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Working at the X PRIZE Foundation: An Amazing Experience!

Working at the X PRIZE Foundation: An Amazing Experience!

By Astiles  on August 10, 2008

As Will mentioned a few days ago, I just finished my time here at the X PRIZE Foundation. It's been a truly fantastic experience and I wanted to share some of the most exciting details with you!

Although I already gave some insight earlier on what it's like to work for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, I wanted to tell everyone what to expect if he/she happens to have the great chance to work for the X PRIZE as well.

First of all, you'll have to be absolutely passionate about space: everyone on the Google Lunar X PRIZE staff is very hard-working but enjoys the job very much so everything seems - and indeed is - possible! Be sure to expect an incredibly diverse and exciting job, with duties ranging from working on the prize rules based on discussions and feedback from the teams, internal advisors and external experts to organizing events like the Team Summit hosted in France last May. But also so many other things such as discussing with official and potential partners, reviewing applications from potential teams, following up with the official teams, having on-going discussions with our title sponsor Google, being at the forefront of legal and ethical issues that often need to be tackled long in advance, etc...

But one of the coolest part comes from what I'd call all the other "extra" you could be doing: while those of course depend on the timeframe and opportunities, let me just tell you some of the "extra" I had the chance to be part of:
    • Let's start with a very (very!) nice one: Going to Banana Creek within the Kennedy Space Center to see the space shuttle launch from the most privileged viewing site!

  • Left: Discovery, by night!
  • Right: STS-124 : Discovery Lift-off!

    • Meeting with exceptional people, such as Anousheh Ansari, NASA and ESA Astronauts and Administrators while enjoying fancy galas and receptions!

  • Left: Mike Griffin, at the French Ambassador's House in DC, to celbrate 25 years of ESA/NASA collaboration on human spaceflight
  • Right: NASA Astronaut Sunnita Williams with myself CNES folks (Sarah and François)

With Mike and Nicky at Google's

    • Traveling around the world to attend the Google Lunar X PRIZE summits you have organized!

  • Left: ARCA representatives standing with me in front of their vehicle mock-up
  • Right: Discussing Student Competition details with Peter Diamandis at the Team Summit

    • Seeing some real rocket-powered vehicles taking off - sometimes blowing-up - but always pushing further the limits and moving forward! I'll most probably be helping out at the upcoming Lunar Lander Challenge in October and I can't wait to see some winner(s) this year! (hopefully!)

    • Last but (definitely!!) not least (one could reasonably say it was quite incredible!): Seeing the Oval Office and the Rose Garden at the White house before welcoming the president itself landing only meters away onboard Marine-1 (OK, that was really exceptional and may not happen again :D ... Thank you so much to Brett and Damon!!)

  • Left: In front of the White House with Brett
  • Center: With Brett and PSF folks in the rose garden (with view on the Oval Office)
  • Right: President Bush crossing the doorsteps of the White House just after landing.

Of course, none of this would mean anything without the people you'd be working with everyday. And I would like to take the chance here to thank all the Google Lunar X PRIZE staff: it was a lot of fun to work with each of them everyday. They are some of the most dedicated, passionate and skilled people I have ever worked with. Plus they are very nice and kind people!

They made my time here fantastic and interesting and it's been a real pleasure working at the X PRIZE let me thank each of them so much again!

But it's now time to end this post - it's getting fairly late here in France! - so I wish good luck to all the teams and... May the best team(s) win!!

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