Feb 22, 2009

Australian Partner Lunar Numbat Joins White Label Space

White Label Space is proud to announce its newest partnership with the Australian/New Zealand group called Lunar Numbat. The Lunar Numbat group will use their skills and Open Source technologies to help us develop novel hardware and software solutions for our Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP) mission.

The Numbat is a small and cute marsupial animal native to Western Australia. The Numbat was formerly classified as endagered and had a total population less than 1000 in the 1970's. Today however, its population has increase somewhat and it is classified as 'vulnerable'.

While working with us on GLXP, the Lunar Numbat group also hopes to bring about innovations in space science using open source technologies, to collaborate with other space science entities, to educate as to the benefits that space science provides all people and advocate the formation of an Australian Space Agency. Perhaps the recovery from near-extinction of the Numbat can set a good example for the recovery of the Australian space industry, which is currently in a state of neglect by the Australian government.

In the coming months our White Label Space core engineering team will work together with the Lunar Numbat group to determine which parts or subsystems of our space mission they will develop.

White Label Space looks forward to forming partnerships with other like-minded organisations around world who have the right stuff to undertake ambitious space exploration and to inspire today's generation that wasn't even alive when humans last walked on the Moon.

Euromoon 2000

Euromoon 2000 was an initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA) in the 1990s aiming to land a robotic craft at the Aitken Basin near the Moon's south pole in the year 2000. The budget for the mission was never found but the efforts made at that time are certainly relevant to European team wishing to compete in the Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP).

The mission was envisioned as true partnership between space agency and industry where they both shared the initial costs and any potential financial returns. It also invited additional sponsorship from the European Union, the commercial sphere and the general public. The estimated cost was one ECU per European citizen, which at that time would have equated to around 250 million Euros.

The mission comprised two spacecraft, a lunar Orbiter and a lunar Lander, which were both launched on an Ariane 4 (the no longer operating predescesor to the Ariane 5). After a two-month phase orbiting the Moon and collecting topographical and geographical data, the Lander would separate from the Orbiter and land at a peak of eternal light. Once on the surface, scientific instruments would be used to search for frozen volatiles such as water. The Lander would also carry multiple robotic payloads for a exploration competition called the 'Millennium Challenge', which would have involved a robotic race to the Moon's South Pole.

The efforts to develop the Euromoon 2000 mission plan were led by the Dutch Astronaut Wubbo Ockels, who assembled a team of over 25 engineers and scientists from ESA and industry to make a preliminary mission assessment study, building upon some related studies that took place in the preceding years.

By lobbying the delegates of the various nations that make up ESA, Ockels was able to get the Euromoon 2000 project on the agenda of the ESA Ministerial Council of 1997 with a request for 50 million Euros (the remaining 200 million was to come from private industry). However, much to the dissapointment of the project participants, the ministers present at the council meeting voted not to support the project with any ESA money.

By assembling a sizeable interdisciplinary team working together in one room, the Euromoon 2000 project was the first attempt to do concurrent engineering in ESA and played a major role in the creation of ESA's Concurrent Engineering Facility (CDF), which is still led today by the deputy project manager of Euromoon 2000, Massimo Bandecchi.

Feb 15, 2009

British Partnership Aims to Launch Satellites

After many decades without a serious attempt to compete in the satellite launch business, two British firms have formed a partnership to develop a new air-launch service based on the White Knight Two aircraft developed by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites.

Surrey Satellite Technologies Limited (SSTL) and Virgin Galactic are seeking financing to develop a low-cost rocket system that could be carried on the White Knight Two aircraft, which was recently developed with finance from Richard Branson's space tourism venture.

The new launch system would would comprise two solid stages and be capable of injecting satellites from 50kg up to 200kg into a polar orbit of 400km altitude. The target launch price is quoted here at $1 million, which would be a reduction by a factor of 5 to 10 times on the current launch costs for similar sized payloads.

This video explains more details of the partnership.

The predecesor aircraft, "White Knight", was used to win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, demonstrating the feasibility of an aircraft launched sub-orbital space tourism system.

Feb 12, 2009

Rare Apollo Guidance Computer - AGC video

During the transfer of our blog to it's final domain www.whitelabelspace.com some time has been sent tidying up the old posts, reading the old comments and recategorising the tags. A couple of our posts (Build Your Own Apollo Guidance Computer & Why not try a Virtual Apollo Guidance Computer) centered the Apollo Guidance Computer AGC.

Google Lunar X-PRIZE's own Mike Fabio had commented on one of the posts:
Can we get some videos of this thing in action? That is truly awesome.
The MIT Press (go Engineers!) has recently published a book all about the computers used on the Apollo missions. Check it out here.

Well after another trawl through YouTube's immense archives we finally hit the jackpot. Here's actual footage of the Apollo Guidance Computer staring in it's own YouTube video. We're wondering how much more historically significant space age video will turn up on YouTube & how long that footage will stay available. Let's hope that this one stay's up long enough for you all to see.

