# Whom do you think will win the X-Prize and why?

Science Advisor
Whom do you think will win the "X-Prize" and why?

OK, place your bets people! Whom do you think will win the "X-Prize" and why?

## Answers and Replies

Science Advisor

Greetings !
Originally posted by LURCH
OK, place your bets people! Whom do you
think will win the "X-Prize" and why?
I posted an identical thread in this forum
a month or more ago and even included a link
to the official site(http://www.xprize.com/).
I think I just got one response. People here
are just intrested in PCs...

Anyway, I don't know about the progress of the
teams so it's difficult to place bets.
I keep hearing about the UK StarChaser that's
supposed to be launched by the end of this year.
Personally, I'll be dissapointed if they win
because the idea seems to lack any orginality
or significant economical potential.
I liked the Mir Corp.'s project about launching
a 2 tonn craft from an An. 124 (or was it the
single 225 ?). I also liked, I believe it was
a UK project, the launching craft attached to
a baloon and launched from an altitude of
several miles (I thought of this too before I
even saw their idea). Burt Rutan has a new idea
just uncovered a month ago - it's called
SpaceShipOne and you can find a discription
on the official website of Scaled Composites
(www.Scaled.com). There are many other great
ideas, but like I said - most people here only
seem to be intrested in PCs.

Live long and prosper.

J-Man
I don't think people here are only interested in P.C.s.
It's just that we don't know much about the X-Prize other than it exists. I'll read up on it every now-and-then, but I usually forget who's doing what.

I would place a bet that whoever can launch this year will win, even if they don't accomplish the requirements this year. However, I'm not optimistic that anyone will win. They only have 1 year left, don't they? That's not much time to get it done without increasing the risks.

Science Advisor
Although I like whaty I see coming out of Armadillo Aerospace, I think Rutan's got the the design to beat. The piggy-back idea is very usefull, but it is still a 2-stage. But the need for air-breathing engines within the atmosphere is clear. The amount of oxydizer needed for such an engine is much less.

A couple of things that seem rather conspicuous by there absence; a Hypersoar (X-42) with a rocket engine onboard, and catapults. Is it just me, or did you guys expect to see some steam powered catapults?

J-Man
Does anybody recall or have a web-link about the design that is using H2O2 for fuel? I'm curious what benefits and drawbacks the fuel has and what lead them to believe it is the best for their rocket.

FZ+
Hmm... I dunno if that is a good idea. Accidentally introduce a little Cu catalyst, and BOOM.

Shadow
I read about the X prize a few months ago drag and SpaceShipOne (by burt rutan) was in there so it was uncovered aat least 3 months ago...but anyways I like that idea and think that the airborne launch from white knight would be great. However I am not up to date on all of the teams ideas and spacecraft so I will look at the link that has been posted.

J-Man
Originally posted by J-Man
Does anybody recall or have a web-link about the design that is using H2O2 for fuel? I'm curious what benefits and drawbacks the fuel has and what lead them to believe it is the best for their rocket.

To partially answer my own question...
Apparently, there are several teams using H2O2, but it is used as an oxidizer, not a fuel per se.

(from: http://www.xprize.com/pdfs/xprize_teampropellants.pdf )

Team Stage # Propulsion Oxidizer Fuel
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARCA 1-Rocket Hydrogen Peroxide Kerosene
Armadillo Aerospace 1-Rocket Hydrogen Peroxide -
Flight Exploration 1-Rocket Hydrogen Peroxide Kerosene
Fundamental Technology Systems 1-Plane Hydrogen Peroxide Kerosene
Micro-Space, Inc. 1-Rocket Hydrogen Peroxide Methyl Alcohol

Science Advisor
Here's an interesting artical from http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/xprize_030611.html [Broken] that says the number of people volunteering for positions on X-craft actually increased following the latest Shuttle disaster.

Can't say I blame them; I'd go !

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Science Advisor
In case you missed the article at space.com, one of the Canadian teams has chosen their launch site.

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/davinci_launchsite_030630.html [Broken]

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The Grimmus
I have just read another theread wher the goverment is holding a contest for technolgy...lazy sobs cant do it their selves

Guybrush Threepwood
Science Advisor
And the Brits have just http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/starchaser_test_030424.html [Broken] their re-entry capsule. And their pilot!

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Science Advisor
Yea, it sure looks like Rutans' Scaled Composits is gonna take it. But I still wouldn't count Pan Aero out of the running. They may be behind, but their design is simpler and could leap forward very quickly.

Science Advisor
I just read that Rutan's team has tested their rocket engine with a full-duration burn. He's already flown the carrier aircraft with and without the rocket, and drop-tested the rocket which was flown to a glider landing. Doesn't sound like he has far to go.

So the question becomes,"whom do you see as the most likely second-place team?". I'm thinking PanAero, just because most of their hardware already exists and is tested. Adapting old tech to new jobs is often quicker than creating new designs from scratch.

Science Advisor
According to this artical at space.com, someone (either Scaled Composiets or Armadillo Aerospace) should be launching within the next year.

