Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Race to Raise Cash

While Team Phoenicia has been very successful in relative terms for getting in-kind sponsorships - that is to say a vendor contributing their product in exchange for promoting them - we have had a lot of tough times getting enough outright cash. We've had some help via paypal, but the vast majority of cash expenditures have been out of the team leader's own pocket.

Team Phoenicia hasn't exactly been on the shoestring, but we've also emphatically not been swimming in cash. Each purchase has had to be weighed and carefully. A lot of times, 'good enough' - or so we think - components have been substituted for the ones we want.

This year the X Prize Foundation raised the bar for how much it costs to get into the LLC. They had pretty good reasons and its kept a lot of people out that have been working on the shoestring. However, it may be that it'll keep us out. No matter what, we'll fly. Our goal is to demonstrate the capability so we can get backing for the Google Lunar X Prize. And immortality.

However, we of Team Phoenicia are a tenacious lot. We're not ready to give up on getting into the LLC. To that end, in order to raise the cash to participate in the LLC, we are offering individuals or groups that wish to see their name on the rockets. Namely, we are offering up the center RP-1 tanks - one per rocket - to get tank tattoos by anyone for any logo or wording or picture or even just their name.

We do reserve the right to exercise a discretionary veto. However, we're pretty flexible folks and most messages will probably be acceptable. Anyone that buys the tank tattoo will get their money back if we veto what they want to say.

We had about 7850 square centimeters up for sale. We have already sold 11 sq cm of that. We are charging $10/sq cm. There are additional charges for more optimal placing. Otherwise, it will be a first come, first serve ad-cloud.

To get this, just hit the donate button on the side. If all you want is your name, you do not have to do anything more. If you wish to have a specific message within your space, a company logo, or a picture, you will have to do the above, but you will also need to email contact at team phoenicia dt org: if you don't contribute, you won't get noticed for a special request. We get a silly amount of spam there and if we are not looking for you, we will regard your message with suspicion.

First pix are coming nex week. Assuming the Team Leader's Baby doesn't first.

That said, we'd like to thank Carlos Yu, Lisa Geoffrion, Tom Palmer, and Marilee Layman for their purchases.

Wordle: Team P wordcloud 1

(it'll be clearer than that, promise, the sections will be distinct)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Three Projects Really

Paul Breed of Unreasonable Rocket, we think at the SAS09, stated that building your rocket was not enough, that there was a whole separate and equally (if not more so) project of coding to make sure everything works as it should, when it should, where it should. Let's just say, we completely agreed. Those rackin, frackin little COMs...

*starts strangling a computer...*


Pardon me.

We absolutely agree with Paul. Yet we disagree. There are actually three projects involved here.

The first acknowledged is building the rocket. We have assembled The Wind at Dawn, are nearing so with The Pale Glow of the Stars, and we are manufacturing The Bright Flash of Chicxulub. Aluminum is your friend. Stainless steel is your sadistic bully in grade school.

The second is the coding. Even on a single rocket, if you shift things, as happens when you are working with a mock-up/prototype, you have to rework bits of the code to make sure everything stays in balance when you fire. Especially with our design.

There is still a third project though. This predates the others and is ongoing until the project is finished. This one is funding the whole endeavor. Team Phoenicia has been chasing down sponsors with a large club for a while now. We have been extraordinarily lucky. Or just plain persistent.

We have been asked by other people, sometimes from other teams and sometimes from people in other competitions, how we have been able to get so many sponsors. The truth of the matter is that we have been pounding the pavement for some time. Seeking sponsorship isn't for the faint of heart or those without endurance. You have to keep knocking on doors, asking people, and networking to get what you need. You seriously wear out your shoes. Proverbially or real. And sometimes you even suffer from burnout.

In truth, Team Phoenicia has had about a 5% success rate. For every sponsor you see on the side, we have had around 20 turn us down. 20 presentations. With 10 man-hours of work for each one. On average. Some more, some less. For each sponsor, we've invested around 210 man-hours. For our total sponsorship, that's almost 1500 man-hours.

That is a project in and of itself.

Whether it's enough, we'll see.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Sponsor: Specialty Hose!

Team Phoenicia is also proud to announce that Specialty Hose has become a sponsor of our efforts to compete in the Second Level competition for the Lunar Lander Challenge. Specialty Hose has very generously provided Team Phoenicia with the steel braided hose for our landers. Specialty Hose's excellent steel braided hose is being used for the LOX, RP-1 and helium lines to and from the propellant tanks. Once again, Team Phoenicia is very thankful to the help we have recieved from Specialty Hose's sponsorship. Their contribution to our entry has made it possible for us to compete.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Sponsor: TechShop!

Team Phoenicia is proud to announce that TechShop is a sponsor of our efforts for the Lunar Lander Challenge.

This is a very overdue announcement, but Team Phoenicia has most definitely been building our dreams at TechShop. The Wind at Dawn, The Pale Glow of the Stars and The Bright Flash of Chicxulub were/are all being machined and assembled there. Without the help of their highly competent staff, their excellent facilities, and their excellent, hands-on classes, Team Phoenicia would not have made virtually any progress on our goals to participate in the Lunar Lander , Challenge and, ultimately, in the Google Lunar X Prize.

Our thanks is deep and heart felt thanks goes out to TechShop and all its employees.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We have been a little remiss is reporting our newest sponsors as of late. We are a little consumed with getting ourselves through the hoops of getting the cash together to pay for the entry fee. It's a bit daunting since none of us are well enough off to afford it singularly and collectively, well, we've had some events that a bit limiting financially. It'd suck if the reason we can't participate is only monetary after having collected so much backing...but we'll see.

Even so, Team Phoenicia will forge ahead and fly either way. We will be meeting the requirements for the LLC, whether or not we can afford the LLC entry fee.

At any rate, new posts coming through!

PS: Anyone that wants to support the team, there's an DONATE button over on the side there. ;)