GLXP Update: Parabolic Archers Called It!

Congratulations are in order for Parabolic Arc readers! Or at least the 59 percent of you who voted correctly in our latest poll.

That’s the percentage of voters who chose “None of the Above” on the question of  who would win the Google X Prize. And wouldn’t you know it, last week the X Prize announced that the prize was ending without any winner.

So, kudos to you guys. Each and everyone one of you are a regular Ed Glosser.

As for the rest of you losers….21 percent voted for Moon Express, 9 percent of Team Indus, and 3 percent for Synergy Moon.

I’ve put in a new poll up on what will happen to Jim Bridenstine’s nomination to lead NASA.

Remember: vote early. Vote often. Vote as if your life depended on it. Because it does.

Seriously. I’ll explain later.

Happy Tuesday, everybody!

X Prize Admits What Everyone Already Knew: Google Lunar Prize is Kaput

CULVER CITY, Calif. (X Prize PR) — “After close consultation with our five finalist Google Lunar XPRIZE teams over the past several months, we have concluded that no team will make a launch attempt to reach the Moon by the March 31st, 2018 deadline. This literal “moonshot” is hard, and while we did expect a winner by now, due to the difficulties of fundraising, technical and regulatory challenges, the grand prize of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE will go unclaimed.

We are extraordinarily grateful to Google for enabling this 10-year journey with us and for having the foresight and courage to support and catalyze the commercial space industry, which was the ultimate goal of this competition.

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Google Lunar X Prize Extends Deadline Again

LOS ANGELES, August 16, 2017 (XPRIZE PR) – Today, XPRIZE and Google announce that $4.75M in additional Milestone Prize money will be available to Google Lunar XPRIZE finalist teams for achieving technological milestones along the way to the Moon.

Additionally, XPRIZE established a mission completion deadline of March 31, 2018, regardless of the initiation date, in order for teams to win the Grand or Second-Place Prizes.

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X Prize Names Qualcomm Tricorder Winners

Star Trek tricorders from the Original Series (left) and later series (right). (Credit: X Prize/CBS Studios Inc.)

LOS ANGELES (April 13, 2017)XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, and the Qualcomm Foundation have awarded millions of dollars to the finalist teams of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, including a top prize of $2.6 million to the Pennsylvania-based team, Final Frontier Medical Devices, led by brothers Dr. Basil Harris, an emergency medicine physician, and George Harris, a network engineer. A second-place prize of $1 million was granted to Taiwan-based finalist, Dynamical Biomarkers Group, led by Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Chung-Kang Peng, Ph.D. and supported by HTC Research.

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Future Imperfect: The Ansari XPrize, SpaceShipOne & Private Spaceflight

how_make_spaceship_coverHow to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, An Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight
by Julian Guthrie
Penguin Press, 2016
Hardcover, 448 pages
ISBN 978-1-59420-672-6
US $28/Canada $37

Reviewed by Douglas Messier

On Sept. 8, I arrived home at about half past noon to find a package sitting on my doorstep. It was a review copy of a new book by Julian Guthrie about the Ansari XPrize and SpaceShipOne titled, How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, An Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight.

I laughed. The timing was perfect. Ken Brown and I had just spent five hours in the desert — most of them in the rising heat of a late summer day — waiting for WhiteKnightTwo to take off carrying SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity on its first captive carry test flight.

It was the first flight in nearly two years of a SpaceShipTwo vehicle since Unity’s sister ship, VSS Enterprise, had broken up during a Halloween test flight, killing co-pilot Mike Alsbury. Ken and I had been there on that day, too.

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GLXP Update: XPRIZE Verifies Launch Agreement for Team SYNERGY MOON

The moon rising over Half Moon Bay, California on Halloween 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
The moon rising over Half Moon Bay, California on Halloween 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

LOS ANGELES (XPRIZE PR) — Today, XPRIZE officially verified Team SYNERGY MOON’s launch agreement as part of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition for privately funded teams to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the moon by December 31, 2017. The SYNERGY MOON mission will use a NEPTUNE 8 rocket, built and launched by Interorbital Systems, to carry a lunar lander and at least one rover to the surface of the moon, launching from an open-ocean location off the California coast during the second half of 2017.

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A Tale of Two Prizes

SpaceShipOne on the floor beside the Spirit of St. Louis of the National Air & Space Museum. (Credit: National Air & Space Museum)
SpaceShipOne on the floor beside the Spirit of St. Louis of the National Air & Space Museum. (Credit: National Air & Space Museum)

Two major flight-related anniversaries are being celebrated this week. Today marks the 89th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s historic solo flight across the Atlantic aboard the Spirit of St. Louis. Lucky Lindy took off from New York on this date and arrived in Paris some 33.5 hours later, claiming the $25,000 Orteig Prize.

Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of the launch of X Prize (later Ansari X Prize). Inspired by the Orteig Prize, it offered $10 million for the first privately build vehicle to fly to suborbital space twice within two weeks. The Ansari X Prize was won in October 2004 by a team led by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen with SpaceShipOne.

