PRIZE Looking at Asteroid Deflection, Beamed Power and Martian Life

Asteroid Ida

Although I was not able to attend this year’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Chicago, I have been able to follow it via Twitter.

X Prize Foundation Founder Peter Diamandis gave a presentation earlier today in which he outline the projects that his non-profit group wants to fund. Tweets from Robin Snelson and Donnie Lowther:

@DKLowther Diamandis: Beamed Power Launch X Prize; Asteroid Deflection X Prize–concept; Orbital Debris Removal X Prize concept.
@robinsnelson X Prize wants to award $20M Prizes for Asteroid Deflection & Orbital Debris Removal — thrifty!
@robinsnelson Peter Diamandis says X Prize looking at beamed power launch challenge $1M and Prize $10M
@DKLowther Diamandis: Martian Life X Challenge to develop life that can survive on Mars; believes it could done in a year if funded.
@DKLowther Diamandis: Putting the first civilian on the Moon is prime goal.
@DKLowther Peter Diamandis: nanotechnology is going to have a major impact on space technology.

Commercial Space Creating Jobs – For Lobbyists

Space start-ups see dollar signs in Obama’s NASA overhaul
The Hill

The X-Prize Foundation, a non-profit organization that awards prizes of at least $10 million to private teams that successfully complete space travel missions, has hired lobbying firm K&L Gates to gin up more congressional support for the competitions.

K&L Gates lobbyists Paul Stimers’s job is to help convince skeptical lawmakers that privatizing space travel will spur innovation and create jobs….

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X PRIZE Foundation: Obama Budget is “Visionary Step for NASA”

X PRIZE FOUNDATION PRESS RELEASE

While many are calling President Obama’s proposed grounding of NASA’s program to return to the Moon the ending of an era for space travel, the X PRIZE Foundation sees this new budget proposal as a visionary step for NASA and an opportunity to forge new ideas, develop much-needed technology, and channel the American Spirit spurring innovation and entrepreneurship.

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Diamandis: Prizes Change the Way Society Views Risk Takers

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NewScientist has a Q&A with X Prize Foundation CEO Peter Diamandis. An exceprt:

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.

Read the full interview.

Masten, Armadillo Awarded Prizes in DC Ceremony

L-R: George Nield, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, FAA; Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator; Doug Comstock, Director, Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA; David Masten, CEO, Masten Space Systems; Phil Eaton, VP, Operations, Armadillo Aerospace; Rep. Ralph Hall, Texas, Ranking Member, Science & Technology Committee; Peter Diamandis, Chairman & CEO, X PRIZE Foundation; Mitch Waldman, VP, Advanced Programs & Technology, Northrop Grumman
L-R: George Nield, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, FAA; Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator; Doug Comstock, Director, Innovative Partnerships Program, NASA; David Masten, CEO, Masten Space Systems; Phil Eaton, VP, Operations, Armadillo Aerospace; Rep. Ralph Hall, Texas, Ranking Member, Science & Technology Committee; Peter Diamandis, Chairman & CEO, X PRIZE Foundation; Mitch Waldman, VP, Advanced Programs & Technology, Northrop Grumman

X PRIZE PRESS RELEASE

Today, the X PRIZE Foundation along with NASA hosted an awards ceremony to culminate the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE Challenge (NGLLXPC). Masten Space Systems, led by David Masten, was awarded the top $1 million prize, while Armadillo Aerospace, led by id Software founder John Carmack took home the second place prize of $500,000.
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U.S. Government Increasingly Embracing Prizes to Spur Innovation

Want a solution? Try offering a prize
US government joins soaring use of contests to engage innovators
Boston Globe

In pursuit of a prestigious prize, people often push the boundaries of what is possible.

The $10 million Ansari X Prize proved that to be true five years ago, when its winners launched a private manned vehicle into space. The prize spawned a resurgence of high-profile competitions, with private foundations and companies putting up hundreds of millions of dollars to solve technological challenges as urgent as building more efficient cars, and as trivial as predicting what movies people would like.

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Unreasonable Rocket Ends Quest for Lunar Lander Prize

Reports out of Cantil indicate that Unreasonable Rocket has ended its quest to win the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. During a test flight using a crane and tether, Unreasonable’s Silver Ball lander oscillated, broke the tether, and fell back onto the launch pad on its side. A leg punctured the fuel tank, damaging the vehicle and preventing another flight attempt on the last day of the competition.

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First Unreasonable Rocket Flies Briefly, Tips Over on Side

Unreasonable Rocket’s first and second attempts to launch its Blue Ball lunar lander fizzled today. In both attempts, the vehicle rose briefly off the pad, hovered unevenly, settled back down to the surface, and tipped over on its side.

Company CEO Paul Breed and his son, Paul, have called it a day in order to make repairs to the lander. The company has additional launch windows on Saturday at its site in Cantil, Calif. The first window opens at 10 a.m. PDT.

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New Mexico Not Suffering From Lack of X Prize Cup

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Economy, rule change ground X Prize plans
Las Cruces Sun-News

The X Prize Cup, an event aimed at spurring innovation in space technology, won’t be held this year in southern New Mexico, as it has in recent years…

Plus, Landeene said, the state wasn’t able to sponsor the event financially this year because of the poor economy. He said early on, the state invested about $2 million in sponsorships for the event. Later, when it moved to Alamogordo, the level dropped to about $750,000. But even that isn’t possible this year, he said.The two-day spaceflight symposium took place this week in Las Cruces, but without the X Prize Cup.

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