Brian Turner and the Kansas City Space Pirates today issued this Press Release:
Kansas City Team Misses Half Million Dollar NASA Prize by 25 Seconds.
The Kansas City Space Pirates just missed winning $500,000 from NASA in the Spaceward Games 2007. They needed to make a robot called a climber that could drag race straight up 100 Meters in 50 seconds. Oh, and it could not have any batteries or fuel. All of it’s power had to come from the ground and be “Beamed” up. The competition encourages development of wireless power transmission technologies for future applications like space elevators and moon mining. The competition also proved too much for the other 22 entrants from 5 countries and some of the most prestigious universities in the world.
The $500,000 will roll over to next year making the 2008 prize money $900,000.
This marks the second year for the KC Space Pirates. Last year they startled everyone with the bold use of common mirrors to concentrate sunshine, using ancient methods to tackle modern problems. That earned them the “Most Innovative Climber” award. This year they again shocked everyone with the fastest peak speed ever seen in competition of nearly 8-mph. A number of factors combined to prevent them from maintaining that speed to the top of the competition ribbon, ranging from weather, and electronics to plain bad luck. They finished second overall behind a team from the University of Saskatchewan that managed a better average speed using high power invisible lasers. Next year the goal will be raised higher and faster than this year. And the KC Space Pirates have already started the fund raising process to compete in this and future technical competitions.
Their captain Brian Turner said “We may not have won this year, but I hope we made Kansas City proud.”
Looks like Brian and company are already planning to come back next year – good news indeed.