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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Alt.Space News: America's Space Prize, Transhabs In Orbit, and the Chinese Weeks Away From Space Again

Several cool things going on.

First, Bigelow Aerospace has put up the specific rules needed to win their 50 million dollar space prize:

To be awarded...
Contest ends January 10, 2010
Ten Primary Rules of the Competition
1. The Spacecraft must reach a minimum altitude of 400 km (approx. 250 miles);

2. The Spacecraft must reach a minimum velocity sufficient to complete two (2) full orbits at altitude before returning safely to Earth;

3. The Spacecraft must carry no less than a crew of five (5) people;

4. The Spacecraft must dock or demonstrate its ability to dock with a Bigelow Aerospace inflatable space habitat and be capable of remaining on station for at least six (6) months;

5. The Spacecraft must perform two (2) consecutive, safe and successful orbital missions within a period of sixty (60) calendar days, subject to Government regulations;

6. No more than twenty percent (20%) of the Spacecraft may be composed of expendable hardware (the term 'Spacecraft' encompasses the launch vehicle in its entirety, including but not limited to, any and all fuel tanks, external rockets, carrier craft, and boosters);

7. The contestant must be domiciled in the United States of America;

8. The Contestant must have its principal place of business in the United States of America;

9. The Competitor must not accept or utilize Government development funding related to this Contest of any kind, nor shall there be any Government development funding related to this Contest of any kind, nor shall there be any Government ownership of the Competitor. Using Government test and launch facilities shall be permitted; and

10. The Spacecraft must complete two (2) missions safely and successfully, with all five (5) crew members aboard for the second qualifying flight before the competition's deadline of January 10, 2010.

Second, Bigelow has announced they will soon be putting test versions of their extremely innovative transhab modules in orbit, moving them beyond just being Power Point diagrams. See a great article on about the test launch, including more details on the fifty million America's Space Prize.

In other space news, the Chinese are just weeks away from their second manned launch. Taikonauts will soon be in obit....

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