After Lindbergh’s flight, a public that had previously shunned commercial aviation embraced it with a passion. Following the Ansari X Prize, Richard Branson vowed to begin flying tourists to space aboard a successor vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, within three years. Nearly a dozen years and four deaths later, Branson has yet to fulfill this promise.

The SpaceShipTwo program has now taken longer than it took for NASA to go from President John F. Kennedy proposal to land a man on the moon to the completion of the program with the splashdown of Apollo 17. NASA launched the space shuttle Columbia exactly 20 years after the first spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin.

So, why have things taken so long? And why did one prize succeed beyond the dreams of its sponsor, while the space prize it inspired has promised so few practical results? The answer is a complex one that I addressed back in March in a story titled, “Prizes, Technology and Safety.” I’ve republished the story below with links to other posts in a series about flight safety.

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Coming Up Soon: A New Book About Peter Diamandis & Ansari X Prize

SpaceShipOne lands after its historic spaceflight on June 21, 2004. (Credit: Ian Kluft)
SpaceShipOne lands after its historic spaceflight on June 21, 2004. (Credit: Ian Kluft)

If you have been wondering how the X Prize was going to mark the 20th anniversary of its signature space prize in May (and who hasn’t), wonder no longer. A key piece of the puzzle is in place. Peter Diamandis writes:

An Award-winning author and journalist Julian Guthrie has just completed an amazing book that chronicles my life’s story and the decade-long $10M Ansari XPRIZE in which a group of amazing space entrepreneurs competing in the new race to space. Her last book on Larry Ellison and the America’s Cup was a best seller.

Julian’s book tells a beautiful narrative story of my life, as well as the stories of Burt Rutan, Erik Lindbergh, Paul Allen, Richard Branson, and the many teams who competed in the singular quest to build and fly the world’s first private manned rocket into space.

The author is looking for advice on the title and subtitle for the book. You can vote here on Survey Monkey.

XPRIZE Hires New CEO

xprize_foundationLOS ANGELES (April 12, 2016) XPRIZE, the global leader in designing and managing incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, announced that Marcus Shingles has joined the organization as chief executive officer.

He brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in industry (Kellogg Company), management consulting (Ernst & Young LLP and Deloitte LLP), and as a successful entrepreneur (company founder).  Shingles’ areas of expertise are building innovation ecosystems and developing disruptive innovation strategies at some of the world’s most premier organizations. Founder Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., who previously held the CEO title, remains as executive chairman of the board.

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CSCA Calls for Increased Canadian Space R&D, X Prize-Style Competition

csca_lofo
TORONTO (CSCA PR) — On May 25th the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance announced that it would hold its pre-budget consultations from June 5 to August 7, 2015. However when the election was called on August 2nd the committee could no longer accept submissions. After the election it will be up to a new Standing Committee on Finance to determine the next course of action.

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X Prize, LEGO Announce Winners of MoonBots 2.0 Competition

Team LegoAces. (Credit: Team LegoAces)

PLAYA VISTA, CA (August 31, 2011) —The X PRIZE Foundation and LEGO Group announced today winners of the MoonBots 2.0: A Google Lunar X PRIZE LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Challenge. The competition challenges teams of students ages 9 to 17 to design, program and build robots that simulate lunar missions mirroring the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE international competition for privately funded teams to build a rover to land on and explore the Moon’s surface.

The Grand Prize winner, Team LegoAces (Granville, OH), earned a VIP trip to LEGOLAND Florida® in October. Team Just Ducky (Woodbury, MN) was awarded second place and third place went to Team Lunar Lords (Bellevue, WA). All three teams will receive free team registration for the 2012 FIRST® robotics season.

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Diamandis Wins No Boundaries Award from The Economist

Congratulations to X PRIZE Founder Peter Diamandis, who has been awarded The Economist’s No Boundaries award as part of the weekly magazine’s 2010 Innovation Awards. Recipients were honored last week in London.

THE ECONOMIST PRESS RELEASE

Peter H. Diamandis, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur and aerospace expert who is founder and chief executive of the X Prize Foundation, is awarded the ‘No Boundaries’ Economist Innovation Award today. Mr Diamandis has spurred innovation by offering prizes to encourage and inspire achievement by innovators in the aerospace, genomics and automotive industries since 2004.

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Diamandis Keeps Pushing Back Barriers

Entrepreneur Peter Diamandis Foments Revolution through Competition
Voice of America

Peter Diamandis is the founder and guiding light behind the X PRIZE. His X PRIZE Foundation funds global competitions, offering money for breakthroughs in fields such as medicine, economic development, clean energy and space flight.

One might expect Diamandis to be the saintly humanitarian type, albeit someone with lots of drive. But he says the simple truth is that he is a stubborn and impatient man. “And I say if something isn’t happening, why not? Why can’t we solve issues around hunger or poverty, or why can’t the average person go into space?” he asks. “I believe we can envision a future and we can go make it happen.”

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