Wrapping Up a Flurry of Space Conferences
As I mentioned in my blog last week, I was in the nation’s capital for several space conferences starting May 21. I supported GLEX, ISDC, and then the 2012 Google X PRIZE Team summit. It was clear after 10 days of doing the conference circuit, space exploration is as exciting as ever! Maybe the fact that SpaceX launched, docked with ISS, undocked, and returned safely to its landing target zone within 1 mile added to the energy of the week. It was exciting. The fact is, several of the GLXP teams are base lining the Falcon 9 as their ride to the Moon. Its success in general is important to those of us who want to see launch manifests return to U.S. companies. Affordable space access for all of us is paramount, no matter what company is doing it. Right now, that success story is SpaceX. We are all excited about the possibilities.
Going to a Team Summit is always interesting. You get to meet the passionate leaders and scientists who are making it happen. You get to see tidbits of their secret technical recipes with which they plan to defeat your team. As I watched each presentation, I had to wonder, “Are we seeing the best stuff, or perhaps are they holding the good cards close?” You never know. At least two teams had merged, and they announced that they are fully funded! That is great news! That means we will not be chasing the same customer, money, sponsor, etc. That is also encouraging for the prize in general. Some believed the $ bar was set too high. Maybe that is not the case. I was encouraged, but also a bit concerned. Although we have an awesome technical team and solution, our rideshare business model has not generated the monies needed to build the cool hardware to beat the funded team, so that is not good. We are looking at the possibilities and time is getting short. Lots to think about. We did have several good meetings with other teams, and the possibilities are endless, but time is not.