Other Prize Competitions
Click here for links leading to other competitions and related activities external to Centennial Challenges.

Centennial of Flight

image of Wright flyer

In December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright, two bicycle mechanics working with no government support, initiated the age of powered flight with their success at Kitty Hawk. NASAs Prize Program honors the spirit of the Wright Brothers and other independent inventors by acknowledging the centennial of the first powered flight in 2003. The NASA Centennial Challenges program also recognizes that the rapid and dramatic progress in aeronautics in the early years of the first century of flight was often driven by prize competitions.

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"If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted."
Sir Francis Bacon

Power Beaming Features

LaserMotive LLC Wins Prize in Power Beaming Challenge

image of power beaming competition

NASA and the Spaceward Foundation awarded $900,000 to LaserMotive LLC of Seattle, WA for their winning performance in the Power Beaming Challenge competition at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.

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2009 Prizewinners Recognition Ceremony

image of winners of the 2009 Centennial Challenges Awards

NASA Admimistrator Charlie Bolden along with senior NASA officials Doug Comstock and Andy Petro, acknowledges winners and organizers of NASA’s 2009 Centennial Challenges.

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Power Beaming Challenge

    This challenge is a practical demonstration of wireless power transmission. Practical systems employing power beaming would have a wide range of applications from lunar rovers and space propulsion systems to airships above the Earth. Another future application of power beaming would be the space elevator concept.

    Beamed power competitions held in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 were directed at space elevator applications. Teams built mechanical devices (climbers) that could propel themselves up a vertical cable. The power supply for the device was not self-contained but remained on the ground. The technical challenge was to transmit the power to the climber and transform it into mechanical motion, efficiently and reliably. In the 2009 competition, the competitors drove their laser-powered devices up a cable one kilometer high, suspended from a helicopter. LaserMotive LLC was awarded $900,000 in the 2009 Power Beaming Challenge. Official results, as well as video and photography, are available at: http://live.spaceelevatorgames.org.

    The Spaceward Foundation of Mountain View, Calif., manages the competition for NASA's Centennial Challenges program.

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    In garages, basements, a Quonset hut and even NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, home inventors are creating amazing things in the 21st century.