KC Space Pirates, a team of inventors and space enthusiasts won $50,000 for their proposed laser power beaming concepts.
- Space Utilities
- Resources - Energy
- Wireless Power Transfer
- First launch
- Not announced
Challenges: Power Beaming Challenges in 2006, 2007 and 2009
Competition stats: Headed by team leader Brian Turner, the Pirates performed notably well in all three competitions, but did not win a monetary prize. For the first two runs, they used reflected solar power from a series of full-length mirrors to power mechanical climbers. In 2006 and 2007, they finished among the top competitors. "I remember after 2007 saying that the only way we could keep competing was if a laser and a chunk of money fell into our laps. That week, I got an unsolicited check for $5,000 from a fan who saw us in 2007. The next week, we were contacted about TRUMPF's offer of laser power to competitors. Many times in the competition, our participation was hanging by a thread and something came through," said team captain Brian Turner. At the final competition in 2009, they switched to laser power to fuel their climber, "MaryAnn."