Guybrush Threepwood
from the article:
There are 23 other registered groups from seven countries competing for the $10 million cash prize. There are teams from Russia, United Kingdom, Romania, Israel, Argentina and two from Canada. The rest are headquartered in the U.S. that makes me proud.... anyway I hope I get to see this on TV. It should be the begining of "afordable space travel" notal33t ummmmmm homey like Cavorite! Seriously the prize should be for the FIRST team to develop a truly new launch system! anything else is a waste of resources! dink Seriously the prize should be for the FIRST team to develop a truly new launch system! anything else is a waste of resources! Scaled Composite's design is seemingly new in make though perhaps not in theory. Economics and reusability seems to be the focus of this X-Prize contest moreso then just being original. SC's design is highly reusable, and very fuel efficient. Banjo If any of you read "Aviation Week and Space Technology" DARPA has a concept called RASCAL, I think. It is like burt rutan's design, but the neat part is it uses an old F100 engine. To make this engine work at extreme altitudes they inject oxygen and water when they reach those altitude(to add mass/density as well as enough oxygen for the kerosene to burn). Here's a link http://www.darpa.mil/tto/rascal/RASCAL_ID_Brief.PDF pg 44 starts to talk about the propulsion system. Last edited by a moderator: Science Advisor Nice way to celebrate the 100th anniversery fo the Wright Brothers. Scaled Composites http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/rutan_update_031217.html [Broken] on Wednesday. Too bad about the landing, but nothing major. It's looking like this will not only happen within the year, but within the next couple of months. Last edited by a moderator: meteor Scaled Composites wins chances http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994870 The World's No.1 Science & Technology News Service Commercial space flight takes big step up 17:19 08 April 04 NewScientist.com news service The dream of commercial space flight has taken an important step towards reality with the granting of the first licence to a private company to launch people to a height of 100 kilometres. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded the license to Scaled Composites, a California-based company run by aviation pioneer Burt Rutan, for a one-year period. The company is vying for the$10 million X Prize, to be awarded to the first private group to send three people to the sub-orbital height of 100 kilometres twice in two weeks.

Science Advisor
And on April 8th, Spaceship 1 made its 2nd powered flight. The engine burned for 40 seconds, and craft reach an altitude of slightly over 100,000 feet, about one-third of the altitude necessary. Engine burned went as predicted, and flight control instability were good all the way down.

meteor
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3549552.stm
"X-prize contender rocket explodes

The rocket exploded less than 1,000 feet into the air
A rocket belonging to a team taking a low-budget stab at the \$10m (£5.7m) Ansari X-prize has exploded less than 1,000 feet into the air.
Nobody was hurt in the test which took place on Sunday just south of Olympic National Park in Washington State, US"

This is what happens whe your budget is low

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Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
Wasn't that design the one which uses 2x4's as the primary loadbearing structures?

If so, I'm not surprised...

Marijn
I haven't really followed the X-prize.
But wasn't there one of the temas that managed to get a ship with only the pilot in space several weeks ago (think it was SS1 with burt Rutan).
My bet would be on him, he just has to do it again, with two more ppl.

meteor
A rocket of Armadillo had crashed the 7nth August
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996258
"A 1.2-metre-wide rocket designed by John Carmack, creator of the hugely successful Doom video games, crashed about 20 seconds after launch in Texas on 7 August"
My bet would be on him, he just has to do it again, with two more ppl
No. They have to do the 2 flights in a margin of 2 weeks

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Gold Member
I think any design that uses a ROCKET to launch anything into space is essentially a highly inefficient, idiotic idea.

If you want to launch stuff into space - the best way is to EM-accelerate them like a bullet, with a spin, and send off flying into outer space at a ZOOMing speed.

Once in space, use booster rockets (some compressed gas - any gas will do) to maneuver around

Science Advisor
cronxeh said:
If you want to launch stuff into space - the best way is to EM-accelerate them like a bullet, with a spin, and send off flying into outer space at a ZOOMing speed.
There's only one real problem with that idea - who's gonna pay for it ?

Gold Member
it only requires electricity [very cheap] and if u wanna include humans - some form of a liquid gel to keep em alive thru the 50-100+ Gs they'll pull off on take off

I havent done any calculations with this thing (other than visualizing the whole process and result in my head)

but here are some additional snips that even a HS physics student can build, given the resources:

http://www.oz.net/~coilgun/theory/electroguns.htm [Broken]

I mean really.. how hard can it be?

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Mentor
drag said:
There's only one real problem with that idea - who's gonna pay for it ?
That's not a problem, that's a benefit. A rail-gun satellite launcher would be much cheaper than chemical rockets for launching satellites. But there are limitations such as payload size, durability, and orbital inclination.

Gold Member
not to mention you wont be dumping any garbage into our oceans, or polluting the air.. the costs would be cut tenfold and time to takeoff and landing minimized to hours

Edit: gotta love having ideas pop in hours after you post something.
Gravity as you all know is the weakest force, almost negligible :yuck:

But really.. we have the technology to build super strong structures that would be light-weight and heat-resistant and whatnot.. why hasnt this been tried? The design was on the board in 40's all the way through 70's. :grumpy:

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Tom McCurdy
I don't care who wins as long as the final project is reasonable and innovative. The whole point was to get a cheap ride into space and if we take old plans that we knwo work just to win then there is no point.