SpaceX Sends Message to US Taxpayers - Hire Us

In this update Elon Musk is sending a clear message to American taxpayer - supporting the SpaceX Falcon 9 human rated launcher is in your best interests!
(Image adapted from the SpaceX post)

Elon presents the undeniable logic of his plan as follows:
  • it will save the taxpayer $2 billion
  • it will bring 1000 high quality jobs
  • it will help fill the gap between shuttle and the new manned launcher under development by NASA - the troubled Ares-1

Upcoming GLXP team White Label Space: Recruiting now open

White Label Space and its Partners are now preparing to recruit talented and motivated staff to help us realize our goals of developing a space mission to win the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

Work locations will be in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.

The roles we are currently seeking qualified staff for are:
  • Chemical Propulsion Engineer
  • Guidance Navigation and Control Engineer
  • Optics Engineer/Physicist
  • Space Telecommunications Engineer
  • Avionics System Engineer
  • Structures Engineer
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Thermal Design and Analysis Engineer
  • Web Application Developer
  • Public Relations Officer
Interns and postgraduate researchers are also welcome to apply.

If you are young, innovative, motivated and passionate about space exploration, please send a copy of your resume with a brief cover letter explaining your vision on how you can be part of our effort to: careers@whitelabelspace.com.

Your details will also be distributed to our Partners unless you request otherwise.

Feb 10, 2009

Greatest Space Ads - Irresponsible Astronauts Lose Bridgestone Tires

This space advertisement played on TV during the superbowl features a pair of fun-loving astroanuts enjoying their stay on the Moon but when they come back to their rover, they find that there is a little surprise waiting for them.

Superbowl advertising is the most expensive in the world. In 2009 a 30 second advertisment slot cost $3 million (see USA Today article). We are happy to see that this Superbowl ad included two themes quite close to the Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP) - rovers and Moon exploration.

Feb 7, 2009

Project Enterprize - Privately Funded European Space Tourism

Project Enterprise is a German/Swiss/Austrian collaboration started in 2004 as Europe's first privately funded spaceflight project with the goal of carrying out sub orbital flights for space tourism and scientific experiments.
Website: http://www.european-spacetourism.eu/i... (in German only)
Google translation

Kim Jong Il Announces Plan To Bring Moon To North Korea - ONN

The Onion News Network are at it again, this time with a controversial report on Kim Jong Il's plan to bring the Moon to North Korea. If he was to succeed this would of course make nonsense out of Nasa's Lunar program & the Google Lunar X-PRIZE :)

<a href="http://www.joost.com/163q1cy/t/Kim-Jong-Il-Announces-Plan-To-Bring-Moon-To-North-Korea">Kim Jong Il Announces Plan To Bring Moon To North Korea</a>

The mission is to be completed by 2015, using 5 rockets to drag the moon back to earth. For the sake of humanity, let's hope this plan does not succeed :)

Feb 3, 2009

Google add Mars to the latest release of Google Earth

This is the result of a 3 year cooperation between the Silicon Valley's company with its NASA Ames neighbour aiming to bring the Martian landscape to the public.
Also, note that on this new release, you can Dive beneath the surface and Explore the ocean.

After Earth and the Stars, the now famous Google product "Google Earth" just released a new version with this time the opportunity to explore the Martian surface.

Have a look, explore it and let us know if like us you enjoyed it !

Feb 1, 2009

Interview with Dr. Michio Kaku

Steve Paikin from TVO The Agenda interviews Dr. Michio Kaku.
A fascinating talk covering topics from Dr. Michio Kaku's book "Physics of the Impossible".
Subjects discussed range from psychokinesis and telepathy to teleportation and time travel. Impossibilities are split into classes

Class I. Impossibilities Includes force fields, telepathy and antiuniverses. These don't violate the current known laws of science & could be become reality within the next 100 years or so.

Class II. Impossibilities Includes faster than the speed of light travel and parallel universes.

Class III Impossibilities Includes perpetual motion machines and precognition.

In the distant future the need for tons of advanced technology to land payloads on distant planets could be a thing of the past. What will be evidently needed is the ability to harness a power source that is beyond comprehension. The only thing I can say to that is "Beam me up Scotty".

Live 720P HD recording using a Canon 40D & Nikon D700

I'm looking forward to what these hacks will bring us. The Indie film maker has never been in such a good position to produce high quality movies for an extremely low cost.
This is also good news for GLXP teams, as recording their progress in high quality HD suddenly becomes a whole lot more affordable.

Nikon D700

Some Canon die-hards have already managed to coax their DSLRs to record video via live-view, and it looks like Nikon aficionados are now able to do the same, albeit not quite as easily just yet. That's because the mod requires both access to Nikon's SDK for the D700 and the necessary skills to actually do something with it, in this case capturing video from the live-view feed via USB. see rest of story on engadget

Canon 40D
If you're just now starting to come to grips with the fact that Canon's utterly succulent EOS 5D Mark II is just way, way out of reach, here's a little something to lessen the impact of your inferiority complex. An enterprising young buck with a passion to bring video capture abilities to other EOS cameras figured out a way to enable that very capability on all Liveview EOS DSLRs.see rest of story on engadget

Video on Flickr

Near 720p video made with a Canon 40D, using the Live View feature. Camera was connected to the laptop via USB, and a russian program recorded the output. See the video ouput see here on Flickr.

Russian source
Canon 40D-vel készült videó. Részletek a spottr.hu-n!