Lunar Lander Challenged

One small step for NASA, One giant leap for the X Prize

The Bigelow Space Show

Outer space real estate developer and proprietor of Bigelow Aerospace Robert Bigelow appeared on this evening’s very special edition of The Space Show.

Oft-quoted space consultant Charles Lurio induced Mr. Bigelow to say that he will be at New Mexico State University’s Personal Spaceflight Symposium in October a couple of days before X Prize Cup. It’s likely that Mr. Bigelow will be in New Mexico for the Personal Spaceflight Federation‘s CEO Summit, but at this time the symposium website does not seem to know that Mr. Bigelow is eXpected.

Mr. Bigelow (or Mr. B as they call him at work) said America’s Space Prize is pretty much on hold due to lack of qualified competitors. Promising contestants like SpaceX and Rocketplane/Kistler have recently been corrupted by accepting goverment funds to develop their launchers (paraphrasing), so they can’t win the $50 million prize, but if they are successful they could earn something more valuable: contracts.

Mr. Bigelow became evasive when a questioner asked if his company might be partnering with some other company to develop a spaceship capable of ferrying people and cargo to Bigelow Aerospace stations. Then he segued smoothly to speak of his hope for a collective coalition of like-minded, low-cost space companies.

In answer to another question, he said Space Show listeners could help this country’s space industry by writing letters to their elected representatives and complaining that NASA should be a customer for commercial providers instead of a state-run monopoly (paraphrasing).

Absolutely nothing at all was mentioned about Lunar Lander Challenge, but the interview does touch upon some of the trouble with running space prizes.

Written by spacefaring

August 24, 2006 at 9:28 pm

Posted in lunar lander

2 Responses

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  1. Regarding Bigelow’s appearance at the Personal Spaceflight Symposium, if you go to the web page, then click on ‘sessions’ you can link from there for the draft program (pdf download). He’s listed as one of the speakers on the first day’s plenary session, along with Alex Tai of Virgin Galactic.

    As to the CEO summit, the X Prize foundation told me over a week ago that that meeting had started out as a two-day (semi?) open proposition, but turned into an invitation-only event that had already been filled. So I’m not surprized if it’s not on anyone’s website.

    Charles Lurio

    August 25, 2006 at 11:29 am

  2. You are correct Charles Lurio. Mr. B and many other personal spaceflight luminaries are mentioned in the draft program for the symposium.

    Click to access program.pdf

    Looks pretty fantastic — but it does have the word “Draft” stamped on all the pages.


    August 25, 2006 at 3:57 pm

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