Jan 29, 2011

Samsung Success - High Altitude Paper Planes Descend on Germany

Earlier this month we blogged about the Samsung-sponsored Project Space Planes, which among other things, was a low-budget attempt to show that SD Samsung memory cards are tough enough to survive the environment at the edge of space.

Well, as you can see in the picture below, the mission was successful. The balloon was launched from the German town of Wolfsburg and reached an altitude of 37,339m, where it burst and a specially designed bag automatically released its payload of 200 paper planes.

Each plane carried a memory card with user-generated content uploaded via the web during the lead-up to the mission. Some of the paper planes have already been found across Germany.

The balloon and its attached equipment for video, GPS and telemetry was recovered by the launch team shortly after in a forest. The structure holding the equipment was made from foam, glue and duct tape, and thus did not cause a safety risk.

People who find planes are invited to report their find on the project's website at; http://projectspaceplanes.com/ask

Project Space Planes is led by Joel Veitch, a freelance producer of viral web content based in London and owner of the rathergood.com website.


Jan 24, 2011

Vint Cerf learns what a lunar numbat is

A BIG week for fans of the original open source OS, Linux.

It's been 20 years since the first Linux kernel was written by Linus Torvalds, but that's just one thing that's helped make this year's Australian open source conference linux.conf.au a bit special.

The other is the appearance by a man who it seems cannot be named unless it comes with the prefix "founding father of the internet".

Yes, Google's chief evangelist Vint Cerf, who among other things, gave us email and TCP/IP technology, will be appearing at lca2011, starting with a keynote address today.

And the White Label Space Link? Cerf's here because Lunar Numbat team leader Marco Ostini - wearing one of his many other hats as lca2011's speakers and media manager, invited him.

"Google is a very Open Source friendly company and one of the Brisbane paper's committee members worked at their Mountain View office, so we just asked him nicely," Marco said.

"And Vint said yes, nicely."

"Without the protocols that Vint and his colleagues developed, there may still be no internet.

"Many a good thing has been born of the internet, including Linux. Having Vint Cerf at lca2011 gives us a tangible way to express our admiration, and also to learn from him.

"He brings wisdom, experience and the integrity of his consistently good example."

Lunar Numbat itself was born at lca2009 and this year will have its own place, running the Arduino miniconf and helping out with the rocketry miniconf.

Attendees will get the chance send their own rockets to 5000ft and receive telemetry via Lunar Numbat team member Luke Weston's recently released MobSenDat datalogger kit.

(More about MobSenDat and its brilliant Project Horus debut later this week.)

Luke's giving a Lunar Numbat presentation as well, while Jon Oxer's up for an open hardware related presentation.

Marco said Cerf's presence provides plenty of opportunities for Lunar Numbat at lca2011.

"He's worked a little on the problems of interplanetary TCP/IP (the protocol the Internet runs on) and there are some sober and serious considerations that come from that," he said.

"In no small measure Vint will inspire Lunar Numbat people to do what we do simply and well, to plan ahead and to build on it."

Read more about linux.conf.au here

Jan 15, 2011

White Label Space and GLXP in NRC Handelsblad

Major Dutch newspaper, NRC Handelsblad, has published an article about White Label Space and the Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP).

The article (right) covers our team's commercial and technical plans, as well as explaining the ways that government finances can (and cannot) be used to support GLXP teams. 

Jan 11, 2011

How does your team rate?

A GOOD wrap today on Ars Technica on where the GLXP is at three years in, following the December 31 deadline closure for new registrations.

The report - Fly Me to the Moon: The Google Lunar X Prize Three Years In - includes a refresher on what it's all about, how Google's working to keep interest high in the competition and a link to an interesting blog which attempts to keep a running tally on how each team is faring.

Hosted by Mike Doornbos at evadot.com, who admits it's "completely unscientific", it nevertheless is updated regularly (the last update came just two days ago) and is based, he claims, on "knowledge from interviews, in person accounts, and publicly available information".

As well as overall chances of winning, teams are ranked in nine other categories such as Feeling, Participatory Involvement, Inspiration and Rover/Hopper.

Mike also includes a breakdown of where points can be scored. Check it out at evadot.com/glxpscorecard/if only for an idea on how we're faring from the point-of-view of someone looking in.

He also keeps a pretty nifty blog at http://michaeldoornbos.com/with plenty of GLXP and other space news as well. Worth a look.

Over at space.com, they've started a week-long series about returning to the Moon, starting today with The Case For, which also includes this link to an excellent article last year about why lunar mining should be an irresistible private enterprise proposition.

Tomorrow's post - The Case Against - should be equally intriguing.

Jan 2, 2011

Greatest Space Ads - Samsung Sends Free Samples From Edge of Space

Using some of the latest paper airplane technology, Samsung is backing Project Space Planes, a scheme to launch 100 paper planes from a high altitude balloon. Each plane will carry a Samsung SD memory card with a payload of data submitted by users on the web. See the embedded YouTube video below.

Project Space Planes is led by Joel Veitch, a freelance producer of viral web content based in London and owner of the rathergood.com website. You might have already seen Joel in the Bacon Rocket Project, an innovative attempt to mix tasty food with rocket science.

Although not technically in space, high altitude balloons give some pretty cool views of Earth and are high enough to excite people about space. Thus, we are very happy to include such endevours in Greatest Space Ads!

See also our previous piece about the Toshiba Space Chair.